Gaza and Decolonization: Human Rights are Not Enough
CCAS, Arabic and Islamic Studies, and Culture and Politics (CULP) at Georgetown University are pleased to present an event with renowned scholar Neve Gordon.
Responding to claims that human rights have for too long dominated the imaginative space of emancipation, including in our personal experience in Israel/Palestine, we offer an alternative political framework, one based on a politics of care. We maintain that the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically highlighted the woeful inadequacy of the so-called “subject of human rights” which has been construed in binary terms as either independent or dependent. The pandemic, even in the context of settler colonialism, has thrown into sharp relief that interdependency is constitutive of the human condition and indeed of all life on the planet, human and non-human alike. Underscoring the contribution of feminist ethics of care scholars in center staging interdependency, we then turn to Audre Lorde’s and Judith Butler’s insights in order to theorize the notion of interdependency, one that is unmoored from the liberal subject. Finally, building on this understanding of interdependency, whilst drawing on the Care Manifesto, we gesture towards an alternative emancipatory discourse and form of activism, one that can better address our current “care crisis.” We argue that precisely at a time when dystopian visions of the future are flourishing, it is vital to offer a collaborative utopian counter-narrative for the 21st century.
After teaching for seventeen years at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, Neve Gordon joined the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London. His research focuses on international humanitarian law, human rights, the ethics of violence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His most recent publication, Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire (University of California Press, 2020) was written with Nicola Perugini and is the first book on the legal and political history of human shielding. Other publications include Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press 2008), The Human Right to Dominate (Oxford University Press, 2015), two edited volumes on torture and marginalized perspectives on human rights and alongside numerous academic articles and book chapters. Gordon is currently working on a project that examines civil society wars. He has been a member at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, Brown University, the University of Michigan, and SOAS, and is currently a board member of the International State Crime Initiative.