EUME Berliner Seminar
Mi 10 Jan 2024 | 17:00–18:30

Eco-Surrealism, Martyrdom, and the Future: Palestinian Magical Realism Meets Indigenous Climate Fiction

Sanabel Abdelrahman (EUME Fellow 2023/24), Chair: Yvonne Albers (Freie Universität Berlin/ EUME Fellow 2021-24)

Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

This presentation builds on my research around the potentialities of Palestinian magical realism by integrating indigenous views on climate fiction and futurism. It provides an overview of Palestinian magical realism in folktales and literature, its main functions, and its productive utilization when trying to understand the Palestinian reality and struggle.
The seminar will present preliminary findings around the integrated topics while proposing questions such as: what is climate fiction without a critique of settler-colonialism? What potentialities open up when situating Palestinian liberatory futures within indigenous understandings of climate fiction and futurism? How does Palestinian eco-surrealism compare and complement indigenous views on spaces distorted by colonialism? The presentation will situate several essential Palestinian cultural and identity themes within a greater scale of indigenous hopes and resilience. It will focus on the connection to land and society and the collective imagining of liberated futures within these settler/postcolonial contexts. It will present ghosts as actors capable of disrupting colonial perceptions of the material world through resurrection, return, and transcendence of spatiotemporal limits of reality. This opens possibilities for alternative discourses around just futures and the renewed conceptualizations of martyrdom- a prominent trope in Palestinian and Arabic literature and everyday reality.

Sanabel Abdelrahman holds a PhD in Arabic Studies, focusing on magical realism in Palestinian literature, from Philipps-Universität Marburg. She completed her BA and MA at the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations. She is a bilingual writer and publishes essays critiquing art and literature on platforms including Fus7a, al-Akhbar, 7iber, Jadaliyya, and NO NIIN.

Yvonne Albers is a postdoctoral researcher and academic coordinator at the Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective at Freie Universität Berlin and is an affiliated EUME fellow (2021-24). Her current research focuses on time and temporality in/of Arab periodicals since the 1960s. Her recent book, an intellectual biography of the Beirut-based cultural magazine Mawaqif (1968-1994), has just been published (Brill 2023).


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