Saturday, September 04, 2021

New publication: "Sounds of Resistance," in Voices of the Nakba


I have a piece in this new book, about to be released from Pluto Press, edited by Diana Allan. 

The book is already a winner of an English PEN Award 2021.

 And here is a description:

During the 1948 war more than 750,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were violently expelled from their homes by Zionist militias. The legacy of the Nakba - which translates to ‘disaster’ or ‘catastrophe’ - lays bare the violence of the ongoing Palestinian plight.

Voices of the Nakba collects the stories of first-generation Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, documenting a watershed moment in the history of the modern Middle East through the voices of the people who lived through it.

The interviews, with commentary from leading scholars of Palestine and the Middle East, offer a vivid journey into the history, politics and culture of Palestine, defining Palestinian popular memory on its own terms in all its plurality and complexity.

News: interviewed by Insaniyyat (Society of Palestinian Anthropologists)


Very honored to have been interviewed by Anna Tsykov of Insaniyyat about my work on Palestine, and in particular, my book about the 1936-39 Revolt. Listen here.  

Here's what they say about it: 

Ted Swedenburg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. His first book, Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past, is a study of popular memory based on oral interviews with elderly peasants living in Palestinian villages in the Galilee and the West Bank. Since his first book, Dr. Swedenburg’s research has focused on popular music in the Middle East and North Africa. He has also taught at the American University in Cairo from 1992 to 1996. In this episode, Anna Tyshkov spoke with Dr. Swedenburg about his first book, questions and methods of oral history and its relationship to power and the peasant class. They also discuss current politics, and the unified Palestinian resistances surrounding events in May 2021. Dr. Swedenburg shares his personal reflections on the debts of solidarity, and his experience of fieldwork in Palestine.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

kufiyas and Hawaiian shirts: Boogaloo boys (#kufiyaspotting)

 More in the theme of the military or "tough guy" kufiya. Kufiyas show up all the time when far-right, white power militias mobilize. At Charlottesville, Amon Bundy's 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the Oath Keepers and other fascists fighting with 'antifa' in Portland, and so on. This has so much to do with US wars, with veterans from Gulf War 1, Iraq and Afghanistan, who got into kufiyas while abroad -- whether because they were very useful, given the environment, or they just thought they were cool, or they functioned as a kind of "sympathetic magic," a putting on of a garment identified with the enemy that serves to endow one with potency. Kathryn Belew's essential book Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, shows how important, since Vietnam, veterans of US imperialist adventures have been to the growth of the white power social movement. No wonder, then, that we frequently see kufiyas in all the far-right mobilizations of the last few years. (I've documented the phenomenon quite extensively here, but don't have time right now to put in all the links to previous posts -- you could do a search!)

 More photos of white power kufiyas to come!

This photo is from the New York Times, Sunday, January 31.

#kufiyaspotting, Tahrir Square, 10 years ago

 courtesy Rasha Latif