Fall 2021 – The Visual is Political: Citizen Videography and Documentary Cinema in Israel/Palestine

Tuesday, Nov. 16 | 5:30–7 p.m. | Online

How is oppression represented onscreen in Israel/Palestine? What can we learn from both cinema and everyday videos, filmed on cell phones and camcorders, about how power structures the visual field in the Middle East, how the visual in turn impacts the political, and how resistance is embedded in people’s self-representation of their lives? This talk brings together Professors Shirly Bahar (Columbia University) and Liat Berdugo (USF), two scholars and artists who study the moving image in Israel and Palestine. Bahar’s 2021 book, Documentary Cinema in Israel-Palestine: Performance, the Body, the Home, analyzes the new wave of documentaries that center on Palestinians’ and Mizrahi Jews’ (Jews of Middle Eastern origins) historical and lived experiences of pain and oppression across Israel/Palestine and beyond. Berdugo’s 2021 book, The Weaponized Camera in the Middle East: Videography, Aesthetics, and Politics in Israel and Palestine, draws on unprecedented access to the citizen-recorded video archives of B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO that, among other projects, distributes cameras to Palestinians living in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza to contribute to the discourse of human rights work through the documentary form of image-making.