Lunchtime seminar – Palestine and the classroom, June 15

Time: Tuesday June 15, 1pm (Sydney time)


The paper will look at the difficulty of teaching Palestine, in particular the Israel-Palestine conflict, in a range of classroom settings. Various myths about this conflict exist – its supposed complexity, its age-old status, its religiosity – that need to be addressed and dismantled before any headway can be made to reconfigure the terms we can use to engage with learning about this conflict in the classroom. This is not a unique to teaching Palestine, but when coupled with managing sensitivities and allegiances in the classroom can make for a challenging set of tutorials. Furthermore, the classroom in my experience in teaching this topic has been subject to external stakeholders who attempt to influence what is taught and what historical narrative is suitable. This paper will outline some of these challenges and ask what can be gleaned from such a fraught teaching situation. 

Jumana Bayeh is a Senior Lecturer at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on the diaspora cultures of the Arab world, and literary and cultural representations of the riot in the Middle East and beyond. She teaches various units that focus on the politics and history of the Middle East, from the early twentieth century to the present. The seminar is presented by Sydney University Staff for BDS, a group of Sydney University staff members supporting the institutional academic boycott.