Punctuated Humanitarianism: Between the Catastrophic and the Cruddy in Gaza

Ilana Feldman

This talk explores Gaza's oscillating experiences between crisis and catastrophe (such as produced by this summer's Israeli assault on the territory and its population) and chronic and cruddy conditions of need (produced by the long-term closure policy and slightly shorter-term blockade of the territory). It considers the complex place of humanitarian practice, language, and personnel in responding to these conditions. It focuses on two primary features of this humanitarian field: 1) the challenges of working in-between the catastrophic and the cruddy and in the dual position of victim and provider and 2) the pitfalls of the humanitarian frame itself, whether mobilized as a weapon against Palestinians or pursued with the sincerest of intentions.

This talk is sponsored by the Center for the Humanities, the College of Arts and Sciences, and Wash U Foreign Policy Engagement.

This talk is free and open to the public.