Siri Schwabe, PhD student, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Promised Lands: Memory, Politics, and Palestinianness in Santiago de Chile

This study is a comprehensive attempt to grapple with diasporic Palestinianness in Santiago de Chile. Based on long-term fieldwork within Palestinian-Chilean networks, organizations, and places it explores how an inherently political, collective Palestinianness is constituted, expressed and explored via memory on the one hand and processes related to space and place on the other. Palestinianness is employed here as a catch-all concept meant to capture all that which goes into maintaining a Palestinian presence in Santiago. More than a fixed and easily translatable category, Palestinianness is approached as something that works and is worked upon in ways that are inseparable from, in this case, the context of lived life in the Chilean capital. It is a host of experiences and practices that cannot be neatly separated, but that are constantly weaved together in steadily recurrent, but sometimes disruptive and surprising patterns.

Consequently, the thesis interrogates Palestinianness in Santiago in relation to politics, places, and memories that are in turn experienced, practiced, and narrated within the realm of the quotidian as much as during periods of intensified engagement with Palestine. It seeks to show how, whether overt or subtle, politics underpins practices as diverse as maintaining cultural heritage, commemorating past struggle, securing an exclusive Palestinian place, supporting a football team, and taking part in protest marches. Ultimately, from these ethnographic entry-points, it aims to show how Palestinianness in Santiago is a dynamic social phenomenon marked by the mutual imbrication of the near and the far, the past and the present.

Examiner: Nina Gren, Assistant Professor, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University

All seminars in the series.