The Galilee Foundation funded a programme conducted in the 2009-2010 academic year, through it’s project partner, Mada al-Carmel in Haifa. Mada al-Carmel generates and provides information, critical analysis, and diverse perspectives on the social and political life and history of Palestinians, with particular attention to Palestinians within Israel’s 1948 boundaries.

Click here to learn about our project partner, Mada al-Carmel.

To initiate the programme, we advertised in the local Arabic press, inviting applications. Eighteen scholars submitted CVs and research summaries. A committee of three academics reviewed the applications, interviewed the applicants, and selected the six finalists. Dr Samera Esmeir, Assistant Professor in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley, who was visiting the country on a year’s sabbatical, graciously assumed the role of programme coordinator.

The Galilee Fellows began their seminar series at the start of the local academic year, in November. They met for eight seminars (for two hours each), all convened and run by Dr Esmeir. The seminars were designed to expose doctoral students from different fields to seminal writings that they would not otherwise be likely to encounter.

Where possible, texts were provided in Arabic (translated from English), and seminar discussions were always held in Arabic. The readings were selected to broaden and challenge students’ thinking, hone their critical inquiry skills, and assist them in developing a critical academic discourse in Arabic. Dr. Esmeir decided to focus the seminar readings around the issues of violence and war, post-colonialism, and authorship.

The fellows reported that they find the seminar atmosphere particularly refreshing and supportive. As students at Israeli universities, they have never had the opportunity to read and discuss academic works in their native language, and among their Palestinian peers. The initial seminar meeting was particularly difficult as students struggled to “find their tongue,” but as the meetings have progressed, the fellows have been acquiring the ability to express their ideas in academic Arabic. They found the discussions highly stimulating and were enriched by interactions with fellow Palestinian students, from different universities and different fields.

The Fellows’ stipend is very useful to the students, in terms of helping to cover tuition costs, as well as research and travel expenses (such as to attend the seminars).


The Galilee Foundation Fellows

The six Galilee Foundation Fellows are engaged in very interesting and diverse projects:

Nabih Bashir is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Jewish Studies at Ben-Gurion University. He is interested in understanding the “holy angles” identity of religious Jewish communities – among them the Haredim and settlers – an identity upon which they draw in justifying their status and actions vis-à-vis non-Jewish populations. In order to do so, Bashir is researching Jewish scholarship from 1000 years ago, focusing on interpretations of angels in the Old Testament and tracing their impact on today’s Jewish communities.

Hatem Darawshi is a doctoral candidate in the Programme of Social Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Tel Aviv University. His work is in the field of information processing, and he conducts studies in controlled laboratory settings. Darawshi’s research examines the ways that Jewish and Arab students construct differing narratives of the same historical events and the effects of various factors on their construction, such as the presence of an immediate (contrived) threat.

Taiseer Khatib is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Haifa. He is currently conducting ethnographic field work in a Druze community. Khatib’s research investigates the construction of Druze identity in the contexts of state authority, relations with the wider Arab community, relations and interactions with the Jewish community, and internal community conflicts.

Kareem Nassar is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Haifa University. He is interested in understanding the stigma of disabilities among Palestinians in Israel, and developing ways to involve families in the development and care of disabled children. Nassar’s research focuses on enhancing family involvement in the population of institutionalized children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities.

Areej Sabbagh-Khoury is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University. She is interested in the representation of memory and the political economy of land control. Sabbagh-Khoury’s research investigates the Israeli socialist Zionist movement HaShomer HaTzair from 1930 to 1956. She is examining the discourse of this movement related to Palestinian refugees, the Nakba, and land.

Lana Zreik is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Haifa. She is interested in understanding dynamics between representations and public, and the ways each affects the other. Zreik’s research explores the reciprocal relationship between the Palestinian minority in Israel and their theatre arts.