Interdisciplinary Islamic Studies Seminar (IISS) Workshop. Queer Liminality: Gender and Sexuality in Raafat Hattab’s "Ho(u)ria"
For LGBTQ individuals in Palestine, issues of gender and sexuality are inherently intertwined with their positions as individuals living under occupation. This is perhaps most notably visible through the eliding of Israel’s human rights abuses against Palestinians by Brand Israel (the primary pro-Israel propaganda project) through a portrayal of Israel as the singular gay-friendly, culturally progressive Middle Eastern country—a practice that has been termed “pinkwashing.” For Palestinians living within the state of Israel who identify as queer, they may feel caught between two societies into which they do not fit: Israeli society, where they are an outcast because of their Palestinianness, and Palestinian society, where they are an outcast because of their gender expression or sexuality. This leaves some individuals in a state of twofold liminality. In this paper, I utilize this notion of liminality as relates to the trans* experience discussed by Diane Dentice and Michelle Dietert to examine Ho(u)ria (2010), a video work by genderqueer Palestinian artist Raafat Hattab. Haatab’s video alternates between three scenes: a mermaid (Hattab) on the beach, Hattab’s aunt telling the story of her family’s expulsion from their homes during the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe” referring to the formation of Israel and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians), and Hattab getting a tattoo of Arabic calligraphy on his chest. While on the surface appearing disparate, these three scenes all speak to the intrinsically interwoven nature of liminality, the omission of certain voices from the nationalist struggle, and the persistent fight for liberation, as embodied by the work’s title—houria, meaning mermaid, and horia, meaning freedom.
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|Event Type:||Workshop / Seminar|
|Tags:||Film, International, Israel, LGBT, Middle East Studies, Muslim, Palestine|
|Source:||Happening @ Michigan from Global Islamic Studies Center, International Institute|
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