Israel, Palestine historians to give lectures

1:48:42 PM CDT - Friday, February 11, 2005

WSU's Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is teaming with the Ulrich Museum of Art to present a lecture series, "Two Nations, One Land: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict."

The lectures complement a current exhibition at the Ulrich, "Where We Come From," by Palestinian-born artist Emily Jacir.

"The historians will provide two additional perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and context to better understand the contemporary political situation," said Keith Pickus, associate dean and associate professor of history. Pickus arranged the lectures to help educate exhibition guests and the public about the discord's history.

Derek Penslar, professor of Jewish history at the University of Toronto, will present the lecture "Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism:  A Historical Assessment" at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14. Penslar will compare and contrast European anti-Semitism with Arab attitudes toward Jews and Zionism from the late 1800s through the 1960s. He has studied the history of the Zionist movement and the state of Israel.

Issam Nassar, professor of history at Bradley University, will present the lecture, "Palestine at the Crossroads: From al-Nakba to the Aftermath of the Peace Process," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24. Nassar will examine the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from 1948 to the present day. He is associate editor of Jerusalem Quarterly File.

The location for both lectures is the Ulrich Museum; admission is free.

Jacir's exhibition met with controversy before it opened at Wichita State, with opponents claiming its portrayal as being anti-Israel and anti-Zionist. It's also drawn some small, peaceful protests outside the museum.

For the exhibition, Jacir had asked Palestinians for special requests of daily life that she could fulfill for them in the West Bank and Gaza; the photographs depict the requests.

Jacir uses photography, video and text to put a human face on the intractable geopolitical issues that have tormented the Middle East for generations. Opponents object primarily to the text and some of the descriptions of the situation in Israel.

The exhibition will show through March 6.

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