Ron Kuzar: “The Internal Palestinian Debate on the Right of Return: On National Discourses and Beyond”
This presentation will start with a (partial) lexical analysis of the term 'return' and will show how different meanings are selected in the internal Palestinian debate on the right of return between maximalists and pragmatists, and how reality is narrated so as to discursively harmonize with the lexical choices. Then the author will present and discuss how Anton Shammas's short story Autocartography: The Case of Palestine, Michigan. Shammas (an Israeli Palestinian author, who writes in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, and is currently a professor of literature at Ann Arbor, Michigan) subverts, ridicules, and counters the whole debate from within, challenging thereby both the Israeli and the Palestinian national discourses from the vulnerable position of personal and collective hybridity. [Reading the story in advance is not required, but those interested can find it in: Shammas, Anton (1996). Autocartography: The case of Palestine, Michigan. In: Patricia Yaeger (ed.), The Geography of Identity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, pp. 466–75. Reprinted in: Palestine–Israel Journal, 9(2), 2002, pp. 111–119.]
Ron Kuzar is in the Department of English Language and Literature, University of Haifa. His research focuses on the syntax of English and Hebrew, information structure, history and theory of syntactic modeling, contrastive analysis of English and Hebrew, and language and ideology. He is currently working on a book which will offer a syntactic typology of Predicate-Initial (P1) constructions, using primarily English and Hebrew data.
Discourse & Society, Vol. 19, No. 5, 629-644 (2008)
The term return in the Palestinian discourse on the Right of Return
UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA, ISRAEL, email@example.com
The term return is used in the English texts of contemporary Palestinian political authors writing on the Right of Return of Palestinians to their homes and homeland. The first part of this article is dedicated to a semantic analysis of return as a radial category with a core meaning and extensions. The meanings of return in these texts as used in the discourse of Palestinian maximalists versus pragmatists are then discussed. It is shown that: (1) different meanings of return are selected according to whether the writer is a maximalist or a pragmatist, and (2) a reality that harmonizes with these meanings is narratively constructed.