Pinkwashing: Homonationalism and Gay Tourism in Palestine/Israel


JUNE 20, 2011

by Haneen Maikey, director of alQaws

Organized by Mikki Stelder, in cooperation with Queeristan and NICA

The Palestinian community is one of the few in the Middle East that witnessed an explicit formation of a queer discourse in the public sphere. Entrenched in the struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestine, the struggle of Palestinian queers is not only a struggle against social injustice in Palestine, but also against Israel’s colonization, occupation and apartheid. Violations of human rights and international law, suppression of basic rights and civil liberties, and discrimination are deeply rooted in Israel’s policies towards Palestinians, straight and gay alike.

The Palestinian queer community has evolved over the last ten years; civil society organizations working on queer rights have emerged. One of the grassroots organizations working on sexual and gender diversity in the Palestinian community, alQaws, works to integrate the queer community into various levels of Palestinian society. Realizing that the oppression faced by Palestinian queers is not only a result of their gender and sexual identity, but also a result of being Palestinians, alQaws strives to carve out a space for the queer community in the shadow of oppression and occupation.

In 2010, a community of Palestinian queer activists who live in the occupied Palestinian territories and inside Israel came together to promote and stand for the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, which was launched in July 2005. Palestinian Queers for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (PQBDS) argue that the struggle for sexual and gender diversity is interconnected with the Palestinian struggle for freedom and self-determination.

The lecture on Pinkwashing: Homonationalism and Gay Tourism in Palestine/Israel presents the queer struggle in Palestine in its historical context. It explains the formation of a Palestinian queer movement, which evolved throughout different and major historical events in the political sphere of the region. The lecture proposes an understanding of the current discourse of homonationalism in Israel from the perspective of marginalized Palestinian queers. The strategic pinkwashing of Israel’s image that is used in the campaigns of gay tourism in Tel Aviv is exposed as a cover up to the exclusionary politics of the Israeli state. The lecture concludes with a discussion on the politics of representation of the Palestinian queer community from an Israeli perspective versus a Palestinian one.

Haneen Maikey is the director of alQaws for Sexual & Gender Diversity in Palestinian Society, a group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and queer (LGBTQ) Palestinian activists,  who work collaboratively to break down gendered and heteronormative barriers). Maikey is also co-founder of the Palestinian Queers for BDS.



Toppling Times: Cultural Activism

MAY 31, 2011

Organized by Aylin Kuryel and Begum Ozden Firat

 With presentations and performances by L.M. Bogad, Robin Celikates, Kees Hudig, Thijs Witty, Christian Scholl, Emrah Irzik, and John Jordan.

Paths Through Utopia 


The encounter between the insights of political, social and critical theory on the one hand, and activist visions and struggles on the other, is urgent and appealing. Indeed, there is much to gain from a productive dialogue between the theorizations of the intricacies of our time and the subversive practices that deal with them. New forms of activism, with their insistence on creative interventions based on the notions of humor, playfulness and confusion, may provide a suitable ground to explore the  relationship between theoretical acts and activist thinking.

The NICA Atelier Toppling Times: Cultural Activism will consist of a one-day event focusing on contemporary activist practices that aim to interrupt and reorient politics as well as culture. The atelier includes presentations from some of the contributors of the recently published book Cultural Activism: Practices, Dilemmas, and Possibilities (eds. Aylin Kuryel and Begum Ozden Firat; Rodopi), roundtable discussions, as well as a movie screening followed by a debate.

Download: Toppling Times Program

Lost Objects: Inaugural NICA Summer School

JUNE 8-9, 2011

Inaugural NICA Summer School: Lost Objects

Organized by Jan Hein Hoogstad and Murat Aydemir

With Iris van der Tuin and Tim van Imschoot 

Some time ago, Roland Barthes argued that interdisciplinarity does not mean combining two or more objects that belong to different disciplines. Rather, it implies constructing an object that yet belongs to no-one. In that sense, interdisciplinarity interrupts the possessive relationship between a knowing discipline and its ignorant other. It forces academic scholarship to lose its old, (overly) familiar objects and start from unknown, forgotten, or emergent ones. These new objects, moreover, do not simply fall in line with established academic disciplines and world views. On the contrary, they offer the opportunity to question and redistribute existing “orders of things.”

The 2011 Inaugural NICA Summer School reflects on the “life” of the object in today’s interdisciplinary and theoretical humanities. If interdisciplinarity not only complements, but also transmutes and undoes established ways of knowing, then it makes sense to ask what objects we have now lost, gained, found, and perhaps even lost again through interdisciplinarity research and teaching. Moreover, Barthes’s view implies that interdisciplinarity cannot become an established method or recipe: as soon as it installs an object that lines up with the others, it inevitably becomes a new form of disciplinarity. So, today, what objects do we forget, foreclose, or preempt? What object do we reify, enshrine, know all too well? And what new objects might we yet create or remember?

Download: Program 2011 Summer School “Lost Objects”

New Urban Aesthetics


The Cities Seminar meets monthly during the 2011-12 academic year, and features a combination of guest speakers and focused group readings and discussions on a rich variety of urban topics.

The seminar has two main aims: to identify and think through the implications of new (or newly recognized) urban forms in the era of globalization, and to address new concepts and paradigms in urban theory.

  • How are cities – and city life – changing in response to developments such as globalization, transnational migration, new media culture, and environmental engineering?
  • How does cultural production – ranging from literature and the visual arts to architecture and design – inform or contribute to those changes? What value do critical concepts such as the cosmopolitan, the global, the exurban, and the postmetropolitan have in current debates about cities?
  • What new concepts and categories do we need to address emergent urban scenes and new formations of urban identity?

Engaging with such questions, the Cities Seminar aims to stimulate open discussion, exchange, and debate on key urban topics within the humanities and beyond.

Participation in the seminar is open to all members of ASCA, NICA, and registered guests (Research MAs, urban practitioners, city-image makers, etc). Registration is by email to the organizer: Christoph Lindner (

  • Sept 16: “Cities, Film, and China”, Prof. Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (KNAW Visiting Fellow and Dean of Media and Communication, RMIT, Australia). Location: tbc. Time: 3-6pm.
  • Oct 14: “City Affect, Mobility, and Creativity”, focused reading/discussion led by Prof. Christoph Lindner (ASCA). Location: tbc. Time: 3-6pm.
  • Nov 18: “Peripheral Vision and the City: Staring at the Suburbs and Glancing at the Centre”, Prof. Hugh Campbell (School of Architecture, University College Dublin). Location: tbc. Time 3-6pm.
  • Dec 9: “PhD Research Forum”, Location: tbc. Time 3-6pm.
  • The seminar dates for semester 2 are: Feb 17, March 16, April 20, and May 18.
For more information, please refer to the website of the Cities Project.