Ashla'a: Body Bags, Body Parts, and the Genocide in Gaza. A Conversation with Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian moderated by Nahed Samour

Ashla'a: Body Bags, Body Parts, and the Genocide in Gaza. A Conversation with Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian moderated by Nahed Samour

March 26th, 2024

Shifting Paradigms: Epistemic Resistance [decoco] lecture series

Lecture Title: "Ashla'a: Body Bags, Body Parts, and the Genocide in Gaza." A Conversation with Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian.

Date & Time: Tuesday, 26.03.2024 | 3.00pm-4.30pm (CET).

Lecture Description: Acts of criminality in spaces of death, the ongoing genocide in Gaza during 2023-2024, with evidence of Palestinians starving, dying, and witnessing scattered injured body parts and wounded flesh, prompt questions about the political significance attributed to the dead flesh and body of the colonized. The focus of the discussion is on the colonized body parts and body bags, visible in the state’s excessive violence (wounding, starvation, cutting fuel, displacing, killing, and more), and the scattered flesh of the colonized - referred to as Ashla'a - on Gaza’s soil. The Arabic word Ashla'a, meaning scattered body parts and dismembered flesh, is used as a repeatedly emphasized concept and concern voiced by Gazans. Through theorizing and invoking Ashla'a, an analysis of the colonized perception of its functionality is provided, along with an exploration of the political implications of its brutality. Drawing from children’s apprehensive concerns, the politics of Ashla'a are theorized to reveal the relationship between the settler colonial-imperial genocidal force and the deadly racial hierarchies in Gaza. It is argued that Ashla'a exposes the colonizer's insatiable greed, rendering the concept of Palestinian unity unachievable, preventing the formation of a unified entity, a WHOLE, and overcoming the evident uprooting in the wounded and scattered pieces of flesh/land/life. The transformation of Gaza/Palestine into Ashla'a highlights the brutal extension of power that enables settler colonial dominance through the decomposition of wounded and scattered flesh. In such a necro-economy, with its racial culmination of expendability evident in an industry that further produces Palestinian Ashla'a, global political complicity is exposed. In the face of the genocide’s cruel dismemberment and ongoing historical uprooting, and despite the global economy and necro-deliverability of Ashla'a, Palestinians continue their search for hope, life, and continuity.

Speaker bio: Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is a Palestinian feminist activist and the Chair in Global Law at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on law, society and crimes of abuse of power. She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and children, settler colonialism, trauma and recovery in militarized and colonized zones. One of her most recent books is "Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding” published by Cambridge University Press in 2019.

Moderator: Dr. Nahed Samour is Research Associate at Radboud University, Nijmegen in the Race-Religion-Constellations research project. She studied Law and Islamic Studies at the universities of Bonn, Birzeit/Ramallah, School of Orient and African Studies London, Humboldt University Berlin, Harvard University, and Damascus University. She was a doctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt/Main. She clerked at the Court of Appeals in Berlin, and held a Post Doc position at the Eric Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, Helsinki University, Finland and was Early Career Fellow at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen Institute for Advance Study. She is member of the Arab German Young Academy and co-editor of the book Arab Berlin (transcript, 2023).

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