Centre Palestine as a subject of research and method of public inquiry at UofT and across Canada.
Provide an intellectual hub for the study of Palestine.
‘Hearing Palestine’ provides an intellectual hub at the University of Toronto that facilitates advanced and interdisciplinary research on Palestine, past, present, and future.
We generate academic discussions on some of the most complex and tangled questions in the humanities and social sciences. We consider their consequences for human life, academic freedom, equity and inclusion, as well as the repercussions on current affairs in Canada, the North Atlantic more broadly, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
We are engaged in numerous activities, which we will expand in the coming years. We host international conferences, workshops and an annual lecture. We will train postdocs, scholars and artists in residence in collaboration with other departments and faculties across the three UofT campuses. We are developing an archive of Palestinian student activities and publications. We will produce an in-house journal and occasional papers. And we will host performances, exhibitions and films with Palestinian partners from the GTA.
The ‘Hearing Palestine’ initiative has enjoyed foundational support from the following academic units.
- Institute of Islamic Studies (UTSG)
- Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations (UTSG)
- Department of Anthropology (UTM, UTSC, UTSG)
- Department of History (UTSG)
- Centre for Study of United States, Munk (UTSG)
- Department for the Study of Religion (UTSG)
Palestine Exception and Academic Freedom:
The initiative responds to calls for improving the university experience for students, staff, and faculty enduring and concerned about anti-Palestinian discrimination on campus and the resulting limitations this puts on research and learning. ‘Hearing Palestine’ does not accept that in universities across Canada and the United States, a “Palestine Exception to Academic Freedom” prevails. We provide a safe environment for research and expression that holds the study of Palestine to universal standards of critical inquiry
‘Hearing Palestine‘ brings to the UofT a model of best practices for (i) innovative research and pedagogy, (ii) excellence through diversity, (iii) enabling difficult conversations in an academically rigorous environment; and (iv) fostering critical research towards the principles of equity and justice in line with the promise of academic freedom.
‘Hearing Palestine‘ offers an opportunity for UofT to model best practices in facilitating a difficult discussions through a strategic mixing of academic activities and design features.
Planned activities, and their facilitating features, may include:
- Lecture series – with moderation that respectfully invite critical viewpoints
- Reading groups – for faculty, students, and staff to enrich their understanding of Palestine through critical readings of new and classic scholarship
- Manuscript reviews – to provide critical feedback that advances research on Palestine
- Cultural showcases – to centre Palestine and recognize its culture and history
- Community research projects – to provide academic analysis in contexts where communities face challenges in speaking about Palestine
The ‘Hearing Palestine’ initiative invites students, researchers, faculty, administration, and communities to participate in respectful academic discourse, where experiences and ideas can be shared and tested.