Title: “How are you teaching your children to be non-violent?” Gender and the Domestication of Peace on the Palestine-Israel Border
Presenter: Alyssa Paylor - PhD Peace Studies and Anthropology
220 O’Shaughnessy & Zoom
This paper explores efforts to domesticate peace, or the way that performances of reconciliation between Palestinian and Israeli peace activists demonstrate their understanding of solidarity and partnership with one another. Audiences attempt to disrupt these performances of solidarity to give them different meanings. I consider how activists work with one another to convey a refusal to accept a characterization of violence between their two societies as symmetrical and intractable, religious, or as a naturalized clash of civilizations. They do this through a public performance that hinges on their ability to demonstrate appropriate postures of familiarity with one another while maintaining that the violence of occupation is a structural violence, and will not to be solved solely by scaling up reconciliation between intimates or kin. During these performances, activists shift subjectivities, downplaying some political commitments while enacting a form of solidarity that allows them to continue one another rather than be divided on the basis of national community. A gender analysis makes these shifts in subjectivity evident, and highlights how the activists take up subject positions that may be contrary to their own ideological commitments or come into friction with perceptions of appropriately gendered behaviors held by their audiences. This paper posits a concept of non-sovereign ethical subjectivity that allows these activists to engage with one another as kin while maintaining their commitment to challenge the multiple violences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
Alyssa Paylor a doctoral student in Peace Studies and Anthropology. She holds an MA in Anthropology and Master of Global Affairs with an International Peace Studies concentration from the University of Notre Dame. She has over six years of professional and volunteer experience working with grassroots peace and education organizations in Israel, Palestine, Myanmar, and Thailand. As a Ph.D. student, Alyssa intends to build upon her master’s research that examined concepts of reconciliation in a community of Israeli and Palestinian peace activists. Her research interests include examining spaces and practices of solidarity, activism, and care in conditions of power asymmetry. She is interested in how activists in marginalized peace movements garner support from their communities while contesting conditions of structural and physical violence.