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Yara Hawari and Hana Sleiman

Challenging Knowledge Production in the British Academy: Who Can Speak on Palestine?

[Excerpt from

Earlier this month, a British university hosted a conference on the fiftieth anniversary of the Israeli occupation, one of many being organized this year. The conference sought to reflect on fifty years of the “longest standing military occupation in the world,” focusing on “its implications not just for Palestinians, but also for Israelis.” Although academic, the conference promised to include non-academic representation including activists.    In the lead ...

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Yara Hawari and Hana Sleiman


Yara Hawari is a British Palestinian scholar-activist, whose writing continues to be informed by her commitment to decolonisation. Originally from the Galilee, Yara has spent her life between Palestine and the UK. She is currently a final year PhD Candidate at the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter. Her thesis focuses on oral history projects and initiatives in the Galilee, and more widely on oral history as an indigenous form of knowledge production. Yara is also a post-graduate teaching assistant, an Al-Shabaka Policy Member and works freelance as a journalist publishing for various media outlets, including The Independent, Middle East Eye, Open Democracy and Electronic Intifada. 

Hana Sleiman is an archivist and a graduate student in history. Her work on archive creation and appropriation in modern Palestinian history has been published in the Arab Studies Journal (Spring 2016), and exhibited in the context of Qalandia International, Beirut (October 2016). After receiving her MA in Middle Eastern Studies from Columbia University (2013), she worked as a Special Collections Librarian at the American University of Beirut Archives (2014–2016), focusing on Palestinian oral history and contemporary Arab visual culture. She is currently a PhD student in History at Cambridge University, working on curricula formation in early 20th century colleges in Beirut and Damascus.