Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope

Hosted by the Middle East Centre

Zoom (Online)


Hadeel Assali

Hadeel Assali

Columbia University

Tareq Baconi

Tareq Baconi

International Crisis Group

Helga Tawil-Souri

Helga Tawil-Souri

New York University


Deen Sharp

Deen Sharp


 Open Gaza LARGE

Please note: simultaneous Arabic interpretation will be available during this event
خيار الترجمة الفورية باللغة العربية متوفر

This webinar will be the launch of the book Open Gaza: Architectures of Hope edited by Deen Sharp and the late Michael Sorkin.

The Gaza Strip is one of the most beleaguered environments on earth. Crammed into a space of 139 square miles (360 square kilometers), 1.8 million people live under an Israeli siege, enforcing conditions that continue to plummet to ever more unimaginable depths of degradation and despair. Gaza, however, is more than an endless encyclopedia of depressing statistics. It is also a place of fortitude, resistance, and imagination; a context in which inhabitants go to remarkable lengths to create the ordinary conditions of the everyday and to reject their exceptional status. Inspired by Gaza’s inhabitants, this book builds on the positive capabilities of Gazans. It brings together designers, environmentalists, planners, activists, and scholars from Palestine and Israel, the US, the UK, India, and elsewhere to create hopeful interventions that imagine a better place for Gazans and Palestinians. Open Gaza engages with the Gaza Strip within and beyond the logics of siege and warfare, it considers how life can be improved inside the limitations imposed by the Israeli blockade and outside the idiocy of violence and warfare.

If you would like to purchase the book, there is a 20% discount available with the code OpenGazaPreorder for US, Canada and UK orders.

For US/Canada orders please visit AUC North American Bookstore.

For UK orders, please email


Hadeel Assali is a former chemical engineer and is currently completing her PhD in anthropology at Columbia University. Her work focuses on Southern Palestine (including Gaza) and different forms of knowledge (or science) of the land. She is also a filmmaker with two short films on Gaza and is working on her first feature length documentary.

Tareq Baconi is Senior Analyst for Israel/Palestine and Economics of Conflict at the International Crisis Group. He has a background in management consulting in the energy sector. His research relates to the contemporary geopolitics of the region, with a focus on Israel-Palestine. His writing has appeared in Arabic in Al-Ghad and Al-Quds al-Arabi, and in English in The New York Review Daily, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, The Nation, The Daily Star (Lebanon), and al-Jazeera. 

Deen Sharp is an LSE Fellow in Human Geography at the Department of Geography and Environment, LSE. He is an urban geographer whose research focuses on the political economy of urbanization in the “Middle East”. He was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is the co-editor of Beyond the Square: Urbanism and the Arab Uprisings (Urban Research: 2016) and Open Gaza (University in Cairo Press: In Print). He is also actively engaged in scholarly and policy discussions around the urbanization of violence and conflict. He is currently working on a edited volume on the spatial dynamics of the conflict in Syria with Nasser Rabbat, provisionally entitled, Reconstruction as Violence: The case of Syria. This book will be published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2021.

Helga Tawil-Souri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication and the Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at NYU. Her work deals with spatiality, technology, and politics in the Middle East, with a particular focus on contemporary life in Palestine-Israel. She is interested in how media technologies and infrastructures function as bordering mechanisms, and, conversely, how territorial and physical boundaries or objects function as cultural and mediated spaces. Much of her published academic work has been about Palestinian im/mobility and infrastructure, which has taken checkpoints, mobile phones and internet, film, and questions of borders and space as its focal points. She has also written about Arab media, identification cards, surveillance, video games, and other topics. She is co-editor of Gaza As Metaphor (Hurst, 2016). Currently, Helga is beginning long-term research on turnstiles, and transforming some of her work and curiosities into visual and/or digital modes, experimenting with collage, and interested in creating and supporting academic work in non-traditional forms.

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Image: ©AUC Press