Queer(y)ing Palestine's Future

Principal Investigator: Dr Walaa Alqaisiya
Duration: July 2021 – December 2021
Funded by: CBRL

Street art of two men kissing and a poster of a woman in a hijab on a road wall in Palestine.
photo_cameraPhoto: Walaa Alqiaisya

This project expands on Walaa's ongoing research in relation to decolonial queer politics in the context of Palestine. It explores processes of gender and sexuality whose privileging of hetero-colonising authority shaped and continue to define both the Israeli-Zionist conquest of Palestine and the Palestinian struggle for liberation, thus future imaginings of ‘free Palestine.’

Two main, interrelated themes constitute the essence of this project. The first theme outlines how the work of political activism challenges the complex web of gendered, sexualised, and racialised constituents of the Zionist settler-colonial project. Engaging the cultural and political practices of anti-pinkwashing work not only exposes the central role of gender and sexuality to the continuation of Palestinian Nakba but also reveals the significance of a queering analytic that stems from the subject position and history of those who remain directly under the thumb of settler-colonial violence.

The second and final theme of the project examines Palestinian activism and aesthetics in their attempt to query the reproduction of gendered and sexualised violence in Palestinian politics of liberation. It engages a range of practices from local activists and artists who are challenging the politics of statehood futurity within Palestine that have characterised the rise of the Palestinian National Authority in the aftermath of the Oslo Agreement. This political paradigm has been implemented through an agenda of modernisation and securitisation, whose implications have been thoroughly debated but not sufficiently examined in relation to the politics of gendered and sexed identities.

The project engages the work and mobilising of Palestinian grassroots activists and artists offering an alternative political horizon, one that seeks to build a vision of Palestine beyond external and internalised colonialism, heteropatriarchy and all its related forms of oppression. By interrogating queer feminist activism and aesthetics, the project seeks to uncover the role they have in enabling new political imaginings beyond the current impasse. Its aim is to reveal the subtle threads linking gender and sexuality to power and resistance, thus providing fresh insights into how decolonisation enfolds queering and vice versa.

This project is supported by the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL).

Research Team

Walaa Alqaisiya

Walaa Alqaisiya | Principal Investigator

Walaa is a teaching fellow in gender, peace and security at the Department for Gender Studies. Her work weaves together queer studies, decolonial approaches and indigenous studies.