Interview with Lori Allen

Interview with Lori Allen (SOAS) on her recent book A History of False Hope: Investigative Commissions in Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2020). The interview was conducted via email by Tobias Kelly, member of the Humanity editorial collective. Tobias Kelly (TK): Can you tell us how you came to this project and how it relates to your previous work? Lori Allen (LA): I see this book as being a prequel to my first book, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine Continue reading →

Unsettling Effects of the Human Shield Concept

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields is arranged as a composition of twenty two tableaux. Each vividly explores distinctive practices of human shielding by excavating diverse types of archival sources—official documents, personal correspondence, memoirs, news media, scholarly works, novels, videogames, and more. The succession of these tableaux occurs mostly in chronological order beginning with the American Civil War, and its Continue reading →

History of People in the Line of Fire

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. My first encounter with the concept of human shielding was in an interview I conducted with Majdi Abed Rabbo in Jabaliya, a neighborhood in Gaza City in February 2009. I was a member of the National Lawyers’ Guild fact-finding mission to Gaza following Israel’s first large scale offensive against the tiny coastal enclave—also known as “Operation Cast Lead.” Atop a pile Continue reading →

Human Shields and Distributions of Killability

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire starts with the story of student Rachel Corrie, crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer as she tried to prevent the demolition of houses in the West Bank by putting herself in the way. Corrie, a civilian, was killed in a manner that many of us will find difficult Continue reading →

Human Shields, Progress, and Agency on the Roof

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire, is a detailed and effective mapping exercise introducing the reader to a growing field of legal and political interactions that center on the unstable dichotomy between killing and protecting civilians in war. Each of its 22 short chapters meticulously contextualizes a particular incident, a set of stories or an interface Continue reading →

Human Shields and the Politics of Humanity

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. It is a real pleasure to comment on this excellent book on the history, law, and politics of human shields. Throughout the book, Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini argue that the human shield brings into relief many of the political and social dynamics of our societies. The book throws light on a humanity that is always internally-riven and hierarchically-ordered. Humans, the Continue reading →

A Commentary on Human Shields: A History of People in the Line of Fire

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. A few minutes before midnight on May 1, 2011, President Barak Obama went on television to announce that the nation’s most wanted man was dead. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 that killed almost three thousand people, now lay in a watery grave in an undisclosed location. “Justice has been done,” Obama said. Continue reading →

Responding to the Symposium

This essay is part of a symposium on Neve Gordon and Nicola Perugini’s Human Shields. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. We are honoured by Noura Erakat’s, Lisa Hajjar’s, Pablo Kalmanovitz’s, Karin Loevy’s, Jessica Whyte’s, and Maja Zehfuss’s engagement with our book. We would like to begin by thanking them all for taking the time to read the manuscript and for offering really insightful criticism which has, in many respects, helped us to further articulate the book’s arguments. Noura Erakat asks why Continue reading →

Captivating Genres

This essay is part of a symposium on Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. In his now classic essay published in NLH in 1976, “The Origin of Genres,” Tzvetan Todorov famously articulated the following: “It is because genres exist as an institution that they function as ‘horizons of expectation’ for readers, and as ‘models of writing’ for authors.” He goes on to argue that “Genres communicate with the society in which they flourish by means of institutionalization,” and Continue reading →

Thinking with Runaway Genres about Runaway Movements and Falling Monuments

This essay is part of a symposium on Yogita Goyal’s Runaway Genres. All contributions to the symposium can be found here. Which forms are most amenable for narrating the afterlives of slavery and why? Which configurations of race and power come to the fore and which recede when contemporary Afro-diasporic writers take up the slave narrative to address contemporary human-rights violations in Africa? What happens to the mutually constitutive relationship between race and form across different spaces and times? These are the questions that animate Continue reading →