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ABOUT

Jennifer Lynn Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies with a Portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies from University of Texas at Austin, her master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities from New York University, and her bachelor's degree in Feminist Studies and Literature from University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research broadly engages questions of settler colonialism, U.S. empire, and the fraught politics of both tourism and solidarity. She is currently completing the manuscript for her first book, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine, a multi-sited ethnographic study of solidarity tourism in Palestine that draws from research she completed as a 2012-2013 Palestinian American Research Center Fellow. In her project, she analyzes the ways in which solidarity tourism has emerged in Palestine as an organizing strategy that is both embedded in and working against histories of sustained displacement.

Invited to witness: Solidarity Tourism across occupied palestine

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My book manuscript, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine, is a multi-sited ethnographic study of solidarity tourism in Palestine. Drawing from participant observation of solidarity tours in Palestine/Israel and interviews with guides, organizers, community members, and tourists, I show how solidarity tourism has emerged in Palestine as an organizing strategy that is both embedded in and working against histories of sustained displacement.

The first two chapters of the manuscript follow the itineraries of Palestinian organizers in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and inside Israel’s 1948 borders as they work to reject the borders and checkpoints crafted to divide them. The first chapter takes as its subject a Palestinian olive-planting program that invites international tourists to help Palestinian farmers plant trees on land threatened by Israeli settlement expansion. This chapter shows how one organization uses tourism to position contemporary settler violence and settlement expansion as part of a long and ongoing history of displacement in Palestine. In the second chapter, I detail the labor and cultural production of the Israeli organization Zochrot, which intervenes in dominant Israeli narratives – largely through tourism – to remind Israeli audiences of the foundational violence of Israeli state formation. This chapter centers on an interview with a Palestinian organizer and tour guide at Zochrot as I explore the collaboration between Zochrot and organizers in the West Bank at the Badil Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights as they collectively imagine futures of decolonized and shared space in Palestine/Israel. The third chapter turns to Palestinian mobilizing through tourism during the first intifada, when Israel prohibited Palestinians from being licensed tour guides of their own cities and villages. Focusing on tours in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I take a historical look at how delegations and solidarity tours emerged in Palestine as organizing tactics under an occupation that criminalized Palestinian-led tourism. The fourth chapter builds upon the work in the third to explore how the Oslo Accords both fractured the West Bank and simultaneously made it possible for Palestinians to be officially licensed as tour guides. In this chapter, I show how solidarity tourism emerged as a viable practice — and industry — for garnering international support for Palestinian freedom struggles.

In the fifth chapter, I turn to interviews with solidarity tour alumni in order to reveal how international tourists interpret the ethics of their fleeting moments in Palestine as tourists and their role as witnesses back home. The final chapter of the book is an analysis of how the severing of Gaza from the rest of Palestine has functioned to foreclose even the possibility of tourism. I add to examples from my fieldwork, where organizers in the West Bank introduced tourists to Palestinians in Gaza via video conferencing, to create an archive of the processes and political implications of those who have attempted with varying degrees of success to “reach” Gaza during Israeli-imposed siege that has lasted more than a decade. I also chronicle the moments, in between Israeli military operations, where Palestinians in Gaza have attempted to foster virtual tourism initiatives there. This chapter intervenes in narratives that circumscribe Palestine to the geographical borders of the West Bank and shows how Palestinians and internationals alike have sought to circumvent the borders erected to sever Gaza from the rest of the world. The conclusion of the book draws from my interviews with Palestinian organizers about their hopes for what tourists will do and interviews with U.S. tourists about the work they do post-tour to illustrate how solidarity tourism hinges on hope and how this contingency is marked by both possibility and precarity. Building from literature in queer and affect studies that has outlined the contradictory project of hope in the face of despair and work on Palestine that has outlined the generative potential of Palestinian cynicism, my book concludes by demonstrating how Palestinian guides and organizers position hope, like solidarity, as an incomplete and sometimes impossible endeavor, yet one that is altogether necessary.

COURSES

UnIVERSity of California, Santa Cruz

Winter 2019

FMST Graduate Seminar: Militarism and Tourism
Feminist Studies Department and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program

Spring 2019

FMST 145: Racial and Gender Formations
Feminist Studies Department and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program

FMST 194: Senior Exit Seminar: Touring War and Empire
Feminist Studies Department and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Program

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Spring 2017

AAS 100: Introduction to Asian American Studies
Departments of Asian American Studies and Gender and Women's Studies

 

Dickinson College

Spring 2014     

AMS 200-03: Queer Studies
Departments of American Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies

 

University of Texas at Austin

Spring 2013    

AMS 311S: American Empire
Department of American Studies

Summer 2011

Teaching Assistant, AMS 356: Main Currents in American Studies, 1865-Present
Department of American Studies

2010-2011       

Instructor, RHE 309K: The Rhetoric of Race and Gender
Department of Rhetoric and Writing

2009-2010       

Instructor, RHE 306: Introduction to Rhetoric
Department of Rhetoric and Writing

TALKS, PRESENTATIONS, & Interviews

 

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 “Itineraries through Occupied Spaces: Routinized Violence, Solidarity Tourism, and the Fraught Politics of Witnessing,” Panel: Spaces Under Construction: Building Towards an Anthropology of Contemporary Settler Colonialism in Palestine-Israel, panel co-sponsored by the Middle East Section and the Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., December 2014.

“Itineraries through Occupied Spaces: Routinized Violence, Solidarity Tourism, and the Fraught Politics of Witnessing,” Panel: Spaces Under Construction: Building Towards an Anthropology of Contemporary Settler Colonialism in Palestine-Israel, panel co-sponsored by the Middle East Section and the Society for Urban, National and Transnational/Global Anthropology, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., December 2014.

“Pinkwashing, Tourism, and Anti-Colonial Resistance,” Panel: The Psychology of Pinkwashing, The Homonationalism and Pinkwashing Conference, City University of New York Graduate Center and the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies, New York City, April 10-11, 2013. For more information about the conference, see the conference website: http://www.homonationalism.org. For more information about CLAGS, see: http://www.clags.org. 

ADDRESS

Department of Feminist Studies
University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064