GOALS AND WALLS: THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN ENCOUNTER IN FOOTBALL FILMS
Speaker: Dr Alon Raab (University of California, Davis)
Since its introduction to Israel/Palestine in the late 19th century, football has been an arena where contested identities, loyalties, and struggles are manifested. From 'mixed' leagues and teams during the early years of the British Mandate to contemporary Islamic Leagues, racist fans, and bombed football fields, the game has reflected and shaped perceptions and realities of class, nationalism, and gender.
Building on the work of such scholars as Mahfoud Amara, Tamir Sorek and Carlos Maranon, this paper will examine the way the game has expressed some of the larger political and social aspects of the conflict, and how these are presented in films, both documentary and narrative.
The paper will focus on several recent films: Goal Dreams (Maya Sanbar and Jeffrey Saunders, 2006) about the struggles of the Palestinian national team under occupation and its fostering of national unity and identity; The Team (Nabil Shoumali, 2010) – a 'soap opera for social change', about a Bethlehem club; We Too Have No Other Land (Jerrold Kessel, 2006) which follows the Galilee team of Sakhnin; Cup Final (Eran Rikles, 1991) about the 1982 Lebanon war and the game's potential and limitations as a common language between enemies; and Forerunners (Pazeet Ben Hayl, 2004) which documents three members of the Israeli national women's soccer team – a Mizrachi Jew, a Russian immigrant, and a Palestinian citizen of the state – and elucidates the nature of the Israeli state and inter-group dynamics. Fiction, commercials, and graphic novels will also be noted.
Dr Alon Raab is a lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis. He has co-edited the books The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (2008) and Soccer in the Middle East (forthcoming).
Time and Date: 2:30 PM, Monday, 11th June.
Location: Athlone Room (Room 102), Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.
All are welcome. For more information, please contact Dion Georgiou, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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