GIR Colloquium Series | Citizenship as Gesture

11 October, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm


Citizenship is epistemologically understood to be an institution that is intrinsic to the fulfilment of political membership and subjectivity in the modern nation state, including the settler colonial state. Citizenship, in settler colonial context, however is neither natural nor neutral. It is deeply imbricated in the settler’s pursuit of racial privilege and in colonial histories of genocide, ethnic cleansing, assimilation and dispossession. Drawing on original archival research, this paper traces the making of the Israeli citizenship regime and considers the ways in which the question of citizenship was intimately tied to considerations of territory, population management, sovereignty, and processes of subjectivation. It shows that the extension of Israeli citizenship to the Palestinians who remained in the newly established state was considered and referred to by the government and the judiciary as an act of gesture. The notion of gesture was foregrounded in the legal racial demarcation between Palestinians (who were required to be naturalised) and Jewish settlers (viewed as natural and authentic subjects of citizenship). Citizenship thus functioned as a legal embodiment of settler indigenisation and native de-indigenisation processes, and as an infrastructure that shapes, to this day, Palestinian structural inferiority and vulnerability in the Jewish state.


About the Speaker

Dr Lana Tatour completed her PhD at the University of Warwick in the UK. She is currently a Sessional Lecturer at the School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales. She was previously a Fellow at the Australian Human Rights Centre, the Palestinian-American Research Centre, and the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Location: Room 441 Social Sciences Building, A02, University of Sydney