Diana K. Allan

Grant Type

Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Institutional Affiliation

McGill U.

Grant number

Gr. 9717

Approve Date

October 10, 2018

Project Title

Allan, Dr. Diana K., McGill U., Montreal, Canada - To aid filmmaking on 'Partition' - Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship

Preliminary abstract: Partition’ is a lyrical meditation on the Nakba, employing dialectical montage and non-diegetic sound to deconstruct and reconstruct cultural memory, archival authority and colonial history. A feature-length found-footage film, it draws on multiple archives: interwar footage from British and Israeli colonial archives, including reports, newsreels, recruitment films, travelogues, and propaganda, produced between 1917 and 1948; and for the palimpsestic audio track, narrative fragments, songs, poetry, and ambient soundscapes from the refugee camps of Lebanon, recorded by the Nakba Archive between 2002 and the present. Partition brings these temporally disjunctive archives into sensory synthesis and dialectical tension, engaging colonial pasts through a radically unstable refugee present. ‘The Nakba isn’t over,’ I’ve been told many times in almost 20 years of field work. For refugees in camps across the Middle East, 1948 is a synecdoche for ruptures and dislocations that began before that year, under the British, and gathered force after it, both through Israeli colonial rule in the territories and dispossession by other actors outside them. (Recent displacements of Palestinians from Syria are the latest chapter in that history.) As remembered, lived and anticipated, the Nakba is a process rather than an event. It is a way of knowing formed in opposition to erasure, an orientation to the future as well as the past. Partition is an attempt both formally and thematically to enact–and reflect on–these lived rhythms of dislocation and reintegration. It marks the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, and in a time of ‘archive fever,’ weighs the role of history in social life and ethnographic work, and that of archives in the construction of truth, power, and memory.