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Edward Said Memorial Lecture: On “Perfect Victims” and the Politics of Appeal

Mohammed El-Kurd, writer and poet

February 8, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:30 pm · 10 McCosh

Edward W. Said '57 Memorial Lecture Fund; Princeton Committee on Palestine; Department of English

Palestinians dead and alive have been increasingly visible in Anglophone media—but not everyone can get the mic. For them to make noise, dead Palestinians need to have been ethnocentrically “exceptional” or have had to endure an exceptionally violent death. And those who are alive need to fit the “perfect victim” prerequisite: docile, defanged, and preferably with an American accent. In this lecture, Mohammed El-Kurd investigates this phenomenon, asking a question once posed by Edward Said: who has the permission to narrate? And, more importantly, why should Palestinians seek such permissions in the first place?

This event is sponsored by the Edward W. Said ’57 Memorial Lecture Fund, the Princeton Committee on Palestine, and the Department of English.

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