Research on Palestine is a seminar series hosted by the Institute for Palestine Studies in Beirut. It is geared towards up-and-coming researchers, but the series will discuss any new research in Palestinian Studies. It gives researchers the opportunity to reflect on the story behind their projects as well as their research findings. The speaker will address issues related to how to effectively address a Western, particularly American, audience by first studying the audience and assessing their knowledge, including audience segmentation. Second, the speaker will share case studies and some success/failure stories from her experience connected to making her documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe. Third, the speaker will engage in a conversation with the audience about their perceptions of an average American audience, its knowledge of the Palestinian struggle, and the shifting tide in the US mainstream media.
The seminar series “Research on Palestine” hosted Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb who discussed how to address an American audience through the Nakba narrative. She recounted her personal experience in producing and directing a documentary film about the 1948 Nakba. Muhtaseb spoke about her academic involvement in the Palestinian refugee question since her enrolment in Bir Zeit University in the West Bank and then her transfer to the United States under a Fullbright scholarship which led her to visit Lebanon and Syria in 2006. This visit then convinced her of the need to produce a documentary film about the Nakba along with her colleague Andy Trimlett. Muhtaseb described the conditions and challenges they faced while making the film as well as its reception by the American public. Finally she engaged in a discussion with the seminar participants.
Dr. Ahlam Muhtaseb is a professor of media studies and the director of the Center for Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies at California State University, San Bernardino. Her research interests include digital communication, social media, and diasporic communities. Her most recent project is her award-wining documentary 1948: Creation & Catastrophe. The film, co-produced and co-directed with Andy Trimlett, focuses on the year 1948 and its catastrophic consequences on the Palestinian nation which has originated from her field work in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. She won the 2019 Rebuilding Alliance “Story Teller” Award.