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The Palestinian Right of Return has been discussed and debated by academics and activists alike for decades. Although a great deal of work has concentrated on the ethical implications of the Right to Return, this conference seeks to move forward and grapple with the practical implications of the Right’s fulfillment. What will Palestine look like once the Right of Return has been fulfilled? How will the Right of Return shape the future of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, and what kind of reality will emerge within a state that witnesses the Return take place?
In bringing together scholars and activists, the Right of Return conference happening at Boston University, April 6-7, hopes to create a space where we shift from the realm of the abstract and instead address the reality of mitigating and correcting the plight of the Palestinian refugees and the diaspora. Recognizing the historical and contemporary suffering of the Palestinian refugees and the deplorable and oppressive conditions which they face today across the Middle East, the conference committee is motivated by a sense of urgency to further the work of envisioning, imagining, and planning the reality of Return.
The Conference wishes to highlight Right of Return discourses as they exist across the plurality of Palestinian communities around the world, including those in Palestine, the Middle East, and further afield in the diaspora with an eye towards shifting the discourse around Palestine in the US Academy and expanding the discourse about the Right of Return within the United States more broadly. We do not take a position on the issue of one- or two-state solution, but instead seek to open the floor to a multiplicity of visions that may themselves occur within different potential political orders.
Within the frame of this conference, we hope to put forth a vision for an inclusive Palestinian future that centers marginalized Palestinian voices. While asserting the inalienable right of Palestinians to return to and live in their homeland, we also principally affirm the right of Israelis to live in Palestine as well. The Right of Return Conference seeks to be inclusive of all voices implied in the context of a post-Return Palestine.
Registration for the conference will begin on February 1st.