Thank you for this for this unique experience that I will always remember

Edward Saïd Study Week, 2013

Participating in the conference was a wonderful experience in which I learned a great deal.

On the first Friday the entire group got together and we had lectures by Rosi Bradiotti and Sandra Pontanezi. We had a lecture and discussion about Edward Said, in which I learned more about Said, humanism and post-humanism than I had yet in the three years of my bachelor. I was already familiar with Said’s work on Orientalism, but much less with his further ideas and life. I really enjoyed this small scale and open form of lecture, which also gave room to get to know the different members of the group. Therefore I think it was a very valuable start of the study week. Also the fact that we had this meeting before the weekend gave everyone the chance to meet and get to know each other, as we all spend time together in the weekend. The lunch on Saturday was a wonderful initiative and I really enjoyed the hospitality of the Rabbani foundation and the conversations with the people that I met here.

The most valuable part of the Study Week for me were the contacts that I made and the conversations I had with the Palestinian students. As a student of anthropology of the Middle East I have learned quite a lot about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it is not often that as a Dutch student I meet someone who from this area, especially a group of young scholars. Meeting these Palestinian students who are also devoted and motivated to think critically about the Palestinian situation and who therefore have, to me, very new and inspiring ideas about it. I was also deeply touched when I saw and came to realize during this week what it meant to the Palestinian students to meet each other, as Palestinians from such different backgrounds who are not normally able to reach or get into contact with each other. This was a unique chance and learning experience that I got from the Edward Said Study Week. Of course it was not just the intellectual aspect, but also the friendships that I made with many people of the group.

The conference itself I also really enjoyed. Many of the speakers were people that I had read for university and that made it easier to follow and helped me to get deeper into this material again. I encountered many new and inspiring ideas and ways of looking. I really enjoyed Lila Abu-Lughods lecture, as she is a scholar that I look up to a lot. But also the lectures of Spivak, Butler and Nixon really stuck with me and inspired me. Also I became motivated to read the literature of other writers that were frequently mentioned, like Arendt and Derrida, which have helped me afterwards academically. As I was writing my thesis at the time of the conference, I became greatly inspired by the atmosphere and environment of motivated academics that were thinking critically. I remember that I came home on one of the nights after the conference and sat behind my laptop and the words just started flowing, I wrote until late at night.

I wish to close of with a word of thanks. I have met many wonderful people and have learned a lot during the Edward Said Conference and Study Week. Thank you for this for this unique experience that I will always remember.

Esther Schoorel