RAMALLAH, Oct. 8 (JMCC) - Columbia University, one of the leading institutions of higher education in the United States, inaugurated the Center for Palestine Studies on Thursday.
The first of its kind in the US, the institution will focus on all aspects of Palestine and the Palestinian people, including courses on history, society, archaeology and politics.
The center, which will run out of the University’s Middle East Institute in Knox Hall, was created by a group of faculty with the goal of promoting and advancing Palestine studies in a wide range of subjects, from politics to the arts.
“Columbia has one of the most distinguished faculty of people that work on Palestine studies, and it was some sort of a logical outgrowth of that community,” Brinkley Messick, co-director of the Center for Palestine Studies, said.
The Middle East Institute is over 50 years old on campus, but this center is the first of its kind.
The center was also created in honor of former professor Edward Said, who taught at Columbia for 40 years before his death in 2003 and is widely known for his book “Orientalism.”
“He was one of the most prominent scholars of the late 20th century in literary criticism and public intellect, and one of his main interests was the question of Palestine,” Messick said. “He drew people to the University in his day, and that legacy is still alive, and that too fed into the realization that there was a very substantial community of scholars here that could well benefit from and contribute to a new center.”
The goals of the center, which has been in discussion since late 2009, focus on the promotion of scholarship in Palestinian history, culture, arts, and literary studies. “One of the missions of the center is to inform people about the Palestinians in an academic setting,” said Bashir Abu-Manneh, an English professor at Barnard.
The official launch on Thursday attracted a full lecture hall of students, professors, and even some guests from outside of Columbia....
Read more at the Columbia Spectator