Photo Credit: screenshot
Jasbir Puar, author of ‘The Right to Maim’

Welcome to Princeton University’s course titled, “The Healing Humanities: Decolonizing Trauma Studies from the Global South,” taught by Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies Satyel Larson.

To start, Chaim Smierc tweeted last week: “Blood libels about Israel at Princeton? Princeton University has decided to open a course this upcoming fall, by the name of ‘The Healing Humanities: Decolonizing Trauma Studies from the Global South.’ The class, taught by Professor Satyel Larson, will include a book in its reading list called ‘The Right to Maim.’ This book accuses Israel and the IDF of ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘mining Palestinian children’s organs for scientific research.’ Are these blood libels really going to be taught at such an esteemed academic institution?”


So, I checked out the course description, which includes Jasbir K. Puar’s truly vile book. Here goes:

The course “introduces the transdisciplinary field of trauma studies by examining visions of humanity from the Global South that prioritize alternative narratives and paradigms of healing individual and collective trauma. Re-orienting healing as a decolonizing process enables students to re-politicize personal trauma as it intersects with global legacies of violence, war, racism, slavery, patriarchy, colonialism, orientalism, homophobia, ableism, capitalism, and extractivism (the removal of large quantities of raw or natural materials, particularly for export with minimal processing – DI). The course participates in a new project to help illuminate how the humanities itself can offer new paths to understanding trauma and healing.”

Or, if you will, in this course, healing is seen as a process of politicizing personal trauma as part of the atrocities of the Man.

“The Right to Maim” makes it all very clear. First, because it dares to point the finger at the Jews as being responsible for a global policy of directed maiming for fun and profit – because, you know, Jews have been getting away with this for too long.

The Right to Maim / Book cover screenshot

Here’s the book’s intro from Duke University Press, another beacon of progressive wisdom:

“In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of ‘debility’—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical beings by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.”

Chapter 3, “Disabled Diaspora, Rehabilitating State: The Queer Politics of Reproduction in Palestine/Israel,” p. 107, deals with “pinkwashing,” Puar’s accusation of Israel’s use of gay rights propaganda to detract attention from its treatment of PA Arabs. “The focus on inclusivity,” according to her, “is limited to cisgender and gender conformity, and stands beside gender segregation in Orthodox Jewish communities. In establishing Israel as a rehabilitative act (rehabilitating the debilitations of statelessness and genocide), the model Jewish body was decidedly nondisabled, masculine, and heterosexual. Rehabilitation banished the ‘Oriental’ in the European Jew, recreated Europe in Palestine, and conceptually separated the Jew from the Arab. The fear of maiming then becomes ‘a spectacular imperial tool, projecting the fear of maiming by Palestinians onto Palestinians through the debilitating effects of the occupation; this mechanism is the displacement necessary to secure able-bodied citizenry of Israel.’”

Finally, I urge you to read the account of Alexandra Ahdoot, a Persian Jew who studied at Duke University, titled, “Battling anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism at Duke University.” Trust me, it will explain a lot.


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