In her research, Emma Nyhan starts with the question, “how did the Bedouin Arab communities of the Negev desert become ‘Indigenous’ (as opposed to Palestinian, Arab Israeli, minority or other available categories)?”
Emma has through extensive field work traced the networks and alliances of academics, Bedouin personalities, rights activists and international agencies that have ‘translated’ the international legal concept of Indigenous Peoples into the national and sub-national politics of conflicts over land and belonging in Israel. The translation abounds with contradictions and frictions and diverging claims about justice and injustice that seek to recast the conflict as one properly understood as about priority of presence in time.
The attempts to claim, legalize and defend the Bedouin as an indigenous Peoples have been vigorously contested and has engendered a complicated discourse of identity among the Bedouin. Emma’s field work in the Bedouin communities - which she knows well due to her previous work with an NGO which advocated for Bedouin land rights - allows her to explore these tensions and complications, another facet of the frictions and unstable identities and subjectivities created by translation of the global to the local.
About the Speaker
Dr Emma Nyhan is a research fellow on the ARC-funded project ‘The Potential and Limits of International Adjudication: The International Court of Justice and Australia’ led by Professor Hilary Charlesworth and Associate Professor Margaret Young. Emma assists with research on legal issues in topic areas such as the role of international adjudication, the background to Australian litigation before the ICJ, and the impact of the cases in which Australia has been involved. She also assists with the administration of the project.
Emma recently received a PhD from the European University Institute, Italy. Her doctoral dissertation, ‘Indigeneity, Law and Terrain: The Bedouin Citizens of Israel’, explored the ways in which the international concept of indigenous peoples came to be applied to the Bedouin in Israel. Her research pursues a socio-legal agenda and employs legal, historical and anthropological methodologies. Her doctoral studies were supported by awards from the Socio-Legal Studies Association and the Council for British Research in the Levant.
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Image credit: Emma Nyhan