Jil Oslo - Teacher's Guide

Jil Oslo: Palestinian Hip Hop, Youth Culture, and the Youth Movement
Teaching Guide

This book is intended for a general audience and for students at any level; it can be taught in introductory and advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses, and used in lectures or seminars. It will be of interest to those researching and taking courses on youth culture, popular culture in general, and music and hip hop in particular, social movements and activism, gender, media and visual culture, surveillance and militarism, urban studies, globalization, settler colonialism, and Palestine-Israel and Arab studies. The book could be taught in its entirety or specific chapters dealing with these various themes could be taught independently.

The book will equip students to think about the ways in which youth culture is a context to articulate political critique, and how cultural production is used in political mobilization through its analysis of the links between Palestinian hip hop and the youth movement. It will enable students interested in hip hop, music, and popular culture more generally to situate Palestinian hip hop and youth culture in a political and cultural context and as part of a larger regional and global development.

The book will also offer a unique perspective for students interested in Palestine-Israel and Arab studies to learn about Palestine and the Arab uprisings and would nicely complement texts in political science, history, anthropology, and cultural studies in courses on Palestine and Middle East studies. The chapters addressing the politics of gender and sexuality could be used in courses on feminism and queer studies. In addition, the introductory chapter and other sections could be integrated into courses on adolescence and youth subcultures and in cross-cultural perspectives on adolescent development in psychology and education.

In advanced seminars, the book will help explore questions of what politics looks like for a younger generation of Palestinians mobilizing against both Israeli occupation and colonialism and the repression and collusion of the Palestinian national leadership since the Oslo accords. It will also allow students interested in political theory to think about post-party political movements and autonomous left mobilization in the context of youth activism. The book would allow graduate students a different perspective on Palestine studies than the seminal texts that are usually taught in these courses, which are generally works from politics, history, anthropology, and literature. It could also generate a discussion about the relative absence of works on youth culture in Palestine studies and other gaps in the field, as well as questions of ethnography and interdisciplinary research methodology.

Possible Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is youth an important category to consider when considering political resistance? What are the themes associated with the generational concept of “youth”?
    (a) How does the author define youth? How is it generally defined in the United States in your experience?
    (b) What are the images of Palestinian and Arab youth that you are familiar with?
    (c) How were Arab youth generally represented in US media coverage of the Arab uprisings?
    (d) How does the discussion of youth culture in the book conform to or challenge some of the pervasive representations of Palestinian and Arab (and Muslim) youth?


  1. (a) Why were Palestinian youth drawn to hip hop, especially in Israel?
  2. (b) What similarities and differences do you see between Palestinian hip hop as discussed in the book and (progressive) hip hop in the United States?
  3. (c) What do you think of the concerns that Palestinian hip hop is culturally inauthentic or socially problematic? Do you hear similar views about hip hop in the United States?
  4. (d) Do you think Palestinian rap is an effective medium to share the experiences of Palestinian youth and conditions in Palestine with a larger audience? Why or why not?
  5. (e) How do issues of gender and sexuality play out in the hip hop subculture and how is it viewed by other Palestinians? Do you see any similarities with debates about gender/sexuality and hip hop in the United States?


  1. How did the Oslo accords shape the national paradigm for politics in Palestine?
    (a) What are the political and economic shifts that youth who have come of age since Oslo are grappling with and responding to in their protests?
    (b) What is the fundamental political vision of the youth movement as described in the book?
    (c) What kinds of tactics and approaches did the youth movement use for mobilization?
    (d) What national and regional political issues did the youth movement address?


  1. What is the significance of surveillance for the youth movement?
    (a) Do you think surveillance is a concern for young activists in the United States? What are the similarities and differences in dealing with surveillance for activists here and in Palestine?
    (b) What is the political climate for Palestinian students at Israeli universities? How do they organize in response to this?
    (c) How is Palestinian graffiti and media a form of counter-surveillance?
    (d) What are the gendered politics of surveillance? Do you see similar issues in protests and youth subcultures in the United States?

Suggested Media Resources

There are many media resources that could be used in conjunction with the book. It could be taught alongside a screening of films and videos such as:

Slingshot Hip Hop, dir. Jackie Salloum, 2008

Checkpoint Rock, dir. Fermin Murguraza, 2009

Saz, dir. Gil Karni, 2006

Targeted Citizen (Youtube video with DAM for Adalah)

Nafitha Hip Hop (Youtube video, dir. Suha Ayyash)

Videos produced by Youth Against the Settlements (http://www.youthagainstsettlements.org/)

Feature films such as The Time That Remains, dir. Elia Suleiman.

Album produced by ArteEast for Shahadat, 2012.


There are numerous music videos, interviews and online videos, blogs, and websites associated with political protests and with the Palestinian hip hop movement that are cited throughout the book, with URLs included in the notes.

In addition, students could be encouraged to do research online to find other materials that are relevant. Sites such as Jadaliyya, Electronic Intifada, and Mondoweiss have published several articles related to the youth movement, Palestinian hip hop, and ongoing youth protests.





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