Nawal is Term Lecturer in the School of Communication, as well as a Research Assistant with the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciples (ISTLD), at Simon Fraser University.
Her SSHRC funded doctoral dissertation, Willing the Impossible: Reconciling the Holocaust and the Nakba Through Photograph-based Storytelling, explored how contending master narratives and collective memories of the Holocaust and the Nakba, which have created and continue to sustain the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, can be challenged, complicated, and disrupted when Palestinians and Israelis story and exchange their own counter-narratives and counter-memories of these tragedies through family photographs. To facilitate this process, she developed a unique photograph-based storytelling method, which enabled Palestinians and Israelis to first narrate and then exchange stories of how the Holocaust and/or the Nakba have impacted their lives. As her dissertation demonstrates, storytelling and photography enable the occasions and conditions of possibility necessary for Palestinians and Israelis to connect rather than compare their histories of suffering and exile, take moral, ethical, and political responsibility for one another, and imagine a new form of cohabitation grounded in justice and equitable rights for all.
Nawal plans to publish her disseration as a book, the release of which will be accompanied by the launch of a community-based, collaborative, and globally accessible digital Holocaust and Nakba postmemory archive that showcases her participants’ stories, associated photographs, and reflective responses, plus invites Palestinians and Israelis living in the region and/or diaspora to share their own stories, photographs, and responses to one other.