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Colonial Jerusalem

The Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference in a City of Myth, 1948-2012

by Thomas Philip Abowd

Publication Year: 2014

In one of the few anthropological works focusing on a contemporary Middle Eastern city, Colonial Jerusalem explores a vibrant urban center at the core of the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This book shows how colonialism, far from being simply a fixture of the past as is often suggested, remains a crucial component of Palestinian and Israeli realities today. Abowd deftly illuminates everyday life under Israel’s long military occupation as it is defined by processes and conditions of “apartness” and separation as Palestinians are increasingly regulated and controlled. Abowd examines how both national communities are progressively divided by walls, checkpoints, and separate road networks in one of the most segregated cities in the world. Drawing upon recent theories on racial politics, colonialism, and urban spatial dynamics, Colonial Jerusalem analyzes the politics of myth, history, and memory across an urban landscape integral to the national cosmologies of both Palestinians and Israelis and meaningful to all communities.

Published by: Syracuse University Press

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication, About the Author, Quote

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Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xv

This book was inspired by many friends, mentors, colleagues, and teachers in the United States and Palestine/Israel. First, let me thank those in Jerusalem and throughout Palestine/Israel who made this project possible through their generosity, hospitality, and solidarity. Some of them must...

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1. Jerusalem, a Colonial City under Construction

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pp. 1-32

In 2004, in a festive ceremony, Israeli authorities broke ground on the Museum of Tolerance (MOTJ) in Jerusalem. The $100-million initiative is sponsored by the Los Angeles–based Simon Wiesenthal Center and is supported by funds raised internationally. This enormous cultural project...

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2. Diverse Absences

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pp. 33-74

Salma remembers the day the Zionist underground bombed Jerusalem’s King David Hotel in the summer of 1946. From the front steps of her family’s home in the then Palestinian neighborhood of Talbieh, she and her cousin observed the explosion across British colonial Jerusalem’s

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3. Myths, Memorials, and Monuments in the Jerusalem of Israel's Imagination

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pp. 75-109

Jerusalem is a place where space, memory, and historical invention have intersected in formidable ways over several centuries. Indeed, this most symbolic of cities has, in crucial respects, come into existence through the discourses, memories, and myths that describe it. Today, both Palestinians...

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4. Arabs Out of Place

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pp. 110-144

Every year in Jerusalem since the advent of Israel’s military occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, the Jewish state has organized festive national rituals that celebrate the city’s “liberation” and “reunification.” When the occasion takes the form of a parade, as it does each spring on Jerusalem Day...

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5. National Boundaries, Colonized Spaces

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pp. 145-179

In the early hours of May 4, 1998, the night marking the fiftieth anniversary of Israel’s establishment, a bomb was detonated in Musrara, a West Jerusalem neighborhood comprised overwhelmingly of Israeli Jews. Homemade explosives in a shopping bag were stealthily placed outside the...

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6. Appropriate Places

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pp. 180-220

In Nadine Gordimer’s novella Something Out There, a mysterious scourge terrorizes the white South African suburbs of Johannesburg. Residents live in fear as a spate of sightings of a nebulous creature are reported across apartheid’s landscape of disquiet. The “security services” are marshaled to...

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7. Up from the Ruins?

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pp. 221-254

While walking the contemporary urban landscape of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, from realms poor to privileged, I would occasionally come across peculiar mounds of ruin. These piles of crushed concrete, broken bricks, and twisted iron were usually the remains of hundreds of...

Works Cited

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pp. 255-272

Index

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pp. 273-287

About the Authors, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815652618
E-ISBN-10: 0815652615
Print-ISBN-13: 9780815633488
Print-ISBN-10: 0815633483

Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
Publication Year: 2014

Series Title: Contemporary Issues in the Middle East
Series Editor Byline: N/A

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Jerusalem -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jerusalem -- History -- 21st century.
  • Jerusalem -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jerusalem -- Ethnic relations -- History -- 21st century.
  • Jerusalem -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • Jerusalem -- Politics and government -- 21st century.
  • Palestinian Arabs -- Jerusalem -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Palestinian Arabs -- Jerusalem -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
  • Jews -- Jerusalem -- History -- 20th century.
  • Jews -- Jerusalem -- History -- 21st century.
  • Arab-Israeli conflict -- Jerusalem -- Influence.
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