This article analyzes the Arabic toponymy of Palestine, based on folk tales and memories of Palestinians living in Israel. The discussion is interpretative and has a dual purpose. First, it aims to shed light on class and gender power relations and the issue of the village's image. Second, it examines the differential relation of Palestinian society to the landscape, as reflected in names of places versus natural features. The starting point is the assumption that toponymy is the result of two parallel processes: names articulate reality and identity, but at the same time, they are also profoundly influenced by the approach of the naming culture to its space. The reading of Palestinian names is a tactic that gives space to popular and peripheral knowledge categories, exposing the limitations of toponymical research in Israel that has tended to focus on the names recently imposed top-down by Zionism, to the neglect of Palestinian spatial constructions. Finally, it empowers the indigenous population by giving voice to their perception of space. The names evoking this perception testify to the ideological and cultural uses of place names, as opposed to the names of natural features used by Palestinian society. The system for naming was a complex system of spatial distinctions and classifications that privileged hegemonic class and gender values by marginalizing feminine or lower-class images.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 95-120
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.