Zionist Arabesques: Modern Landscapes, Non-Modern Texts

Zionist Arabesques: Modern Landscapes, Non-Modern Texts


Hadas Yaron

Series: Israel: Society, Culture, and History
ISBN: 9781934843789 (hardcover)
Pages: 228 pp.
Publication Date: August 2010

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Zionist Arabesques is an ethno-historical account of the landscape of the Jezreel Valley in Israel and explores how the modern landscape of the valley has been created, both physically and symbolically, from the perspective of both local and large-scale processes. It addresses not only the guiding principles of modern Israeli agriculture, its connection to Zionist settlement and ideology, and the evolvement of the Arab-Jewish conflict, but also examines the relevance of law, State policies and sector based politics, being a mixture of archival and ethnographic material composed with a unique textual structure. The book is useful for those interested in Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well in experimental writing styles.

Hadas Yaron (PhD Cambridge University, 2006) is a lecturer at the School of Society and Government at the Academic College Tel Aviv Yafo.

. . . a compelling, original and well written piece of scholarship, and also a work of real passion and subtlety. Zionist Arabesques focus(es) on the material, experienced reality of Zionism, its phenomenology in the Israeli/Palestinian landscape. Evil or bad intentions lose meaning and instead we focus on grids and trees, cows, borders, documents, narratives. In this way, the impact of Zionism gains a new meaning: a specific form of interaction of the modern and the non-modern (in the contradictory aspirations and worldviews of Zionist settlers between spatial geometry, markets and romanticism), meeting yet another form of interaction of the modern and non-modern (in the experience of the Palestine/Israeli landscape). As such, Zionist Arabesques should be of interest to a wide audience, including not only anthropologists but also historians, critical theorists and the general public interested in the fates of Zionism—or of modernism.
— Reviel Netz, Professor of Classics, Stanford University
A most subtle and penetrating ethnographic study of transformations in land, nature, and agriculture in Israel in light of the expropriation of Palestinian villages. A crucial, imaginatively researched contribution.
— Yael Navaro-Yashin, Senior Lecturer, University of Cambridge

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Field, the Ethnography and the Anthropologist

Chapter One: Conventional and Environmental Agriculture: The Modern, Anti-Modern and Non Modern Landscapes
Chapter Two: From Europe to the Middle East: Blossoming the Desert, Cultivating the Land of Israel
Chapter Three: The State as a Plot: Who Owns the Land, Who Plans the Landscape
Conclusions: Writing the Ethnographic Text: The Power of Words

Works Cited