Terrains of Settler Nationhood

in Facts on the Ground

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2002 | ISBN: 9780226001944
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226002156 | DOI:
Terrains of Settler Nationhood

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Discrete material-cultural artifacts, ornamentations, and styles of architecture were interpreted as exemplars of Jewish artistic forms and achievements. They were invoked as emblems of continuity, signifiers of the lasting presence of Jewish communities, after the fall of the Second Temple, the final episode in what was considered to have been ancient Jewish national existence and sovereignty in their homeland. This effort of (arti)fact collecting configured a distinctive form of settler-colonial space. This chapter analyzes this work of Jewish archaeology by considering the relationship between the collection of “discrete particulars”—material-cultural and linguistic facts dispersed across the terrain—and the instantiation of a “spatial biography,” through which a cohesive, historical narrative for the land was given empirical and factual form. Fact collecting was essential to “colonizing the land at the level of meaning,” which prepared the ground for the enactment of colonial practices of a very particular sort.

Keywords: settler nationhood; material-cultural artifacts; Jewish communities; artifacts; settler-colonial space; colonial practice

Chapter.  10668 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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