Appel à communications : International Research Workshop “The Settlements in the West Bank (1967-2014): New Perspectives”, Minerva Humanities Center, Tel Aviv (Israël), 29-30/06/2014 — LIMITE : 01/02/2014

Jewish settlements are one of the most controversial issues in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Still, academic production and media attention on the topic focuses almost entirely on the radical, national-religious components of the settlers’ population; on the connection between the settlement enterprise and the religious-ethno-national territorial imperative of the “conquest of the land”; on the status of settlements within the framework of international law; on the role of the settlements as “obstacles to peace”; and as an issue of political campaigning (both inside and outside Israel).
The rationale for organizing this research workshop is to explore less conventional approaches and angles that go beyond the immediate politico-diplomatic dynamics and impact of Israel’s settlement policy. The underlying assumption is that the settlements’ enterprise is not an exceptional phenomenon contradictory to other trends in Israeli society, but is a historical process that was shaped by and related to other long-term processes.
We feel that a more comprehensive approach is needed in order to understand how the transformation of the landscape determined by the expansion of settlements created new – albeit not necessarily fair – patterns of relations amongst the resident population of Israel/Palestine. At the same time, a more holistic approach to the settlement issue can open up spaces for comparative analysis and theory building beyond the specific reality of Israel/Palestine.
The workshop invites contributions focusing on (although not necessarily limited to) four thematic axis:
  • The identity of settlers. While the large part of academic contribution on the subject dealt so far with the (political) culture and identity of the ideological settlers’ movement, we are interested in shifting the focus on other groups of Israelis living beyond the Green Line and other sociopolitical and economic dynamics, including but not limited to issues such as: personal and collective histories and different class and ethnic backgrounds, dynamics of place attachment, inter and intra-communal relations.
  • The spatiality of settlements. While the existing scholarship overwhelmingly focuses on the diplomatic, legal and humanitarian impact of the establishment of the settlements, we will try to understand how the transformation of the landscape it entails created a new set of boundaries (gated communities, separate roads, security fences and checkpoints, jurisdictional and administrative lines) and interfaces (physical proximity, neighborhood and economic relations, patterns of commuting, employment centers, etc.) that at the same time segregate and connect the various territorial and human components of the metropolitan fabric.
  • The political economy of settlements. The prevailing discourse sees settlement policy as part of a political “plan”, executed by the Israeli state and the settlers’ movement following an ethno-national territorial imperative of the “conquest of the land”. Our focus seeks to adopt a more contextualized approach, which will allow understanding the expansion of the settlements not as an exceptional phenomenon contradictory to other trends in Israeli society, but as a historical process that was shaped and influenced by broader and long-term changes of Israel’s political-economy such as privatization, deindustrialization and government retrenchment.
  • Settlements in comparative perspective. Much of the discourse about Israel/Palestine stresses the unique history of the region and the exceptional features of the conflict that developed there; at the same time, and despite the diffusion of the concept of “settlers society”, comparative research that explicitly focuses on the development of settlements remains scarce. The workshop aims therefore at locating the development of settlement policy in a broader comparative perspective – and especially, albeit not exclusively, along the three thematic dimensions already outlined.
Abstracts and papers submission
Abstracts (in English, max 500 words) and a brief biographic note of the author(s) (English, max 200 words) should be sent to: .
Participation to the workshop entails the delivery of a full paper (in English) no later than May 1st, 2014, in order to facilitate the discussants’ work and ease the publication plans
Key Dates
Submission of abstracts: February 1st, 2014
Communication of acceptance of the proposal: before February 15th, 2014
Deadline for the submission of full papers: May 1st, 2014
Travel grants
At this stage we cannot guarantee the payment of travel and accommodation expenses, so we are asking the participants to consider covering these expenses with autonomous funds; however, we are working to secure funds to provide a certain number of travel and accommodation grants.

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