Settler Colonialism’s Enduring Entanglements

 

The spring 2022 issue of Middle East Report, “Settler Colonialism’s Enduring Entanglements,” brings together a wide range of geographic and disciplinary perspectives on settler colonialism from the Middle East, North Africa and the metropole. While there is a rich literature about the two most well-known instances of settler colonialism in the region, French Algeria and Israel and Palestine, these cases have been surprisingly peripheral to the field of settler colonial studies as well as to broader definitions of settler colonialism and understandings of how its legacies shape politics and social life today. With the goal of expanding the geographic scope of analysis, we explore these and other, lesser-known sites of settler colonialism in the region. We recognize from the outset that settler colonialism is an inherently messy thing to pin down. It is both a process and a concept. In practice, settler colonialism often operates in conjunction with other processes that can effectively mask it, such as nationalism, Indigeneity and sovereignty, to name a few. Authors in this issue also examine the contested meanings and understandings of decolonization in different contexts. We seek to pull apart some of these entanglements and to illuminate the long past of settler colonialism in the Middle East, the ways it shapes the present and continues into the future.

 

Issue Editors: Mona Atia, Graham Cornwell and Muriam Haleh Davis with Guest Editor Shira Robinson

 

 

CURRENT ANALYSIS

Genocide, Historical Amnesia and Italian Settler Colonialism in Libya—An Interview with Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

Genocide, Historical Amnesia and Italian Settler Colonialism in Libya—An Interview with Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

In the late 1920s, the Italian fascist regime implemented a campaign of ethnic cleansing in eastern Libya to create more land for Italian settlers and quell armed resistance to colonization. Ali Abdullatif Ahmida’s new book, Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History, examines this forgotten case of settler-colonial violence. Jacob Mundy talks to Ahmida about the genocide, the kind of research methods he had to develop to uncover this history and its present-day relevance.

Settler Entanglements from Citrus Production to Historical Memory

Settler Entanglements from Citrus Production to Historical Memory

Although settler colonies are often depicted as unique and distinctive, Muriam Haleh Davis argues that analyzing settler colonialism in a global framework reveals their multiple commonalities. Here she examines the large-scale production of citrus in Algeria, Israel and California as one fascinating example of the myriad links—both economic and ideological—that bound different settler-colonial projects. Davis also explores the serious ramifications for historical memory and contemporary politics of viewing these projects as exceptional.

France, a Settler Postcolony?

France, a Settler Postcolony?

With the French presidential election currently underway, Olivia C. Harrison’s timely intervention explains the central role that the history and memory of French Algeria continue to play in the country’s politics, culture and society. She shows how the perverse calls by nativist and right-wing groups for the “decolonization of France” and the repatriation of immigrants have been shaped by the experience of settler colonialism and the Algerian War of Independence, with repercussions that go beyond France.

The Challenges of Palestinian Solidarity in Amman’s Street Art Scene

The Challenges of Palestinian Solidarity in Amman’s Street Art Scene

In the summer of 2021, street artists in Amman risked crossing the Jordanian government’s red lines when they painted murals and graffiti expressing solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Kyle Craig spoke with the artists about this unexpected shift in their public art practices and the sometimes contradictory responses of state officials. He examines the entanglements and power dynamics between artists, the government and institutional art patrons revealed by this unusual moment.

FEATURED PRIMER

One of MERIP’s signature issues over the years has been the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict—partly because of its intrinsic interest but largely because so much myth and cant clouds the mainstream media coverage of this subject that independent analysis is particularly necessary. This primer by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar is a good place to start in understanding what is at stake as events unfold.
(Photo of Israeli separation barrier by Alfonso Moral.)

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