New Book: Natanel, Sustaining Conflict

Natanel, Katherine. Sustaining Conflict. Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine. Oakland: University of California Press, 2016.




Sustaining Conflict develops a groundbreaking theory of political apathy, using a combination of ethnographic material, narrative, and political, cultural, and feminist theory. It examines how the status quo is maintained in Israel-Palestine, even by the activities of Jewish Israelis who are working against the occupation of Palestinian territories. The book shows how hierarchies and fault lines in Israeli politics lead to fragmentation, and how even oppositional power becomes routine over time. Most importantly, the book exposes how the occupation is sustained through a carefully crafted system that allows sympathetic Israelis to “knowingly not know,” further disconnecting them from the plight of Palestinians. While focusing on Israel, this is a book that has lessons for how any authoritarian regime is sustained through apathy.


Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Introduction
    • 1 The Everyday of Occupation
    • 2 Bordered Communities
    • 3 Normalcy, Ruptured and Repaired
    • 4 Embedded (In)action
    • 5 Protesting Politics
    • Conclusion
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Index


KATHERINE NATANEL is a Lecturer in Gender Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

New Article: Natanel, Militarisation and the Micro-Geographies of Violence in Israel–Palestine

Natanel, Katherine. “Border Collapse and Boundary Maintenance: Militarisation and the Micro-Geographies of Violence in Israel–Palestine.” Gender, Place & Culture (early view; online first).


Drawing upon subaltern geopolitics and feminist geography, this article explores how militarisation shapes micro-geographies of violence and occupation in Israel–Palestine. While accounts of spectacular and large-scale political violence dominate popular imaginaries and academic analyses in/of the region, a shift to the micro-scale foregrounds the relationship between power, politics and space at the level of everyday life. In the context of Israel–Palestine, micro-geographies have revealed dynamic strategies for ‘getting by’ or ‘dealing with’ the occupation, as practiced by Palestinian populations in the face of spatialised violence. However, this article considers how Jewish Israelis actively shape the spatial micro-politics of power within and along the borders of the Israeli state. Based on 12 months of ethnographic research in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem during 2010–2011, an analysis of everyday narratives illustrates how relations of violence, occupation and domination rely upon gendered dynamics of border collapse and boundary maintenance. Here, the borders between home front and battlefield break down at the same time as communal boundaries are reproduced, generating conditions of ‘total militarism’ wherein military interests and agendas are both actively and passively diffused. Through gendering the militarised micro-geographies of violence among Jewish Israelis, this article reveals how individuals construct, navigate and regulate the everyday spaces of occupation, detailing more precisely how macro political power endures.




New Article: Weisman, The Courage for the Mundane; on Leah Goldberg’s Paradigmatic Temperament

Weisman, Anat. “After All of This, I Will Have to Muster All of My ‘Courage for the Mundane’: On Leah Goldberg’s Paradigmatic Temperament.” Prooftexts 33, no. 2 (2014): 222-50.



“The courage for the mundane” became idiomatic in research on Leah Goldberg, a kind of code phrase capturing her singularity among the poets of her generation. The essay “The Courage for the Mundane” (1938) is a potential guide, confessional and theoretical, into the poet’s world, a key to examine her poetic positions. This essay scrutinizes the ways the notion stands in relation to the historical and biographical conditions of its conception and reflects her psychological, ideological, philosophical, aesthetic, and cultural paradigms.

The mundane versus the exalted, the particular versus the universal, Realism versus Romanticism, nationalism versus humanism, the European homeland and the homeland in Palestine/Eretz Israel, the German spirit as opposed to its Jewish counterpart—these are some of the antithetical categories for which Leah Goldberg, against all odds, seeks to find a synthetic, pre-structural redemption.

I argue that “the courage for the mundane” reflects an experience of inherent non-resolution and a necessary, constant, and painful condition of dialectical oscillation. Many questions concerning the poet’s aesthetical and ideological views, as well as her special place in Hebrew culture, are likely to find a fuller answer by means of an in-depth understanding of this concept: the preference for a position that brings together the paragon of totality with a commitment to the ordinary, even if this involves a shade of self-deception.