Conference: AJS Program Book now online (Boston, Dec 13-15, 2015)

The 47th Annual Conference of the Association for Jewish Studies will take place in Boston, December 13-15, 2015.

The full program is now available on the AJS website:

You may also download the program here: PDF



New Book: Kotef, Movement and the Ordering of Freedom

Kotef, Hagar. Movement and the Ordering of Freedom: On Liberal Governances of Mobility. Durham: Duke University Press, 2015.



We live within political systems that increasingly seek to control movement, organized around both the desire and ability to determine who is permitted to enter what sorts of spaces, from gated communities to nation-states. In Movement and the Ordering of Freedom, Hagar Kotef examines the roles of mobility and immobility in the history of political thought and the structuring of political spaces. Ranging from the writings of Locke, Hobbes, and Mill to the sophisticated technologies of control that circumscribe the lives of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank, this book shows how concepts of freedom, security, and violence take form and find justification via “regimes of movement.” Kotef traces contemporary structures of global (im)mobility and resistance to the schism in liberal political theory, which embodied the idea of “liberty” in movement while simultaneously regulating mobility according to a racial, classed, and gendered matrix of exclusions.


Table of Contents


    • Introduction
    • 1. Between Imaginary Lines: Violence and Its Justifications at the Military Checkpoints in Occupied Palestine / Hagar Kotef and Merav Amir
    • 2. An Interlude: A Tale of Two Roads—On Freedom and Movement
    • 3. The Fence That “Ill Deserves the Name of Confinement”: Locomotion and the Liberal Body
    • 4. The Problem of “Excessive” Movement
    • 5. The “Substance and Meaning of All Things Political”: On Other Bodies
    • Conclusion



HAGAR KOTEF is based at the Minerva Humanities Center at Tel Aviv University.



New Article: Hananel, Rethinking Israel’s National Land Policy

Hananel, Ravit. “The Land Narrative: Rethinking Israel’s National Land Policy.” Land Use Policy 45 (2015): 128-40.





The land narrative tells the unique story of Israel’s national land policy. Its historical and ideological roots are in the early 1900s, when the Zionist movement and the Jewish National Fund were founded, but it continues to influence spatial policy and land allocation in Israel today. The land narrative is based on the distinction between the urban sector and the rural-agricultural sector and on the clear preference—at least at the ideological level—for the rural-agricultural sector. However, despite the decision-makers’ clear preference for the members of the cooperative and communal rural sector, over time the urban residents’ have received more land rights de facto. This study provides an explanation of this dissonance by exploring the land narrative, examines its broad implications for Israeli society, and discusses its future implications.

New Article: Maher, Journeys into the Western Galilee, in Khouri and Yehoshua

Maher, John. “Blue, Half-Forgotten Hills: Journeys into the Western Galilee, in Ilyas Khouri’s Gate of the Sun and A.B. Yehoshua’s The Liberated Bride.” Comparative Critical Studies 10, supplement (2013): 107-121.



At the end of the day, Rivlin will come no closer to finding the so-called ‘secret’ of the Algerian civil war than he will to finding the ‘secret’ of his son’s failed marriage, a tale, literally and metaphorically, of subterranean incest which mirrors his own ignorance of the lives of the minority in Haifa and Acre and Jerusalem and the Galilee. As with Naim, the young Palestinian boy in The Lover, the servant always know more about the master than the master knows about the servant.

Cite: Peleg, Language and Territory in Modern Hebrew Literature

Peleg, Yaron. “Writing the Land: Language and Territory in Modern Hebrew Literature.” Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 12.2 (2013): 297-312.





This essay examines one of the greatest ambitions of the Hebrew cultural revival––the creation of a modern and distinct Hebrew national culture by rewinding history and reconnecting the indeterminate Jewish subject to a determinate Hebrew soil. The essay looks at three writers from three distinct periods in the last century, S. Yizhar, Amos Oz and Orly Castel-Bloom, whose works are deeply concerned with this connection between man and land, and who demonstrate that concern through a particular use of language. The essay shows how each of these writers uses the Hebrew language to comment on these relations in the last 50 or so years and tell us something about the state of Israeli Hebrew culture in the so-called post-national age. The article looks at Yizhar’s careful creation of a language-land bond, at the way Amos Oz warns against the excesses of these bonds, and at Orly Castel-Bloom’s critical attempt to undermine these bonds half a century after they have been created.

Cite: Oppenheimer, The House of Rajani and the Limits of Zionist Discourse

Oppenheimer, Yochai. “‘How Bound the Arab Is to His Land’: The House of Rajani and the Limits of Zionist Discourse.” Translated by Rebecca Gillis. Prooftexts 32.3 (2012): 381-408.



This article examines the ways in which Alon Hilu undermines conventional literary representations of the Arab in The House of Rajani , offering alternative possibilities for contact and communication between Jews and Arabs. The division of the text between two narrators, each of whom reflects a distinct viewpoint, represents the contrast between the Zionist world of the First Aliyah and the Arab world of people who had dwelled in Palestine for generations. Hilu returns to Palestinian history in order to situate the experience of Arab exile center stage. Not only does Hilu read national history and the place of the Arab within it anew, but he signals the instability of national categories, their tendency to merge and thereby to create an intermediate space. The Arab in Hilu’s novel is immeasurably more complex and interesting than the familiar Arab as imagined by Hebrew and Israeli fiction in the past. He is understood through a lens of post-colonialism inconsistent with the dominant Israeli historiography and his human and collective experiences are presented with unprecedented power.

Cite: Rodgers, The Roadmap Ripped Up

Rodgers, James. “The Roadmap Ripped Up: Lessons from Gaza in the Second Intifada.” Mediterranean Quarterly 24.3 (2013): 20-34.





Drawing on the author’s time as the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza from 2002 to 2004, this essay offers a way of understanding more fully the situation in Gaza in 2013, after the recent elections in the United States and Israel and following the Arab uprisings. The core argument is that any future analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must give greater weight to issues of faith and to the idea that land is not simply a commodity but something to which there is a strong, historical, almost spiritual connection. The essay makes the case that recent events in the Middle East make these issues increasingly important.

ToC: Israel Studies 18,2 (2013): Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue


Guest Editors: Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund, and As’ad Ghanem

  1. Note from the Editors of Israel Studies(p. v) 

    Ilan Troen and Natan Aridan

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.v

    Stable URL:

  2. Preface(pp. vii-viii) 

    Daniel C. Kurtzer

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.vii

    Stable URL:

  3. Introduction to Shared Narratives—A Palestinian-Israeli Dialogue(pp. 1-10) 

    Paul Scham, Benjamin Pogrund and As’ad Ghanem

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.1

    Stable URL: 


A Comparison between Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism

  1. Palestinian Nationalism: An Overview(pp. 11-29) 

    As’ad Ghanem

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.11

    Stable URL:

  2. The Zionist/Jewish and Palestinian/Arab National Movements: The Question of Legitimacy—A Comparative Observation(pp. 30-40) 

    Moshe Maoz

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.30

    Stable URL:

Approaches over Time to the ‘Other Narrative’

  1. To Understand Oneself: Does it Mean to Understand the Other?—Reflections(pp. 41-52) 

    Yosef Gorny

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.41

    Stable URL:

  2. Israelis and Palestinians: Contested Narratives(pp. 53-69) 

    Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi and Zeina M. Barakat

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.53

    Stable URL:

Comparison of Palestinians after the Nakba and Jews after the Holocaust

  1. We Israelis Remember, But How? The Memory of the Holocaust and the Israeli Experience(pp. 70-85) 

    Dalia Ofer

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.70

    Stable URL:

  2. The Palestinian Nakba and its Continuous Repercussions(pp. 86-99) 

    Adel Manna’

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.86

    Stable URL:

Concepts of Land

  1. Israeli Views of the Land of Israel/Palestine(pp. 100-114) 

    S. Ilan Troen

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.100

    Stable URL:

The Growth of Religious Nationalism and the Conflict over the Holy Places

  1. Narratives of Jerusalem and its Sacred Compound(pp. 115-132) 

    Yitzhak Reiter

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.115

    Stable URL:

Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism; Possibilities of Recognition and Reconciliation

  1. Zionism and Palestinian Nationalism: Possibilities of Recognition(pp. 133-147) 

    Tamar S. Hermann

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.133

    Stable URL:

  2. Recognition of the Other and His Past(pp. 148-155) 

    Said Zeedani

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.148

    Stable URL:

  1. Notes on Contributors(pp. 156-158) 

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.156

    Stable URL:

  2. Guidelines for Contributors(pp. 159-161) 

    DOI: 10.2979/israelstudies.18.2.159

    Stable URL:

Reviews: Waisman, Body, Language and Meaning in Conflict Situations


Waisman, Orit Sônia. Body, Language and Meaning in Conflict Situations. A Semiotic Analysis of Gesture-Word Mismatches in Israeli-Jewish and Arab Discourse. Studies in Functional and Structural Linguistics,62. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2010.







  • Kuśmierczyk, Ewa. “Review.” Discourse Studies 14.6 (2012): 807-808.

Cite: Kark & Frantzman, Empire, State and the Bedouin of the Middle East

Kark, Ruth and Seth J. Frantzman. “Empire, State and the Bedouin of the Middle East, Past and Present: A Comparative Study of Land and Settlement Policies.” Middle Eastern Studies 48.4 (2012): 487-510.





The Bedouin of the Middle East have been one of the region’s most marginalized groups in modern times. This study assesses the interplay between state policies and the Bedouin in the last 150 years, from a comparative standpoint. We examine the development of land laws in the Middle East as they have affected the Bedouin, from the enactment of the Ottoman land laws of 1858 up to the present. Moreover we explore whether the land laws and the fate of the Bedouin are associated with the characteristics of the regime in each country. We find that the imposition of land laws and policies directed at nomadic and sedentarizing Bedouins has depended on disparate factors such as the origins of the leadership of countries (i.e. Bedouin or non-Bedouin) and the social and economic models embraced. Regimes with origins in the tribal-Bedouin fabric of the Middle East have pursued land policies that were favorable to the Bedouin, whereas regimes drawing their strength from urban elites and with socialist outlooks encouraged very different policies. We also consider whether the case of the Bedouin in Israel is unique or reflects a larger regional context.

Cite: Kark & Frantzman, The Negev: Ottoman and British Policy

Kark, Ruth and Seth J. Frantzman. “The Negev: Land, Settlement, the Bedouin and Ottoman and British Policy 1871-1948.” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 39.1 (2012): 53-77.





Focusing on the sub-district of Beersheba in British Mandatory Palestine, we examine issues of colonial administration, land use, relations between the government and indigenous nomads and extension of government control over marginal regions. Based on archival primary written sources and maps, we assess British Mandatory policy in the Negev, in the contexts of land ownership, settlement and the Bedouin population. The British Mandatory administration inherited a Southern Palestine Negev region that had been affected by a robust Ottoman policy of increasing administrative intervention, policing, land settlement and overall projection of government power. During 30 years of Mandatory rule, the policy was markedly different. The Beersheba sub-district, which incorporated almost half the area of Mandatory Palestine, was a unique administrative unit, populated almost entirely by nomadic Bedouins. Although the Mandatory authorities foresaw land settlement and sedenterisation as a goal in Palestine, they did not apply their administrative apparatus to fulfill this policy in the Negev, neglecting much of it.

Lecture: Kaplan, Kibbush ha-Adamah, Settling the Land of Israel–Contemporary Perspectives

Taube Center for Jewish Studies presents:

Eran Kaplan
Richard & Rhoda Goldman Professor in Israel Studies

at San Francisco State University

Kibbush ha-Adamah, Settling the Land of Israel–

Contemporary Perspectives


Friday, May 25, 2012 12:00 pm
CCSRE Conference Room (Bldg. 360)

Eran Kaplan received his PhD in Comparative History from Brandeis University in 2001 and taught in the Department of Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati before taking his current position at San Francisco State University.  His book, The Jewish Radical Right: Revisionist Zionism and Its Ideological Legacy was published in 2005 and he is now completing, with Derek Penslar, Zionism and the Yishuv: A Source Book which will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press. His published work, appearing in Jewish Social Studies, The Journal of Israeli History, Israel Studies, Alpayim and Haaretz addresses Zionist and Israeli history, Israeli cinema and art, Modern Hebrew literature, Jewish orientalism and other topics.

CFP: Narrative of Land of Israel, for AJS (Chicago 2012)

I am seeking participants for an AJS session on how ancient and contemporary narratives of the Land of Israel have shaped the contours of Israeli territorial politics. Papers that consider contemporary political applications of traditional Jewish sources on the boundaries of the Land of Israel, explore the impact of religious and secular narratives of Jewish homeland on popular Israeli (and diaspora Jewish) territorial discourse, or highlight debates between and within different sectors of Israeli society on "defensible borders", "land for peace," "the whole Land of Israel,"

Israel as a "Jewish state," etc. as they apply to the Jewish and/or Israel "national" experience are strongly encouraged to participate. Proposals are welcome from all disciplines.


Ariel Zellman

Northwestern University


write: azellman [at] gmail [dot] com

Cite: Werczberger, Memory, Land, and Identity

Werczberger, Rachel. “Memory, Land, and Identity: Visions of the Past and the Land in the Jewish Spiritual Renewal in Israel.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 26.2 (2011): 269–289.



This study focuses on the creative reconstruction of Jewish history via a spiritual New Age perspective. Using the case of the Jewish Spiritual Renewal (JSR) narrative of the past and the land, this article aims to shed light on some of the cultural transformations which are taking place in contemporary Israeli public discourse, especially the reconfiguration of the association between Jewish history, contemporary spirituality, and the land. The JSR narrative recovers, reinterprets and remolds Jewish history in order to legitimize the claim for a spiritual renewal of the present. By offering new perspectives on the Jewish past and history, the JSR attempts to validate its post-modern and spiritual version of Judaism as an original, uncorrupted form of Jewish thought and practice. The comparison of the JSR narrative with the classical Zionist and Canaanite narrative reveals that the JSR spiritual narrative replaces particularistic and nationalistic values regarding the land with universal and global values concerning nature and the environment, in order to create a universal Jewish spirituality that caters to the identity needs of contemporary non-Orthodox Jewish Israelis.

Cite: Tadmor-Shimony, Cultivating the Soil as an Educational Message

Tadmor-Shimony, Talia. "Cultivating the Soil as an Educational Message in Israeli Schools During the 1950s and 1960s." Journal of Modern Jewish Studies 10.1 (2011): 23-42.




One of the founding principles of the Zionist ethos is cultivation of the soil. This article examines the ways in which this ethos was “translated” into educational values in Israeli State (secular) primary schools during the 1950s and 1960s. The translation took place at three levels. First, agriculture was presented as a paragon and the rural way of life as idyllic in the written curriculum. Reading textbooks included collections of stories about farmers who had fulfilled the myth of “making the wilderness bloom”; history textbooks emphasized the importance of Hebrew agriculture in the Zionist narrative. The second level was the physical cultivation of the soil in agriculture lessons: children learned how to grow radishes and onions, maintain an irrigation grid, and put together a sprinkler. The third level was the creation of an agricultural timeframe by teaching in accordance with the timeline of agrarian seasons. Schools celebrated “agrarianized” versions of Jewish festivals in order to emphasize the renewal of the Jewish people’s connection with its land through agricultural work.