At the turn of the 20th century, agricultural experts in several countries assembled a new agro-scientific field: dryland farming. Their agricultural research practices concomitantly fashioned a new agro-ecological zone—the drylands—as the site of agronomic intervention. As part of this effort, American scientists worked in concert with colleagues in the emerging Zionist movement to investigate agricultural practices and crops in Palestine and neighboring regions, where nonirrigated or rainfed agriculture had long been practiced. In my larger manuscript project, I consider how the reorganization of rainfed farming as dryfarming is central to the history of both the Middle East and North America, where it was closely related to modern forms of power, sovereignty, and territoriality. I suggest that American interest in dryfarming science emerged out of a practical need to propel and sustain colonization of the Great Plains, but later became a joint effort of researchers from several emerging settler enterprises, including Australia, Canada, and the Zionist movement. In contrast to a naturally ocurring bioregion, I argue that the drylands spatiality was engineered through, rather than outside, the territorialization of modern power.
Using second-generation Israeli migrants in the United States as a case study, this article explores one unusual site in which the politics of diasporic citizenship unfolds. It examines the North American chapter of the Israeli Scouts (Tzofim Tzabar) as an arena of negotiation between representatives of the sending state apparatus and migrants over the meaning (and practices) of citizenship outside national territory. This quotidian space is important to migrants’ contestation with the state concerning their claims for a form of membership that is neither territorial nor contingent upon the fulfillment of traditional civic duties (e.g., military service). Challenging the state-supported model of republicanism, in which presence in territory and the fulfillment of a predetermined set of civic duties are preconditions for citizenship, Israeli migrants advocate instead an arrangement based on a strong cultural identity and a revised set of diaspora-based material practices of support.