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Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture by Ted Swedenburg

Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture


Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture by Ted Swedenburg

This important volume rethinks the conventional parameters of Middle East studies through attention to popular cultural forms, producers, and communities of consumers. The volume has a broad historical scope, ranging from the late Ottoman period to the second Palestinian uprising, with a focus on cultural forms and processes in Israel, Palestine, and the refugee camps of the Arab Middle East. The contributors consider how Palestinian and Israeli popular culture influences and is influenced by political, economic, social, and historical processes in the region. At the same time, they follow the circulation of Palestinian and Israeli cultural commodities and imaginations across borders and checkpoints and within the global marketplace.The volume is interdisciplinary, including the work of anthropologists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, ethnomusicologists, and Americanist and literary studies scholars. Contributors examine popular music of the Palestinian resistance, ethno-racial passing in Israeli cinema, Arab-Jewish rock, Euro-Israeli tourism to the Arab Middle East, Internet communities in the Palestinian diaspora, cafe culture in early-twentieth-century Jerusalem, and more. Together, they suggest new ways of conceptualizing Palestinian and Israeli political culture. Contributors. Livia Alexander, Carol Bardenstein, Elliott Colla, Amy Horowitz, Laleh Khalili, Mary Layoun, Mark LeVine, Joseph Massad, Melani McAlister, Ilan Pappe, Rebecca L. Stein, Ted Swedenburg, Salim Tamari


[P]rovocative. . . . [T]he essays in this volume . . . imaginatively deconstruct aspects of popular culture still seeping across the walls erected through this long and intractable conflict. -- Donna Robinson Divine * Digest of Middle East Studies * This theoretically savvy, eye-opening tour through popular culture in and about Palestine and Israel confirms at once the inherent inseparability of culture/politics and the gripping mutuality of Israel/Palestine. -Lila Abu-Lughod, author of Dramas of Nationhood: The Politics of Television in Egypt This empirically rich, theoretically innovative, and unusually wide-ranging volume brings together a set of fascinating and insightful explorations of the popular culture and cultural politics of Palestine/Israel, including music, cinema, television, cyberculture, tourism, comics, and the role of Israel and the Jews in U. S. evangelical Christian eschatology. By demonstrating how culture has been a crucial and often formative domain of contention both within and between Arab and Jewish societies in Palestine over the past century and down to the present day, the contributors open up a great deal of extremely valuable terrain that has been sorely neglected until now. -Zachary Lockman, author of Contending Visions of the Middle East: The History and Politics of Orientalism Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg's volume Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture makes an invaluable contribution to the growing field of Middle Eastern cultural studies. Refusing essentialist understandings of culture, the editors and authors also transcend traditional Marxist paradigms. The volume insightfully illuminates the often marginalized issue of the politics of culture within the contested terrain of Palestine and Israel. -Ella Shohat, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies and Cultural Studies, New York University

About the Author

Rebecca L. Stein is Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. She is a coeditor of The Struggle for Sovereignty in Palestine and Israel (forthcoming). Ted Swedenburg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. He is the author of Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past and a coeditor of Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity, also published by Duke University Press.

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Book Info

Publication date

13th July 2005


Ted Swedenburg

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Duke University Press


424 pages


Physical anthropology
Popular culture
Regional studies



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