This article brings attention to the political geography of settler colonialism and the ways in which the Palestinian built environment materializes in space, consolidating uneven and racialized landscapes. It argues that settler-colonial space is intimately related to the building of infrastructures structured by development and humanitarian practices. More specifically, the discussion explores how roadscapes are materially and symbolically constructed; it also examines the ways in which development, rather than constituting a tool of empowerment, becomes a mechanism to manage the short-term "humanitarian" needs of Palestinians that arise from the imperatives of settler colonialism. Problematizing road infrastructure allows us to explore the relationship between Palestinian and donor agendas, and concomitant discourses on economic development and state building; in other words, how settler infrastructures are normalized through their association with tropes of modernity, progress, humanitarianism, and development.
Assembling the Fabric of Life: When Settler Colonialism Becomes Development
Omar Jabary Salamanca is a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow currently based at the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. His work lies at the intersection of urban studies, settler colonialism, political economy, and Middle East studies.
Omar Jabary Salamanca; Assembling the Fabric of Life: When Settler Colonialism Becomes Development. Journal of Palestine Studies 1 August 2016; 45 (4): 64–80. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2016.45.4.64
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