- This event has ended.
Masters of the Wasteland: Zionist Sciences, Bedouin Cultivation, and Arid Zone Development
In Israel/Palestine, Zionist actors have often claimed that their state building project would rescue the land and environment from destruction supposedly caused by Palestinians. Such narratives, and the policies that emanate from them, are supported not only by political-ideological actors, but also by scientific and academic institutions, especially in the environmental sciences. Drawing from a variety of archival documents including scientific reports, books, and university brochures, this talk will focus on how research institutions in the Naqab/Negev desert in southern Israel/Palestine contributed to exclusionary state-building from the 1950s-1980s. Desert research institutions reproduced inaccurate colonial narratives that claimed that Bedouin Palestinians were historically responsible for desertification in the region. As a result, desert research institutions effaced Bedouin cultivation practices and agricultural expertise, in order to produce an “arid zone” that only the state could develop