Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationColumbia U.
Grant numberGr. 10311
Approve DateApril 13, 2022
Project TitleIbrahim, Amer (Columbia U.) "States of Multiplicity: Endurance and the Politics of Reincarnation in the Golan Heights"
This dissertation engages with the politics of living at the interstice of a liberal settler-state and an authoritarian autocracy. The 1967 war transformed the Golan Heights from a populous region in southern Syria, into a sparsely populated borderland in an Israeli landscape, mostly inhabited by members of the local Druze community and incoming Jewish settlers. Refusing Israeli citizenship, the Druze have remained stateless at the heart of a state multiplicity. Since the Syrian Revolution of 2011 and the dystopian transformation that followed, people in the Golan have gradually reoriented their lives towards Israel while retaining elements of the anti-colonial discourse they had deployed for the past decades. Underpinning this unfolding story of abandonment and reorientation lie complex modes of endurance from political activism to theological practices of reincarnation—the human-to-human transmigration of the soul. Reflecting on Druze rituals of recalling recent as well as past-life memories, and their reenactments of intimate and political attachments to one nation-state or another, this dissertation unravels the multiple political worlds that people in the Golan make possible. Following twelve months of fieldwork, my proposed research seeks to trace these assemblages of endurance and reincarnation in the archive, uncovering how they constitute subjecthood and citizenship.