Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationColumbia U.
Grant numberGr. 9814
Approve DateApril 29, 2019
Project TitleElmakias, Zohar (Columbia U.) "Between a Minefield and the Temple: National, Theological, and Military Powers and Site-Making in Israel"
ZOHAR ELMAKIAS, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, received a grant in April 2019 to aid research on “Between a Minefield and the Temple: National, Theological, and Military Powers and Site-Making in Israel,” supervised by Dr. Nadia Abu El-Haj. The project explored three sites in Israel/Palestine which have been home to militarily charged events and projects of theological practice, and have been repeatedly transformed, both materially and ideologically, over the past century-and-a-half. These sites have been transformed and perceived through and under different forms of power — national, theological, and military. Political violence, projects of nation-building, and religious aspirations and sensitivities have all been crucial in their palimpsest of past, present, and future imaginaries. This project asked: How do sites accumulate and execute power? Who are their agents? And specifically, what are the diverse forces involved in site-making in Israel? How do these initiatives and imaginaries enacted upon the physical territory of the land resist, hinder, utilize, or encourage the state as a political project? The ethnographic aspect of the research used public formal and informal events, and interviews with a diverse range of persons, to explore the multiple imaginaries informing and transforming the sites, their narratives of the past, and the visions for their futures. It showed how specific sites bring together messianic and mythic national vision, settler-colonial history, and a neoliberal merger of security, war, and capital