The Story of a Colonial Mask


Esmail Nashif

Publisher Van Leer Institute Press and Hakibbutz Hameuchad
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2017
Series Theory and Criticism in Context Series

The Arabic language and its products are among the main arenas of the struggle over the character of the Zionist colonial regime. Prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, Zionist institutions studied Arabic and generated knowledge about the language. However, after the establishment of the state, its institutions also began creating an “Arabic” that would suit the power relations between the state and its Palestinian citizens. This “Arabic” became the arena in which constitutive processes of ruler–subject relations are performed through the reading and writing of literary Arabic. This displacement of the colonial relations to the body of the Arabic language and its products was not a one-time event, but rather a unique structure that served both the Zionist ruler and the Palestinian subject. This book tries to identify the formative moments of its construction, the nature of its workings, and the changes it has undergone since 1948.

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