Animal Frontiers: A Tale of Three Zoos in Israel/Palestine
Cultural Critique, Issue 85, Fall 2013
43 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2013 Last revised: 15 Sep 2014
Date Written: April 5, 2013
Situated within fifty miles of each other at the heart of Israel-Palestine, three zoos — Jerusalem, Qalqilya, and Gaza — tell three very different stories about nonhuman animals, humans, and their imbricated survival across borders and at times of war. Through in-depth interviews with personnel from these three zoos, this article tracks the material and symbolic identities of three zoo animals. Yet the article is not just about animals; it is also a story about nationalism and its clandestine manifestations in ideologies of conservation. I argue here that alongside the straightforward story about sustaining wildlife, Israeli zoos’ control of zoo animals is a form of postcolonial ecology: an indirect penetration of the nation-state through nongovernmental means — and in the name of conservation.
Keywords: zoos, Israel/Palestine, postcolonial ecology, animal frontiers, ethnography, Zionism and conservation, bare life, posthuman studies, animal-human relations, Heidegger, etatization
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