The Arab village: A genealogy of (post)colonial imagination

Haim Yacobi, Hadas Shadar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically discusses the image and the imagining of the Arab village produced by two cultures, the national-Zionist from the 1930s onwards, and the national-Palestinian during the last decade. Unlike fellow theorists and researchers, we are reluctant to be satisfied with the claim that throughout history the Jews, establishing their identity vis-à-vis the rural and oriental other, perceived the Arab village in an inversely mirrored manner. Instead, we suggest that it took the Arab village only a few years to transform from an object which represents the other and a signifier of the backward enemy, to what we would define as still life, a-historical and de-politicised. The Arab village, we would argue, became an object, a source of colonial imagination in the Israeli architectural culture, which sought the local in order to establish a national identity, without associating it with its creator, the Arab society. Within this framework, we also suggest that through a process of mutual contamination the Arab village is perceived and politically re-constructed by Palestinian architectural discourse and practice within the boundaries of Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-997
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 RIBA Enterprises.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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