Field Trips

These are scheduled for Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 July. Buses will depart at 1:15 pm. Please note information about weather and dress code recommendations provided on this website (click here). Please make sure you have some water with you and that you board the buses for the routes you booked. If you are not sure about which routs you booked please check the Announcement Board in the Cafeteria.

Nablus & Wadi Qana | Landscapes of Urban/Rural Socio-Environmental Injustice

Recognizing how settler colonialism interacts in cities and rural areas in the frontier is key to understand questions of sociopolitical, economic and environmental injustice. This field trip will explore these issues in the Northern West Bank region, an area of both intense colonial environmental degradation and sociopolitical instability. The trip begins with a visit to the historical city of Nablus, one of the main commercial and artisanal centers of Palestine. Having survived several natural and man-made hazards, this city exemplifies a convoluted and fascinating history of rural-urban interdependence, and a unique urban morphology that reflects the class structures of merchant families, and their trade networks. The tour will continue through Wadi Qana to trace the ways colonial transformations have altered and undermined indigenous cultivation practices, water resource control and livelihoods due to settler colonial expansion, enclosure and destruction of local natural resources.

Ramallah | Neoliberalism as Liberation

This field trip will explore the neoliberal logics and free market orthodoxy underpinning two decades of the so-called Oslo Peace agreements. Taking as departure point the agglomeration of Ramallah –which includes Ramallah, alBireh, Beitunya as well as five neighboring towns and villages—the trip will provide a lens into the profoundly uneven process of socio-economic and spatial transformation that define the urban and economic developments in the area. The tour will investigate contemporary forms of urban change and economic transformation in the West Bank such as housing developments, processes of privatization, debt creation, financialization of development aid, private investments, rural-urban migrations, and the production of the state. The purpose of this field trip is ultimately to explore the contradictions between political liberation and economic liberalization in Palestine.

Jordan Valley | The Political Economy of Agricultural Development and Displacement

The Jordan Valley is one the most significant and active sites of Israel’s settler colonialism. The valley, which makes up almost 30% of the West Bank, has seen its population decrease dramatically from 320.000 in 1967 to 56.000 today. The area, populated by the largest Bedouin population in the West Bank, is constantly subjected to closure, house demolitions and infrastructural destruction, all of which undermine people’s access to land, water resources and jobs. Recently the valley has been the object of ‘development’ aid policies, or what it is often called ‘quick impact development projects’. This trip will provide an entry point into the political economy of agricultural development and displacement through an exploration of the realities of everyday life in this ‘frontier’ region and the contradictions and perverse nature of aid programs that seek to carry out “development” efforts which often end up consolidating and sustaining settler colonial imperatives.

Bethlehem | Refugees, Informality and Popular resistance

The city of Bethlehem is home to Dheisheh and Aida, two refugee camps that remain strongholds of grassroots refugee activism. These camps, as well as others spread around the region, are the outcome of the Nakba (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’); a tragic episode that entailed, between 1947 and 1949, the ethnic cleansing of close to 800.000 Palestinians (82% of the indigenous population) that still today are denied the right to return to their lands. Visiting the camps will provide an intimate experience and socio-political, spatial and economic perspective on questions of refugee identity, belonging, education, and living. In addition to the camps, we will visit Bethlehem’s countryside to understand other forms of grassroots activism, namely the struggle against the Israeli settlements and Apartheid Wall, which encroach on villagers’ agricultural land and resources and segregate communities along ethnic lines.

Jaffa | Gentrification and Ethnic Cleansing: Rethinking the “Mixed City”

Over a century the city of Jaffa has been gradually transformed from a thriving modern urban Palestinian center into a marginalized neighborhood engulfed by the city of Tel Aviv. The purpose of this field trip is to shed light on issues of poverty, discrimination, gentrification, crime and house demolition and evictions affecting this place since the initial wave of mass expulsion that took place in the mid-late 40s to the present day. Gentrification has become an effective tool to achieve the aspirations of the ideologically-driven neoliberal Zionist public; slating Palestinian properties for demolition to be replaced with expensive condominiums and housing units for the rich. Documenting the interconnections of state and urban policy, patterns of investment, eviction and displacement in this urban frontier, this field trip will explore how gentrification is part of a larger shift in the political economy and culture of settler colonialism.

Jerusalem | The Production of Settler and Indigenous Space

The Jerusalem region constitutes a paradigmatic case of what the struggle for the city entails in a site of prolonged military occupation and settler colonialism. For more than four decades the Israeli-run Jerusalem Municipality unevenly allocates the municipal budget to improve infrastructure and public services in Jewish-only areas while planning and legislating to constrain the development and growth potential of Palestinian neighborhoods. Travelling along the peripheries and through the city of Jerusalem, this tour will open up different perspectives and provide qualitative insights into the political, cultural and socioeconomic forces operating in the city. More specifically it will explore various processes of racialized discrimination, socio-spatial segregation, surveillance, control of everyday life, fragmentation, and military urbanism that define the complex and rapidly changing condition of Jerusalem.