Since capturing the West Bank in 1967, Israel has overseen the construction of scores of settlements across the territory's rocky hilltops. The settlements are part of a fierce political conflict. But they are not just hotly contested political ventures. They are also something more everyday: residential architectural projects.
In the Land of the Patriarchs is an on-the-ground account of the design and evolution of West Bank settlements. Noam Shoked shows how settlements have been shaped not only by the decisions of military generals, high-profile politicians, and prominent architects but also by a wide range of actors, including real estate developers, environmental consultants, amateur archeologists, and Israelis who felt unserved by the country's housing system. The patterns of design and construction they have inspired reflect competing worldviews and aesthetic visions, as well as everyday practices not typically associated with the politics of the Israeli occupation. Revealing the pragmatic choices and contingent circumstances that drive what appears to be a deliberately ideological landscape, Shoked demonstrates how unpredictable the transformation of political passion into brick and mortar can be.
Noam Shoked is an assistant professor of architecture at Tel Aviv University. Before pursuing a career as a scholar of the built environment, he worked as an architect in Israel and the United States.
Noam Shoked’s erudite book is a groundbreaking architectural ethnography of Israeli settler colonization that identifies myriad, unexpected venues for channeling power. By daring to explore an architecture that even its makers tend to dislike, Shoked has created a must-read for those willing to question and understand how occupation endures through the cultural landscape of ordinary people.
~Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, author of Seizing Jerusalem: The Architectures of Unilateral Unification
In the Land of the Patriarchs offers not only a richly detailed account of one of the world’s most scrutinized, yet overlooked, built environments—the West Bank settlements—but also a brilliant and original analysis of the complex web of economic, political, and, above all, bottom-up social and cultural forces that shape the production of space in the contemporary world.
~Matthew Gorden Lasner, author of High Life: Condo Living in the Suburban Century
Chapter 1. Urban Transplants
Chapter 2. Community Settlements
Chapter 3. Quality-of-Life Settlements
Chapter 4. Faithful Cities
Chapter 5. Outposts
Appendix: Planning, Design, and Development Agencies Mentioned in the Book
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