Thesis ID: CBB764750983

The Electrification of Palestine: Arab and Jewish Technopolitics, 1917-1948 (2015)


This study starts from the assumption that political power, like electrical power, is channeled through material structures and technologies, whose properties structure its flow. As such, it departs from the conventional understanding of power by shifting the focus from overt political manifestations to attend to the subtler ways that power circulated and accumulated in Mandate Palestine. Drawing on the holdings of the Israel Electric Corporation, and a range of other sources in Hebrew, Arabic, German, French, and English, it argues that the character of the power system was influenced by a prevailing logic of colonial development and technological fashions that came together most notably in a social and economic policy throughout the British sphere of influence that privileged centralized, large-scale systems. But influence also ran in the opposite direction. As a result of assuming a central position within the vision of development as it was applied to Palestine, the power system had a fundamental influence on the history of that territory and its inhabitants' political and economic relations. The borders of Mandate Palestine were mapped onto the technical blueprint for a system of hydro-electrical stations on the Jordan River and countrywide high-tension distribution ring. In mapping out Palestine, the power system created a territory that was legible from the point of view of hydropower generation and distribution, as well as the larger technocapitalist vision with which it was implicated. This also had a decisive impact on the political arena and the terms of the ethno-national conflict that unfolded (and continues to unfold) between Palestine's Arabs and Jews.

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Authors & Contributors
Davidovitch, Nadav
Hirsch, Dafna
Karmi, Ghada
Borowy, Iris
Lev, Efraim
Perry, Yaron
Science in Context
Social Studies of Science
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
Palestine Exploration Quarterly
Comparative Studies in Society and History
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Oxbow Books
University of Pittsburgh Press
University of California, San Diego
New York University
University of California, Los Angeles
Public health
Jewish civilization and culture
Science and politics
Masterman, Ernest William Gurney
Pasteur, Louis
Landau, Edmund
Einstein, Albert
Freud, Sigmund
Aḥad Haʻam (1856-1927)
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late
21st century
Middle and Near East
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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