STIAS Wallenberg Research Centre
Register here by 14 March 2023
Irus Braverman, professor of law and adjunct professor of geography at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and STIAS Fellow will present a public lecture with the title:
Settling Nature: The Conservation Regime in Palestine-Israel
In her talk, Irus Braverman will draw on more than a decade of ethnographic work in Palestine-Israel to suggest that nature management is much more central to settler colonial regimes than is commonly recognized. Her research documents, specifically, how the administration of nature advances the Zionist project of Jewish settlement and the corresponding dispossession of non-Jews from this space. This research is structured around two main lines of inquiry: on the one hand, it examines the sovereign control of land through its designation by the settler state as a national park or nature reserve; and on the other hand, it explores the settler state’s biopolitical protection of wild organisms, which often exceeds the boundaries of the protected territories. This dual protection scheme lies at the heart of the extensive, yet overlooked, conservation regime in Palestine-Israel.
The territorial reach of Israel’s conservation regime is remarkable: to date, nearly 25 percent of the country’s total land mass is designated as a park or reserve. Alongside the powerful protection of territory, Israel deploys wildlife for its ecological warfare. Recruited to the front lines are fallow deer, gazelles, wild asses, griffon vultures, pine trees, and cows—on the Israeli side—against goats, camels, olive trees, hybrid goldfinches, and akkoub (a thistle-like plant)—which are affiliated with the Palestinian side. These nonhuman soldiers are effective precisely because nature camouflages their tactical deployment as such.
The deep ecological foundation of settler colonialism and, vice versa, the deep colonial foundation of ecological thought are key to understanding Israel’s “settler ecologies”—a concept Braverman coins and develops in her work. Such settler ecologies perpetuate violence to all forms of life, both nonhuman and human, highlighting that instances of violence across the more-than-human spectrum are both interdependent and coproduced.
Irus Braverman is professor of law and adjunct professor of geography at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. She is the author of several monographs, including Planted Flags: Trees, Land, and Law in Israel/Palestine, Zooland: The Institution of Captivity, and Coral Whisperers: Scientists on the Brink.