I am a cultural anthropologist at Duke University researching linkages between culture and politics in Israel in the context of the Israeli military occupation and legacy of the Palestinian dispossession. I am the author of Digital Militarism: Israel's Occupation in the Social Media Age (co-authored with Adi Kuntsman; Stanford University Press, 2015), which studies the ways that social media has altered the Israeli relationship to its military occupation, in both state and civilian contexts; Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism (Duke University Press, 2008) which considers the relationship between tourism, mobility politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the coeditor of Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture (Duke University Press, 2005) with Ted Swedenburg; and the co-editor of The Struggle for Sovereignty: Palestine and Israel, 1993-2005 with Joel Beinin (Stanford University Press, 2006).
I am currently continuing work on a multi-book project about the ways that new media and communication technologies are recalibrating the Israeli relationship to its military occupation -- generating shifts in the everyday terms of soldiering, remediating the civilian relationship to the occupied Palestinian population, and remaking the terrain of human rights work within Israel. My first book on this topic -- Digital Militarism: Israel's Occupation in the Social Media Age (with Adi Kuntsman, 2015) -- studied the place of social media within this equation. My current book project --Smartphone Dreams: State Violence, Cameras and the Digital Promise--- studies the role of testimonial cameras in the context of the Israeli military occupation. Over the last two decades, all of the actors in this political theater, on both sides of the conflict, have increasingly integrated photographic technologies, and networked image-making, into their political toolbox. Human rights workers and activists, both Israeli and Palestinian, use them as part of their larger struggle against the Israeli occupation, taking aim at images of state violence. Settlers and military actors, by contrast, use them to support Israel’s military project in the Palestinian territories, employing cameras to refute the testimonial claims of their Palestinian foes, taking aim at images of Palestinian terror. All of these constituencies believed that the technological innovations of the digital age would deliver their images – and therein, their political message -- with greater fidelity. And all would be let down. In an effort to counter the techno-utopianism of much new media scholarship, Smartphone Dreams focuses on episodes of breakdown and glitch where cameras were concerned, on cases where new photographic technologies, practices, and circulations failed to deliver on their supposed promise, across these ideological divides. Their diverse stories of these actors and institutions behind the lens, illustrate some of the ways that the Israeli military occupation, seen from the vantage of both Israeli perpetrators and Palestinian victims, is changing in the digital age.
This multi-book project has been supported by grants from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Palestinian American Research Council, and the Trent Foundation. Portions of this work have published in Current Anthropology, Critical Inquiry, Anthropological Quarterly, Middle East Report, and the London Review of Books. My work on Israeli cultural politics has appeared in such journals as Public Culture, Social Text, The International Journal of Middle East Studies,Theory and Event, Journal of Palestine Studies, GLQ: A Journal of Gay and Lesbian Studies and Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies.