On haunted geography: writing nation and contesting claims in the ghost village of Lifta

Journal article


Busbridge, Rachel. (2015) On haunted geography: writing nation and contesting claims in the ghost village of Lifta. Interventions: international journal of postcolonial studies. 17(4), pp. 469 - 487. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2014.937735
AuthorsBusbridge, Rachel
Abstract

This essay explores the case of Lifta, a 'ghost village' located just outside of Jerusalem which has recently emerged as a poignant site of Israeli-Palestinian national contestation. The last remaining depopulated village from the 1948 Palestinian Catastrophe (al-Nakba), Lifta has been slated for 'redevelopment' since 2004: a plan that would see the village replaced by a luxury, Jewish-only residential and commercial complex. Employing the dual analytical lens of haunting and imagined geography, this essay examines Lifta as an instance of 'haunted geography' in which settler colonial attempts to write nation are always confronted by what is written underneath. Not only is Lifta a stark fissure in Israeli imagined geographies of nation, in that it speaks to an alternate geography which calls into question the former's legitimacy, but also the attempt to Judaize Lifta has provoked the 'ghosts' of the past. These ghosts demonstrate both the past's continuing legacy inthe present and the impossibility of erasing Palestinian claims and memories. With counter-calls for Lifta to become a site of commemoration, I argue that the village has come to be representative of a reconciliatory futurity in Israel-Palestine. This reconciliatory futurity paradoxically derives from the demand to recognize and engage with past injustice; namely, the ongoing historical effects of the Nakba. In Lifta, then, that which haunts underneath becomes a landscape for reconciliation - and a space from which future possibilities of reconciliation may be landscaped

Keywordshaunting; imagined geographies; Israel-Palestine; nation; settler colonialism; spatio-temporalities
Year2015
JournalInterventions: international journal of postcolonial studies
Journal citation17 (4), pp. 469 - 487
PublisherTaylor and Francis Online
ISSN1469-929X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1369801X.2014.937735
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84931560573
Page range469 - 487
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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