Enclosure marshals bold new and persuasive arguments about the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians. Revealing the Israel-Palestine landscape primarily as one of enclosure, geographer Gary Fields sheds fresh light on Israel’s actions. He places those actions in historical context in a broad analysis of power and landscapes across the modern world. Examining the process of land-grabbing in early modern England, colonial North America, and contemporary Palestine, Enclosure shows how patterns of exclusion and privatization have emerged across time and geography. That the same moral, legal, and cartographic arguments were copied by enclosers of land in very different historical environments challenges Israel’s current rationale as being uniquely beleaguered. It also helps readers in the United Kingdom and the United States understand the Israel-Palestine conflict in the context of their own, tortured histories.
Gary Fields is Associate Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego.
"An immensely rigorous and original book. Although the process of peasant displacement has been examined separately before--the importance of this book lies in showing how the English enclosures can be seen as a prototype and precedent for the Amerindian and Palestinian cases through the instruments of enclosure, cartography and law." —Salim Tamari, Senior Fellow, Institute of Palestine Studies and Professor of Sociology, Birzeir University
"To successfully bring together Palestinian dispossession, US settler colonialism, and early modern English enclosure in one text requires both intellectual ambition and wide-ranging scholarship. While recognizing the specificity of each site, Fields’ impressive and accessible work offers original insights into the world-changing work of enclosure and dispossession, tracing the powerful political geographies of discourses of ‘improvement,’ and the particular technical work of law, maps, and architecture. This is a valuable and important book."—Nicholas Blomley, Professor of Geography, Simon Fraser University
"Enclosure is a masterful study of how landscapes come into being, first as imaginable claims to land, and then through technologies of force that remake the material world to exclude and enclose those populations who are outside of the imaginative geography of the claimants. While the book focuses on the history of land claims and landscapes in Palestine / Israel, Gary Fields’ analysis is enriched through comparison with the processes of claiming and enclosing lands in early modern England and North America."— Lisa Hajjar, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara
"In Enclosure Gary Fields builds an original and eye-opening argument which places the dispossession of Palestinians by Israel within the age-old system of land enclosure—a broader and deeper logic typifying the political geography of modernity. Fields' novel approach shows how enclosures—in various times—have propelled the transformation of land to property in Britain, colonial North America, and how this logic stands behind the practices of the Israeli government. The book illuminates how the spatial logic of oppression travels through different eras and continents, exploiting the spatial tools of modern politics whether colonial, capitalist or nationalist. Fields backs his approach with a richly meticulous account of land policies in Israel / Palestine, incorporating the understudied case of the Bedouins in the Naqab (Negev). The combination of historical, conceptual and empirical contributions make the book a truly worthy addition to the field."—Oren Yiftachel, Professor of Geography, Ben-Gurion University