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Overthrowing Geography

Jaffa, Tel Aviv, and the Struggle for Palestine, 1880-1948

Mark LeVine (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 457 pages
ISBN: 9780520243712
May 2005
$36.95, £31.00
This landmark book offers a truly integrated perspective for understanding the formation of Jewish and Palestinian Arab identities and relations in Palestine before 1948. Beginning with the late Ottoman period Mark LeVine explores the evolving history and geography of two cities: Jaffa, one of the oldest ports in the world, and Tel Aviv, which was born alongside Jaffa and by 1948 had annexed it as well as its surrounding Arab villages. Drawing from a wealth of untapped primary sources, including Ottoman records, Jaffa Shari'a court documents, town planning records, oral histories, and numerous Zionist and European archival sources, LeVine challenges nationalist historiographies of Jaffa and Tel Aviv, revealing the manifold interactions of the Jewish and Palestinian Arab communities that lived there.

At the center of the book is a discussion of how Tel Aviv's self-definition as the epitome of modernity affected its and Jaffa's development and Jaffa's own modern pretenses as well. As he unravels this dynamic, LeVine provides new insights into how popular cultures and public spheres evolved in this intersection of colonial, modern, and urban space. He concludes with a provocative discussion of how these discourses affected the development of today's unified city of Tel Aviv–Yafo and, through it, Israeli and Palestinian identities within in and outside historical Palestine.
List of Illustrations
1. Modern Cities, Colonial Spaces, and
the Struggle for Modernity in the Eastern Mediterranean
2. From Cedars to Oranges: A History of the Jaffa–Tel Aviv
Region from Antiquity to the Late Ottoman Period
3. Taming the Sahara: The Birth of Tel Aviv and
the Last Years of Ottoman Rule
4. Crossing the Border: Intercommunal Relations in the
Jaffa–Tel Aviv Region during the Mandate Period
5. A Nation from the Sands? Images of Jaffa and Tel Aviv in
Palestinian Arab and Israeli Literature, Poetry, and Prose
6. Ceci N’est Pas Jaffa (This Is Not Jaffa): Architecture, Planning, and the Evolution of National Identities in Jaffa and Tel Aviv, 1880–1948
7. Planning to Conquer: The Role of Town Planning in the
Expansion of Tel Aviv, 1921–1948
8. The New-Old Jaffa: Locating the Urban, the Public, and the
Modern in Tel Aviv’s Arab Neighborhood
Mark LeVine is Assistant Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History, Culture, and Islamic Studies at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of the forthcoming book Why They Don't Hate Us: Islam and the World in the Age of Globalizaiton (2004), and co-editor of Twilight of Empire: Responses to Occupation (2003) and Religion, Social Practice and Contested Hegemonies: Reconstructing the Public Sphere in Muslim Majority Societies.
“Well-crafted, eminently readable.”—Intl Journal Of Middle East Stds (Ijmes)
“AN AMBITIOUS AND CHALLENGING PROJECT. . . . A RICH RESOURCE INDEED.”—Shaul Cohen, Univ of Oregon The Geographical Review
"This is an exciting and important book about social and urban history as well as borders and identity, specifically of modern Middle East. The story Le Vine unfolds is easy to follow and get involved with."—Leila Fawaz, author of An Occasion for War: Civil Conflict in Lebanon and Demascus in 1860

"This is a foundational work for a new way of studying Palestinian-Israeli relations. LeVine conceptualizes the experience of Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews as interdependent and interreferential."—Gershon Shafir, co-author of Being Israeli: The Dynamics of Multiple Citizenship

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