Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture

Rebecca L. Stein and Ted Swedenburg

This important volume rethinks the conventional parameters of Middle East studies through attention to popular cultural forms, producers, and communities of consumers. The volume has a broad historical scope, ranging from the late Ottoman period to the second Palestinian uprising, with a focus on cultural forms and processes in Israel, Palestine, and the refugee camps of the Arab Middle East. The contributors consider how Palestinian and Israeli popular culture influences and is influenced by political, economic, social, and historical processes in the region. At the same time, they follow the circulation of Palestinian and Israeli cultural commodities and imaginations across borders and checkpoints and within the global marketplace.

The volume is interdisciplinary, including the work of anthropologists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, ethnomusicologists, and Americanist and literary studies scholars. Contributors examine popular music of the Palestinian resistance, ethno-racial “passing” in Israeli cinema, Arab-Jewish rock, Euro-Israeli tourism to the Arab Middle East, Internet communities in the Palestinian diaspora, café culture in early-twentieth-century Jerusalem, and more. Together, they suggest new ways of conceptualizing Palestinian and Israeli political culture.