Truncated Specters, Managed Affects: Alternative Tourism to Historic Palestine
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractTourism in its political and social forms has always been an affective, embodied experience. These affective experiences have occurred in tourism to historic Palestine, both in the colonial context and in decolonial resistance. Recently, “alternative tours” to historic Palestine have become affective, embodied experiences that explicate the politics of the region from the perspective of Palestinians. Given the political nature of “alternative tours,” Palestinian and Israeli tour guides find themselves managing the affects and feelings of the tourist to whom they impart their narrative, both reifying and critiquing liberal discourses that prioritize the comfort of privileged groups, at the expense of the marginalized. In my second chapter, I explain some of these affective techniques. Later in my two subsequent chapters, I describe three objects of analysis through which Palestinian and Israeli tour guides modulate the affects of their tourists, in order to provide them a controlled, truncated, and safe experience. Such an experience imparts a taste of the constant affective, sensory, and tactile elements of the occupation wielded against Palestinians, but upon tourists primarily from the Western world. These controlled affects are meant to attempt to jolt Western tourists into action, inspired by their emotional experiences. I take up each of these three themes based on ethnographic work on one four-day tour package with the company Green Olive Tours (GOT); I explain how the discourses that tour guides use become affective. First, I describe how Ido’s tour of Jerusalem problematizes the affect of the notion that Israel is in a two-sided conflict with Palestinians. Second, I show how Yaqoub and Muhannad make Bethlehem and Hebron into an experience of “gazing back” affectively at oppressive technologies of surveillance. Finally, I argue that two sites in Nablus force tourists to feel haunting of ancestors with regard to temporality, and take their shock with them after the tour. These are fundamentally affective strategies of alternative tourism.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Middle Eastern & North African Studies