Israeli Sociology’s Young Hegelian: Gershon Shafir and the Settler-Colonial Framework
In April 2014, the Center for Near Eastern Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) convened a conference titled “The Settler Colonial Paradigm: Debating Gershon Shafir’s Land, Labor and the Origins of the Israeli- Palestinian Conflict on Its 25th Anniversary.” This essay emanates from the conference. I first chart the dialectical emergence of Shafir’s thought out of Israeli sociology, and then gauge its impact on the growing presence of the settler-colonial framework in the study of Palestine/Israel. The analysis of Shafir’s book shows how a powerful hegemony has produced its disavowal. The examination of Palestine/Israel as a settler-colonial situation past and present underscores the benefit of studying this topic comparatively and as part of a global phenomenon.
Gabriel Piterberg writes and teaches on the history of the Ottoman Empire, settler colonialism, and Zionism at UCLA. He is director of UCLA’s G.E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies. Piterberg writes for New Left Review and London Review of Books.