Language Matters: Talking about Palestine

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VOL. 45


No. 2
P. 24
Language Matters: Talking about Palestine

This article explores the linguistic repertoires and conceptual categories that are discursive workhorses in the task of informing U.S. public opinion and shaping policy on Palestine. It situates language commodification in a modern settlercolonial context as it intersects with corporate public relations. The article probes two sites of knowledge production and circulation: the media and the academy. It argues that, ultimately, the media’s discursive strategies are handmaidens of violence, enabling and legitimizing colonial relations of displacement and domination. Shifting to academic discourse, particularly anthropology, the article engages with a few selected terms to explore emerging and alternative ways of conceptually framing Palestine.


Julie Peteet is professor of anthropology and director of Middle East & Islamic studies at the University of Louisville. She is the author of Space and Mobility in Palestine (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, forthcoming). This article is based on the paper, “Framing, Naming and Linguistic Repertoires: Conceptualizing Palestine,” presented at the “Disputed Words: Palestine, Language and Political Discourse” conference, organized in 2013 by the Institute for Palestine Studies and the American University of Beirut.