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Perverse Modernities: A Series Edited by Jack Halberstam and Lisa Lowe

Visual Occupations: Violence and Visibility in a Conflict Zone

By
Gil Z. Hochberg
Gil Z. Hochberg

Gil Z. Hochberg is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature and Gender Studies at UCLA. She is the author of In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs and the Limits of Separatist Imagination.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7551-7
Publication date:
2015

In Visual Occupations Gil Z. Hochberg shows how the Israeli Occupation of Palestine is driven by the unequal access to visual rights, or the right to control what can be seen, how, and from which position. Israel maintains this unequal balance by erasing the history and denying the existence of Palestinians, and by carefully concealing its own militarization. Israeli surveillance of Palestinians, combined with the militarized gaze of Israeli soldiers at places like roadside checkpoints, also serve as tools of dominance. Hochberg analyzes various works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, among them Elia Suleiman, Rula Halawani, Sharif Waked, Ari Folman, and Larry Abramson, whose films, art, and photography challenge the inequity of visual rights by altering, queering, and manipulating dominant modes of representing the conflict. These artists' creation of new ways of seeing—such as the refusal of Palestinian filmmakers and photographers to show Palestinian suffering or the Israeli artists' exposure of state manipulated Israeli blindness —offers a crucial gateway, Hochberg suggests, for overcoming and undoing Israel's militarized dominance and political oppression of Palestinians.

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