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This chapter asks how colonial histories matter today and offers an introduction to the conceptual labor that may be needed to capture the uneven, recursive qualities of the visions and practices that imperial formations have animated and what they have succeeded and failed to put in place. Attention to the politics of occlusion, colonial temporalities, and a “recursive analytics” is introduced.

This chapter examines the long occlusion of Israel as a colonial state in the field of (post) colonial studies. It looks to the sharp division that occurred in treatment of Edward Said’s Orientalism and The Question of Palestine the following year as a diagnostic of the disconnect that was maintained between Israeli colonial practices and U.S. imperial pursuits. The chapter considers how our optics change when we consider Israel/Palestine not as an exception to colonial practice but as a crystalline contemporary exemplar of it.

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