Taking the checkpoint as anthropological site and as a symbol from which to analyze the relationship to time and communication, this article shows how Palestinian temporality is distorted. A detailed description of the temporality engendered in the spaces of the checkpoint—through spaces such as automated turnstiles, constricted corridors, and ever-increasing technologies of separation and surveillance—is combined with an analysis of the spheres of interaction and communication that are possible and impossible within these constrained, and often solitary, spaces. By explaining how time is an important parameter of communicative possibility as well as a situated power dynamic, this article argues that the checkpoint demonstrates Israel’s colonial practice of controlling and erasing Palestinian time. “Checkpoint time” is both the haunting experience inside the checkpoint and the shrinking time and space of Palestine that ultimately expresses the ontological and political insecurity faced by Palestinians.
helga tawil-souri is associate professor of media, culture, and communication and director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University. She works on issues to do with technology, media, culture, territory, and politics in the Middle East, especially Palestine/Israel. She is coeditor of Gaza as Metaphor (2016).
Helga Tawil-Souri; Checkpoint Time. Qui Parle 1 December 2017; 26 (2): 383–422. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10418385-4208442
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