Waste Siege: The Life of Infrastructure in Palestine (Stanford University Press, 2019)

Podcast interview @ New Books Out Now (9 March 2020), also @ Apple.

Jadaliyya interview (29 November 2019).

Waste Siege offers an analysis unusual in the study of Palestine: it depicts the environmental, infrastructural, and aesthetic context in which Palestinians are obliged to forge their lives. To speak of waste siege is to describe a series of conditions, from smelling wastes to negotiating military infrastructures, from biopolitical forms of colonial rule to experiences of governmental abandonment, from obvious targets of resistance to confusion over responsibility for the burdensome objects of daily life. Within this rubble, debris, and infrastructural fallout, West Bank Palestinians create a life under settler colonial rule.

I focus on waste as an experience of everyday life that is continuous with, but not a result only of, occupation. Tracing Palestinians’ own experiences of wastes over the past decade, she considers how multiple authorities governing the West Bank—including municipalities, the Palestinian Authority, international aid organizations, NGOs, and Israel—rule by waste siege, whether intentionally or not. My work challenges both common formulations of waste as “matter out of place” and as the ontological opposite of the environment, by suggesting instead that waste siege be understood as an ecology of “matter with no place to go.” Waste siege thus not only describes a stateless Palestine, but also becomes a metaphor for our besieged planet.

CHAPTERS

Introduction

1 COMPRESSION: How to Make Time at an Occupied Landfill

2 INUNDATED: Wanting Used Colonial Goods

3 ACCUMULATION: Toxicity and Blame in a Phantom State

4 GIFTED: Unwanted Bread and Its Stranger Obligations

5 LEAKAGE: Sewage and Doublethink in a “Shared Environment”

Conclusion

Waste Siege is available for purchase on the SUP website, at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. You can also order it to your local bookstore!

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