Keith Feldman

Special Relationships: Israel, Palestine, and U.S. Imperial Culture
Ethnic Studies
Spring 2014
Keith P. Feldman is an assistant professor in the department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley, and is an affiliated faculty with the Designated Emphasis in both Critical Theory and Women, Gender, and Sexuality. His research theorizes and narrates relationships between U.S. imperial culture, West Asia, North Africa, the Arab and Muslim worlds, and Israel/Palestine. His writing has appeared in a variety of venues, including CR: New Centennial Review, Comparative American Studies, MELUS, ALIF, postmodern culture, Comparative Literature Studies, Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography, Theory & Event, Jadaliyya and Al Jazeera English.

Special Relationships: Israel, Palestine, and U.S. Imperial Culture creates a contrapuntal history of linkages between the United States, Israel, and Palestine in the post-World War II period. While the idea that the U.S. has a “special relationship” with Israel has achieved the present-day status of unassailable common sense, this book shows how its historical articulation was both mediated and repeatedly contested in a wide range of cultural texts that brought representations of the Middle East into comparative and relational frameworks to address the shifting contours of U.S. power. It demonstrates how historical shifts in how race was understood as organizing social life in the post-World War II period shaped a variety of orientations towards Israel and Palestine. These varying positions labored to both consolidate and contest U.S. race matters in relation to intra-European genocide, histories of settler colonialism and decolonization struggles, and the contours of the long civil rights movement. In making this argument from our own vexed political present, the book traces enduring polarized stances and sharp affective investments alongside diverse commitments to forms of antiracist cohabitation and coexistence.