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Mapping Israel, Mapping PalestineHow Occupied Landscapes Shape Scientific Knowledge$
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Jess Bier

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036153

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036153.001.0001

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Validating Segregated Observers: Mapping West Bank Settlements from Without and Within

Validating Segregated Observers: Mapping West Bank Settlements from Without and Within

(p.155) 5 Validating Segregated Observers: Mapping West Bank Settlements from Without and Within
Mapping Israel, Mapping Palestine

Jess Bier

The MIT Press

Chapter 5, “Validating Segregated Observers”, explores the intricate ways that the Israeli occupation shapes empirical observations. Through a critique of feminist standpoint theory and Donna Haraway’s work on situated knowledge, it shows how the most well meaning maps can be drastically different depending on who makes them. After 1967 Israeli settlers have increasingly moved to the West Bank, establishing diffuse but numerous settlements that dominate the landscape, engendering forms of segregation that are both rigid and complex. As a result, Palestinians see different parts of the landscape, and under tougher restrictions, than do Israelis, and vice versa. For example, cartographers in Palestinian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are able to collect map data only within Palestinian areas, and must view the Israeli settlements from without. This produces a dichotomy between, and enforces a drastically unequal separation of, Palestinians and Israelis. It also buttresses imbalances of power in international technoscience, influencing even the most apparently objective, empirical knowledge. Chapter 5 explores the (by no means straightforward) implications of this segregation in detail, while also introducing the notion of refractivity, or material and spatial reflexivity. Throughout, it seeks to understand how cartographers in organizations who use the same tools to map the same landscapes can produce different results.

Keywords:   Urban cartography, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Segregation, Israeli settlements, technoscience, Digital technology, Mobility studies, Power asymmetries, Landscape, Situated knowledge

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