The drive to territory: the spatial and temporal in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement organizing

Authors: Ashley Toenjes*, The Ohio State University
Topics: Middle East, Cultural Geography, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: Palestine, indigeneity, critical human geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement disrupts temporal and territorial narratives of Palestine/Israel . Through its call to actors and institutions outside of territorial Palestine to exert pressure on the Israeli government, Palestinians push occupational resistance to scales that transcend the nation-state. Chicago, IL is home to one of the largest Palestinian communities in the US and is the site of BDS contest across scales. Using qualitative interviews with community activists as my guide, my research asks how is the concept of “territory” temporally produced, understood, and contested in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.

Territory is always about temporal claims, and in the case of Palestine/Israel, indigeneity is embedded in competing spatial and temporal claims. The BDS movement is an instructive research object for thinking indigeneity, temporality, and territory together precisely because it is rooted in a deterritorialized notion of resistance that calls for action in deterritorialized ways. This move collapses time and space, challenging the overrepresentation of territoriality in studies of Palestinian resistance, while maintaining its territorial dimensions because the intended goal of the BDS movement is to effect the modes of power that govern Palestinian bodies within a territorial defined space. Questions about territory, indigeneity, and the transnational make studies of the BDS movement germane to geographic thought.

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