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Waterfalls, Goats, and Bombs: An Ethno-Acoustic Analysis of the Occupied Golan Heights

A workshop for faculty and graduate students with

Lindsey Pullum-Foulks, Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, Indiana University

Friday, February 28, 2020
12 noon
Global & International Studies Building, Room 4067

Read Workshop Chapter

Traveling from near and far away places, tourists are drawn to certain peaks in the Occupied Golan Heights to hear the pop-pop sound of gun shots and mortar shells from the Syrian Civil War. While Jewish kibbutzim and moshavim continue to successfully populate the volcanic terrain, the forms of citizenship and the status of residential life of Druze remain unknown and precarious. With Jewish settlements populating the Heights, everyday violences of Druze refugees are being further forgotten as Jewish economic strongholds are formed. Druze refugees actively negotiate landmines in backyards and eroding infrastructure across all four villages.

In this paper, I argue forms of war tourism present in the Heights actually work to conceal more localized forms of violence. I draw from and put into conversation scholarship from sound studies and war tourism to think through how consuming sounds from war tourism construct realities based on hearers. Using J. Martin Daughtry’s concepts of acoustic regimes and acoustic territories (2015), I demonstrate how consuming sounds of war tourism form ideological and geographical borders for Jewish and international tourists. Using participation observation at Mount Bental’s lookout point and interviews with tour guides, UN Peacekeepers, and Druze refugees, I argue sensory experiences of war tourism (both real and perceived) are a form of statecraft that ultimately erase refugees experience and silence forms of resistance. Moreover, tourism of the Golan Heights has never been more politically charged. Violence towards refugees is becoming further diminished from public discourse even now as President Trump supports Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied land.

Lindsey B. Pullum is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology and the Borns Jewish Studies Program at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is currently an Instructor of Anthropology and Communication at The Modern College of Design in Ohio. Her dissertation, "Faithful/Traitor: Violence, Nationalism, and Performances of Druze Belonging," examines how Druze of Israel engage in/with repertoires of violence, which ultimately negotiate Druze belonging within the state. Druze performances of belonging predicated on discourses of violence generate contradicting feelings of faithful service and cultural treachery. Her other research projects on intersectional identity in Israeli media and Druze photography have been selected for invited talks through the Center for the Study of the Middle East, J Street U, and have published in Anthropology of the Middle East.

The BJSP faculty-graduate student workshop series is generously supported by the Melvin and Betty Cohn Jewish Studies Institute Fund.