Crown Center for Middle East Studies

Electrical Palestine: Capital and Technology from Empire to Nation

A Crown Seminar with Fredrik Meiton

Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Missed the seminar? The recording is available with closed captioning.

Political power and electrical power have something in common. They must both move through physical materials whose properties govern their flow. At the dawn of the Arab-Israeli conflict, both kinds of power were circulated through the electric grid that was built by the Zionist engineer Pinhas Rutenberg in the period of British rule, from 1917 to 1948. In this talk, Fredrik Meiton will chart a story of rapid and uneven development that was greatly influenced by the electric grid and set the stage for the conflict between Arabs and Jews. The grid shaped relations among the Zionists, Palestinians, and British rulers—and anticipated the outcome of Jewish statehood and Palestinian statelessness in 1948—by imposing a logic that has continued to shape the area and the conflict until today.

Fredrik Meiton is an assistant professor of history at the University of New Hampshire. 
Ekin Kurtic, discussant, is a junior research fellow at the Crown Center.

Co-sponsored by the Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program, Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, and Department of History