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Facts on the GroundArchaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society$
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Nadia Abu El-Haj

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780226001944

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226002156.001.0001

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Positive Facts of Nationhood

Positive Facts of Nationhood

(p.99) 5 Positive Facts of Nationhood
Facts on the Ground
University of Chicago Press

The debate over the character of Israelite settlement and the work of generating an empirical body of evidence to prove or disprove one or another of the accounts (historical hypotheses, one could call them) established a paradigm of archaeological practice that guided disciplinary work for decades to come. This scholarly debate is perhaps best understood as an ongoing practice of settler nationhood, one that repeatedly reenacted and reinstantiated the “national collective” in empirical form, facts of positive science that emerged as an independent evidentiary basis upon which the work of archaeology itself would henceforth rely and within which the ancient Israelite nation would emerge as visible. This chapter traces the work through which three conceivably autonomous fields of discourse and practice—nationalism, archaeology, and the Bible—converge, each stabilized and grounded through one particular scholarly dispute.

Keywords:   nationhood, Israelite settlement, archaeological practice, nationalism, archaeology, the Bible

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