The Culturalization of Bedouin Indigeneity

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 7:10 PM - 8:30 PM

The Bedouin in the Naqab/Negev, the southern region of Israel/Palestine, currently enjoy international recognition of their status as indigenous – an achievement unique among Palestinians. This recognition has been advanced by sympathetic critical scholars and civil society organizations. In this paper, Lana Tatour argues that justification for the recognition of the Bedouin as indigenous has been predicated on the mobilization of an essentialist model of indigeneity that centers culture as the defining feature of indigeneity and is premised on the fetishization of the Bedouin as the embodiment of a premodern and endangered culture that is deserving of protection and preservation. The framing of Bedouin indigeneity as a cultural legal category cannot be understood outside of a larger process that Tatour conceptualizes as the culturalization of indigeneity. Through the Bedouin case, she traces the entwinement of the international indigenous rights regime with racial and colonial productions of liberal multiculturalism.