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PhD Candidate Irit Katz is the first-ever winner of the James Morris Essay prize

last modified Nov 14, 2013 10:01 AM

Irit Katz, Girton College Scholar and a Phd Candidate in the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, has won the James Morris prize, a new award of the 'Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain' for work on British Colonial and Post-Colonial Architecture. The article titled 'Camps in Mandatory Palestine: The Emergence of Temporary Architecture as a Spatio-Political Instrument' is a part of Irit's dissertation examining camps as a prevalent political devise in Israel/Palestine from past until present.

Abstract: Camps in Mandatory Palestine: The Emergence of Temporary Architecture as a Spatio-Political Instrument

Various types of camps created by prefabricated structures easy to carry and assemble have been used by colonial powers in order to gain control over remote territories and manage local populations. In a state of emergency when normal law is suspended, transportable and temporary architecture becomes an instrument to achieve territorial and ethno-national objectives, a tool used for a quick translation of strategic power and political agenda into an ad-hoc act of construction where civilian and military life interact.

During the British Mandate for Palestine (1923–48), a period of negotiation and struggle over a land shared between Jewish and Arab populations under the British rule, three significant camp types were created. The first type was the British military camp, which was created following the British conquest of Palestine in 1917, and were later converted by the Israeli government into immigrant absorption camps; another type was the Tower and Stockade camp created by Zionist settlers during the Arab revolt between 1936–39; an additional type of camp were the British detention camps which were used in order to detain political prisoners and prevent illegal Jewish immigrants or refugees from entering Palestine.

This article examines the emergence of the camp as an instrument in the struggle over territory and demographic balance in Mandatory Palestine and analyse its architectural characteristics and their meaning in order to understand its function as a prevalent spatial tool during this ongoing territorial-political conflict.


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