Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013


In Copyright


Situated within fifty miles of each other at the heart of Israel-Palestine, three zoos — Jerusalem, Qalqilya, and Gaza — tell three very different stories about nonhuman animals, humans, and their imbricated survival across borders and at times of war. Through in-depth interviews with personnel from these three zoos, this article tracks the material and symbolic identities of three zoo animals. Yet the article is not just about animals; it is also a story about nationalism and its clandestine manifestations in ideologies of conservation. I argue here that alongside the straightforward story about sustaining wildlife, Israeli zoos’ control of zoo animals is a form of postcolonial ecology: an indirect penetration of the nation-state through nongovernmental means — and in the name of conservation.

Publication Title

Cultural Critique

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This article was published as Irus Braverman, Animal Frontiers: A Tale of Three Zoos in Israel/Palestine, Cultural Critique, Number 85, Fall 2013, pp. 122-162. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the University of Minnesota Press.