Daniel Monterescu's 2015 publication Jaffa Shared and Shattered has been named a finalist in the Social Science, Anthropology, and Folklore category of the 2016 Jordan Schnitzer Book Awards. The Schnitzer award was established in 2008 by the Association for Jewish Studies.
In naming the work as a finalist, the award committee wrote
Much like the city at the heart of this study, Daniel Monterescu’s Jaffa Shared and Shattered resists simple definition. In one sense, this groundbreaking work uses urban ethnography to treat the experiences unfolding in Jaffa as a microcosm for revealing the contradictions of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The book reveals that Jaffa, with its many layers and intersecting narratives, serves as a synecdoche for Israel itself. In another sense, it uses Jaffa as a particularly well-suited case study for shedding light on some of the most fundamental dynamics in cities around the world today. It is not only in Jaffa that diverse groups of citizens, sometimes united and sometimes divided by different cultural and class interests, align themselves with or against private developers and municipal governments to stake their claim in creating their city as they want it to be. But it is in Jaffa that such dynamics—tinged by Jewish and Palestinian dreams, fears, memories, visions and ideologies—make their inherent stakes all the more evident. It takes a skilled ethnographer to treat this subject with the depth, nuance, and sensitivity it is due, and Monterescu rises to the challenge.
An ambitious and strikingly original book on an important subject, Jaffa Shared and Shattered is one of the rare works that brings Urban Studies and Jewish Studies together. Its broad scope ranges widely across times and topics. At the broadest political level of nationalist ideologies, Monterescu considers Jaffa’s place historically in Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms, but he complicates this by delving into the ways that Israeli and Palestinian residents alike resist their own communities’ official narratives. As he focuses in on the local intersections of politics, economics, and community-building, he trains his ethnographic lenses on crucial forces shaping Jaffa today as a neoliberal city: architects, urban planners, private developers, real estate agents and more. He reads the graffiti on the walls, and draws meaning out of the advertisements and protest posters on the new fashionably neo-Orientialist gated communities. All of this to reveal Jaffa in ways that it has never been presented before.
The award winner will be announced during a reception in San Diego on December 18.
Jaffa Shared and Shattered is available for purchase now from IU Press.