Spring 2021

Book Manuscript Workshop

SETTLING NATURE: The Biopolitics of Conservation in Palestine/Israel

Dr. Irus Braverman

Online April 30, 2021
Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST 

Settling Nature presents a bricolage of stories that wander in between more or less protected nature reserves and more or less protected animal bodies, illuminating the co-production of settler colonialism and wildlife conservation. Drawing on more than sixty in-depth interviews with Israeli nature officials and on observations of their work conducted between 2015 and 2021, the book examines the biopolitical premises underlying wildlife management in Palestine/Israel. 

Settling Nature begins with the Mount Meron Nature Reserve: the first formal nature reserve in Palestine/Israel that encircles the Druzevillage of Beit Jann within Israel of the Green Line. The national park system situated in and around Jerusalem and its contested borderlands is the focus of the book’s second exploration of territory-based management, and highlights the importance of the natural landscape, and imaginaries of the biblical landscape in particular, for Israel’s “green grabbing” practices. Third and finally, the story of Wadi Qana and the Nahal Kana Nature Reserve near Nablus unravels the complex military regime employed in the occupied West Bank. 

Entwined between the three land-based stories, three chapters on animal management illuminate Israel’s dispossession of Palestinian life that exceeds the territorial delineations of parks and reserves. In this context, four longer animal stories—about griffon vultures, fallow deer, mountain gazelles, and camels—and several shorter ones—about Asian wild asses, European goldfinches, black goats, wild boar, and cows—reveal the biopolitical hierarchies and slippages between wild and domestic, nature and culture, native and settler, and human and nonhuman life. In these stories, nonhuman animals figure both as proxies—as extensions of human agency—and also as technologies for enhancing Israel’s acts of wild dispossession. Understanding the interconnections between more-than-humans and their regulation as part of the settler colonial order is instrumental for our thinking about how to subvert this order, redirecting it toward a decolonized nature—both human and nonhuman.

The powerful interplay between human and nonhuman mobility, viability, and resilience that take place in this region make, remake, and unmake its settler colonial environments. It shows, specifically, the emergence of two seemingly separate systems of nature administration—one modern and lawful and the other chaotic and unruly. These ostensibly disparate systems in fact feed upon, and infiltrate, one another, revealing Israel’s single, Janus-like, settler colonial regime. The ostensibly benign and apolitical status of nature protection serves to enable and legitimize the structural goal underlying both systems of nature administration: eliminating non-Jews from the landscape.


  • Jean Comaroff, Alfred North Whitehead Professor of African and African American Studies and of Anthropology, Harvard Anthropology
  • Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Emeritus, MIT History
  • Bram Büscher, Chair, Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University & Research
  • Gadi Algazi, Professor, History, Tel Aviv University


  • Emily Reisman, Assistant Professor, Department of Environment and Sustainability, University at Buffalo


The event is sponsored by The Baldy Centerr. It is free and open to the public with advance registration. Contact The Baldy Center to register for the online event.


SETTLING NATURE: The Biopolitics of Conservation in Palestine/Israel.

Photographs courtesy of the author

About the Workshops


The Baldy Center sponsors workshops to assist UB authors in making their book manuscripts as strong as possible prior to publication. This page contains a listing of Book Manuscript Workshops hosted by the center since 1999. UB faculty are encouraged to submit applications when they feel they have a manuscript sufficiently developed to benefit from an intensive review by external experts.



Book Manuscript Workshops hosted by The Baldy Center since 1999

April 5, 2019
509 Baldy Hall, North Campus
12:00 Lunch;  12:30 Workshop
Laura Ford, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Bard College
Baldy Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2014-2016

"The Intellectual Property of Nations: Sociological and Historical Perspectives on a Modern Legal Institution,
 is under contract with Cambridge University Press.
Description: In the book, Laura offers a macro-historical, sociological perspective on the emergence of intellectual property, as a new type of legal property. Drawing on the work of sociological theorists, such as Michael Mann and Max Weber, she argues that intellectual property emerged as part of a lengthy process in the ramping up of social power, one that played a central role in constituting the modern nation-state system. In tracing the emergence of intellectual property from its ancient and medieval roots, we are reminded that law is fundamentally about obligation, often co-extensive with religion.  It is this obliging force of law that makes it a bonding agent in communities and social groups, and that accordingly makes it an agent of social power.  From a Weberian theoretical perspective, it is this obliging force of law that, in helping to constitute the modern nation-state system, also enabled intellectual property to emerge with such powerful effects, as seen concretely in contemporary capitalistic organizations like McDonald’s and Facebook. Through this book Laura hopes to contribute to reflection on the role that intellectual property is playing in our contemporary political communities and societies; on the close relationship between law and religion; and on the extent to which law’s obliging force depends on written traditions stretching back to antiquity.


Erin Hatton, UB Sociology

"Between Work and Slavery: Coerced Labor in Contemporary America"
Commentators: Allison Pugh, Professor Sociology, University of Virginia; Adia Wingfield, Professor of Sociology, Washington University in St. Louis; Noah Zatz, Professor of Law, UCLA Law

Megan Holland, UB Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership and Policy

Two Paths Diverged: Race, Class and Inequality in the College-Going High School, (with e-commentary)  

Jennifer Gaynor, UB Department of Histor
"Intertidal History, Submerged Genealogy, and the Legacy of Coastal Capture in Island Southeast Asia"
Commentators: Barbara Watson Andaya (University of Hawaii), Eric Tagliacozzo (Cornell University), Kerry Ward (Rice University)

Irus Braverman, SUNY Buffalo Law School

“Wild Life: The Nature of In Situ and Ex Situ Conservation”
Commentators: Carrie Friese, London School of Economics & Political Science; James Igoe, Anthropology, University of Virginia; Jamie Lorimer, School of Geography & the Environment, Hertford College; Michael Smith, School of Environmental Studies, Queen's University


Toni Pressley-Sanon, UB Department of Transnational Studies
Istwa: Haitian History, Memory and the Cultural Imagination
Commentators: Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Department of Africology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; LeGrace Benson, Arts of Haiti


Ellen Berrey, UB Sociology
"Bottom‐Line Diversity: Race and Productive Pluralism in the Post-­Civil Rights Era"
Commentators: Khiara Bridges (Boston University), Douglas Hartmann (University of Minnesota), Nancy Maclean (Duke University)


LaKisha Michelle Simmons, UB Global Gender Studies and American Studies
Within the Double Bind: Black Girlhood, Sexuality, and Segregation in New Orleans
Commentators: Thadious Davis (University of Pennsylvania), Rhonda Williams (Case Western Reserve University


Irus Braverman, UB School of Law
Zooveillance: The Institution of Captivity
Commentators: Jody Emel, Clarke University; David Delaney, Amherst College; David Murakami Wood, Queen’s University

Dinissa Duvanova, UB Political Science
The Power of Association: Collective Goods, Selective Incentives, and Predatory States
Commentators: Scott Gehlbach, Peter Rutland

Carl Nightingale, UB American Studies

Segregation is Everywhere
Commentators: Thomas J. Sugrue, History, University of Pennsylvania; Zine Magubane, Sociology, Boston College; Richard Harris, Geography, McMaster University


Erin Hatton, UB Sociology
TempWORK: The Temp Industry and the Transformation of Work in America
Commentators: Julie Kmec, Washington State University, Sociology; Vicki Smith, UC Davis, Sociology