Zohar Elmakias Lectures at Vienna about the Jaffa Train Station

In November 2015, the University of Vienna hosted an international graduate conference under the title “Move On: Mobility meets (little) resistances.” The conference dealt with contemporary questions in mobility studies in both the social sciences and the humanities. The conference included lectures from various disciplines such as sociology, cultural studies, and history and provoked critical thought on the mobility of individuals and communities. Emphasizing potential cultural and social forms of resistance in different spaces, speakers addressed the questions of freedom of movement and resistance through mobility regarding Kurdish immigrants in Austria; the treatment of Chinese citizens living overseas by the Chinese government; Turkish tourism to the Greek island of Lesbos and its connection to EU regulations; the archaeology of barricades in revolutionary Paris; resistance through dance, and more.

Under the title “”End of the Line: the Ceasing of Movement at the Jaffa Train Station, 1892-2010,” Zohar Elmakias presented results from her current research on issues of place and movement, carried out as a research fellow at the “Da’at Hamakom” Center. Focusing on the historical train station in Jaffa and its architectural transformation throughout the 20th-century, and using a variety of textual and visual materials, the paper analyses the possibilities of movement at the station as it changes from an imperial Ottoman train station at the end of the 19th-century to a closed military zone in 1948 and, most recently, a conserved, high-end shopping center. The lecture mapped transformations in patterns of movement of people, ideas and object through and around the station, influenced and shaped by militant, capitalist and nationalist forces.

The lecture dealt with the possibility of the station as a site of cultural resistance to hegemony critically, as the discussed site reflects immense capitalist and nationalist forces. Questions such as cultural and national identity in Israel, effacement of historical narrative and the freedom of movement in Israel/Palestine were discussed.

More about the conference

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Conference program