A Crown Seminar with Fredrik Meiton
Political power and electrical power have something in common. They must
both move through physical materials whose properties govern their flow. At
the dawn of the Arab-Israeli conflict, both kinds of power were circulated
through the electric grid that was built by the Zionist engineer Pinhas
Rutenberg in the period of British rule, from 1917 to 1948. In this talk,
Fredrik Meiton will chart a story of rapid and uneven development that was
greatly influenced by the electric grid and set the stage for the conflict
between Arabs and Jews. The grid shaped relations among the Zionists,
Palestinians, and British rulers—and anticipated the outcome of Jewish
statehood and Palestinian statelessness in 1948—by imposing a logic that
has continued to shape the area and the conflict until today.
Fredrik Meiton is an assistant professor of history at the University of
Ekin Kurtic, discussant, is a junior research fellow at the Crown Center.
Co-sponsored by the Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies program, Schusterman
Center for Israel Studies, and Department of History at Brandeis.