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Accepted Paper:

Turning a Militarized Space into a Christian Shrine: The Case Study of the Icon of Our Lady of the Wall  
Elisa Farinacci (University of Bologna)

Paper short abstract:

Understood as an assemblage of interacting human and nonhumans, the Israeli-Palestinian Wall has actively converted the space around it from contested areas into spaces of Christian Prayer. In particular, it has transformed the highly militarized area of Checkpoint 300 into a novel Christian Shrine.

Paper long abstract:

In the year 2002 the erection of the wall between Israel and Palestine drastically modified the landscape where it was constructed. It prohibits the Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank from interacting with what used to be their landscape and it imposes a specific political and military jurisdiction over the areas where it is built. The physical presence of the Wall in the Bethlehem municipality, has progressively converted the spaces where it stands in a multiplicity of ways. For instance, its construction has transformed the space surrounding it into Area C, which, since the Oslo Accords, falls fully under Israeli civil and military control. Due to the defensive purpose of the Wall allegedly against Palestinian illegal infiltrations in the State of Israel, the land where it stands has become highly militarized. The militarization of this "Wall Zone" has caused an emptying of the streets and buildings standing in its vicinities. In particular, the area surrounding Checkpoint 300 has been converted into a new Christian shrine where the icon known as Our Lady of the Wall. was painted on the wall's slabs to accompany a weekly recitation of the rosary. This prayer has been both converting a violent and militarized space into a space of prayer as well as becoming a space for Christian political contestation. Thus, understood as an assemblage of interacting human and nonhumans, the wall has actively converted the space around it from deserted areas to spaces of religious-based protests.

Panel P148
Converting spaces and religious transformation: exploring the potential of human and material interactions
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -