Tree-lining our imagination of justice

By Simon Barrow
March 14, 2009

Deep thinking about trees? Yes indeed. They are both a vital resource, a means of claiming the land, and at the same time contested political and religious symbols.

To complement an upcoming conference on ‘Culturing Theologies, Theologizing Cultures: Exploring the Worlds of Religion,’ from 22-23 April 2009 at the University of Chicago Divinity School, USA, this month’s Religion and Culture Web Forum features conference participant Alain Epp Weaver’s exploration of “how the arboreal imagination animates Israeli and Palestinian mappings of space and landscapes of return.”

Through a close reading of Palestinian theologian Elias Chacour’s writings, Weaver examines the rhetorical role and practical significance of trees in Israeli and Palestinian thought.

“Is the arboreal imagination necessarily bound up with exclusivist mappings of erasure only, mappings which encode given spaces as either Palestinian or Israeli Jewish?” Weaver asks. Or “might the arboreal imagination animating the imagined landscapes of Palestinian refugees also produce cartographies of mutuality which accept, even embrace, the complex character of shared space?”

For more information, visit the Religion and Culture Web Forum:

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