Traces of Racial Exception Book Launch

05/12/2018 17:00 - 19:00

ACRAWSA and the University of Sydney is delighted to be co-hosting the Sydney book launch for Ronit Lentin’s new book, Traces of Racial Exception Racializing Israeli Settler Colonialism (Bloomsbury 2018).

Author Ronit Lentin will be in conversation with Dr Lana Tatour (University of New South Wales) and the event will be chaired by Dr Lucia Sorbera, Department of Arabic Language and Cultures, University of Sydney.

All welcome!

About the book:

Positioning race front and centre, this book theorizes that political violence, in the form of a socio-political process that differentiates between human and less-than-human populations, is used by the state of Israel in racializing and ruling the citizens of occupied Palestine.

Lentin argues that Israel’s rule over Palestine is an example of Agamben’s state of exception, Goldberg’s racial state and Wolfe’s settler colony; the Israeli racial settler colony employs its laws to rule besieged Palestine, while excluding itself and its Jewish citizen-colonists from legal instruments and governmental technologies. Governing through emergency legislation and through practices of exception, emergency, necessity and security, Israel positions itself outside domestic and international law.

Deconstructing Agamben’s Eurocentric theoretical position Lentin shows that it occludes colonialism, settler colonialism and anti-colonialism and fails to specifically foreground race; instead she combines the work of Wolfe, who proposes race as a trace of settler colonialism, and Weheliye, who argues that Agamben’s western-centric understanding of exception fail to speak from explicitly racialized and gendered standpoints.

Employing existing media, activist, and academic accounts of racialization this book deliberately breaks from white, Western theorizations of biopolitics, exception, and bare life, and instead foregrounds race and gender in analysing settler colonial conditions in Israel.


“Ronit Lentin takes readers on the essential journey of understanding the interconnections between the various dimensions of Israel’s permanent war against the Palestinians: settler colonialism, race, and self-proclaimed exceptionalism are explained in this book with a rich and sophisticated theoretical framework and an immensity of illustrations. Lentin’s book demonstrates that the comprehension of the Israeli control matrix is a necessary step in our attempts to contribute to the decolonisation of Palestine. This is a stimulating book for those seeking justice for the Palestinian people. ” –  Marcelo Svirsky, Lecturer in International Studies, University of Wollongong, Australia,

“Despite race being constitutive to the Zionist ideology and the apparatus of the Israeli settler state, there has been a neglect of race in the theorisation of the Israeli state. Traces of Racial Exception makes an important and long-due intervention by integrating race and suggesting an understanding of Israel as a racial state. Lentin skilfully shows how Israel has adopted and adapted multiple regimes of racialisation that operate differently in the management and governance of Palestinians, African refugees and Mizrahi Jews. This book is essential reading for those interested in understanding the racial architecture of the Israeli regime.” –  Lana Tatour, Visiting Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia,

“Ronit Lentin’s Traces of Racial Exception is an important contribution to theorizing the state of Israel. It is a bold, daring and brilliant anti-racist critical elucidation of the state of Israel, defining the Ashkenazi state and society as white supremacist with policies of dehumanization and elimination of the Other (Palestinian natives and non-Ashkenazi, Arab/Mizrahi Jews). By going beyond the ethnic/national paradigm, the book establishes race/racism as Israel’s settler colonial prime mover. Race and gender are intersected with the state’s settler colonial rule, enriching existing critical theorization of Israel. Evidence from the racialized everyday life experiences of Palestinian natives and non-white Jewish others is provided throughout the process of theorization. Highly recommended for feminist and other critical scholars and students in general and those of Israel more specifically.” –  Nahla Abdo, Professor of Sociology, Carleton University, Canada,


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