|Byzantine, Crusader, and Ottoman traces.|
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"Sebastiya successfully combines the ideological framing of history and identity. The exquisite rehabilitation of Sebastiya homesteads and previously abused monuments addresses the relationship between time and space, and points the way for the future development of Palestinian cultural geography...."
Retrocog-nition in Sebastiya
Ethnographic Habitat, Place Memories, and Cultural Identity
Sebastiya is a “place memory” par excellence, wherein the visitor “remembers” events that have been experienced by others, and it is closely associated with retrocognition, which literally means “backward knowing.” In retrocognition, visitors and locals witness events as “a playback of a past scene.” Thus, place memory and retrocognition juxtapose present-day environmental place memory with alterations in time that might let you literally see the past (retrocognition). With retrocognition there is a dream-like state and an altered sense of time.
Each village has its own narrative, its own individuality, and its own unique character. Sebastiya brings together Biblical, Roman, Crusader, Ayyubid, Mamluk, and Ottoman archaeological architectural elements, not as cold relics but as an integral expression of Palestinian key symbols and signs within an ecological niche that the Palestinian genius has sculpted through the past five millennia.
In Sebastiya, history and its relationship with narratives constitutive of national identity weave a lyrical poem that celebrates the roots of Palestinian national identity in antiquity. By situating the cultural architectural narrative within the local spatial context and connecting it to wider regional cultural geography and history, the heritage attraction sites become signifiers that help advance the understanding of the highly diversified cultural expressions of Palestinian national identity.
In Sebastiya we find a venue that reveals the composite multi-layered historical and demographic levels of which our cultural identity is an expression. Sebastiya as an iconic heritage site has come to symbolise fundamental aspects of “Palestinianness,” and in so doing presents the nation as a family, a group of relations with shared history, values and beliefs, and common characteristics."
Dr. Ali Qleibo is an anthropologist, author, and artist. A specialist in the social history of Jerusalem and Palestinian peasant culture, he is the author of Before the Mountains Disappear, Jerusalem in the Heart, and Surviving the Wall, an ethnographic chronicle of contemporary Palestinians and their roots in ancient Semitic civilisations. Dr. Qleibo lectures at Al-Quds University. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
- The natural environment of an organism; a place that is natural for its life and growth. For example, a desert habitat and all the wildlife thriving there.
- A place where an organism is usually found. For example, Nablus is a major habitat for knafeh chefs and sweet shops in Palestine.
- A special environment in which organisms reside over an extended period. For example, the village habitat in Palestine is special for both humans and animals.
In the pages of this issue you will discover the unique floral aspects of Palestine, its rich wildlife, and just how little you know about it all. We hope that you will gain a greater appreciation of the village habitat, the way Jerusalem produced its own kind of habitat, and how all of it is endangered mainly because of the occupation but also because of other social and economic factors.
Habitat is not just a word in Palestine; it is a way to affirm and preserve
our identity and way of life!
our identity and way of life!
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE