Dr Netta Cohen

  • Environmental History
  • History of Knowledge
  • Modern Jewish History

My current research project analyses the ideological and practical relationship between environmentalism and militarism in Israel from the 1960s to the present day. My objective is to examine the formation of affiliations and influences between individuals and institutions within the military and the nature protection community. By doing so I wish to discuss—in the Israeli context—both the conceptual and applied links between nature and territory; scouting and military intelligence; weapons, hunting and masculinity.

My doctoral project is situated at the intersection of modern Jewish history and the history of Zionism, climate and environmental history, the history of knowledge, colonial history and transnational history. It focuses on Jewish experts who examined the ramifications of climate on the success of the Zionist project in Palestine from the establishment of the Zionist Organisation in 1897 to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

Through the prism of climate, I explore the processes of knowledge production that took place within Jewish and Zionist thought in the fields of medicine, science, and technology. By doing so, I also explore the political, social and cultural ideas and conventions that have constructed and informed professional and popular knowledge concerning climate. This knowledge developed partly in relation to existing Western scientific and colonial ideas and practices. However, Zionist knowledge on climate in Palestine also contained a variety of cultural perceptions which were unique to Jewish history and identity and reflected a long tradition of awe and wonder towards the Land of Israel. It is through the examination of this complex combination of ideas and practices that I proposed a new – spatial and environmental – perspective on the evolution of a modern Jewish national, racial and cultural identity.