Jake Silver

My research concerns the interplay between science, imagination, and empire through ethnographic work alongside astronomers and astrophysicists in occupied Palestine. Therein, I explore how landscapes and histories of settler colonialism have inflected the political economy of science and scientific ideas, with a particular attention to the role that astronomy and its various modes of practice have come to play within political, social, and national imaginaries. I am especially interested in thinking across astrophysical, astronomical, colonial, and everyday scales, bringing into relief a more nuanced conceptualization of a world composed of many different skies (even though scientific vocabularies sidestep such metaphysical differences). In the past, I have pursued various research projects that have examined how settler colonial practices in the region have conditioned larger conceptualizations about diversity, human interaction, sexuality, and nature by particularly addressing: new media as a viral site for publics to (re)construct the political personalities of deceased Israelis and Palestinians; the intermingling of surveillance and normalcy on the Jerusalem light rail; and the relationship between lust and desire, colonial infrastructures, and sexual fantasy across Jerusalem and Ramallah.

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