Dr Noam Leshem
Much of my research and writing is concerned with the intersection of spatial politics and cultural history. My work is motivated by a search for moments of possibility and potential, for practices and imaginations that call into question taken for granted power structures. Before joining the Department of Geography in September 2013, I held academic posts at Royal Holloway and Birkbeck, both at the University of London.
During my PhD research I undertook at the London Consortium, I explored the transformation of depopulated Arab space in Tel Aviv’s periphery. This work is the basis of an upcoming monograph titled “Taking Place: Arab place, Jewish space and Israel's forgotten urban histories”. This work seeks a new approach to the history and politics of Israeli space, place and landscape. Breaking from conventional focus on explicit sites of violence and devastation, it turns critical attention to ‘ordinary’ spaces and places where the Arab past continues to unsettle the social and political realities of the Jewish-Israeli present. Through the stories of often-overlooked places and the people who inhabit them, the book develops a critical notion of Spatial History – a nuanced multidisciplinary approach to the study of space, memory and power.
Some initial of the work’s motivations and concerns a paper published in Environment and Planning D in 2013, and a shorter book chapter in the edited volume Urban Constellations. Additional publication on the politics of memory in Israel and Palestinian spatial activism further expand this project.
I currently lead a large research programme titled Re-Inhabiting No-Man’s Land. On the centenery of WWI, this project rethinks no-man’s lands as a concept and as concrete space, explores their intellectual genealogies and critical significance for questions of governance and political agency. My investigation of no-man’s lands trawls less-obvious archives, from 2nd century Jewish political theology to audio records of migrant workers held for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula.
As part of this, I am currently carrying out pilot research funded by the Council for British Research in the Levant, which explores both historical and contemporary no-man’s land in Cyprus and Israel-Palestine. Some of this work is documented at the project’s webpage nmlproject.com
- Cultural and Political History
- Histories, genealogies and practices of no-man's lands
- Political activism and emancipatory practices
- Political theology and religious spatial politics
- Leshem, N. Spaces of Abandonment: Genealogies, Lives and Critical Horizons. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2017;35:620-636.
- Leshem, N. & Pinkerton, A Re-inhabiting no-man's land: genealogies, political life and critical agendas. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2016;41:41-53.
- Leshem, Noam “Over our dead bodies” Placing necropolitical activism. Political Geography. 2015;45:34-44.
- Leshem, N. Repopulating the emptiness: a spatial critique of ruination in Israel/Palestine. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2013;31:522-537.
- Leshem, Noam & Wright, Lauren A. Between Art and Catastrophe. Critical Quarterly. 2009;51:113.
- Leshem, Noam Drive Beirut: The work of Richard Mosse and the iconography of war in Lebanon. Static. 2006;3.
- Leshem, Noam Life After Ruin. 2016.
Chapter in book
- Leshem, Noam A Rough and Charmless Place: Other Spaces of History in Tel Aviv. In: Gandy, Matthew Urban Constellations. Jovis; 2011:163-167.
- Leshem Noam & Ronel, Ayala Towards a spatial history of Israel. In: Yacobi, Haim & Fenster, Tovi Memory Forgetfulness and the Construction of Space. Hakibutz Hameuchad and the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute; 2011:81-105.
- Leshem, Noam Memory Activism: reclaiming spatial histories in Israel. In: Burke, Lucy, Faulkner, Simon & Aulich, James The Politics of Cultural Memory. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing; 2010:158-182.
- Leshem, Noam Bloodstains on the White City: Tel Aviv’s History of Violence. H-Net Reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences. 2011.
Other (Digital/Visual Media)
- Leshem, Noam Leshem, Noam Beyond the Wall: Writing Conflict and History in Jerusalem. 2012. 2012.
- 2014: Re-inhabiting No-Man's Land (£3640.00 from CBRL)