Imperialism reconfigured : the cultural interpretations of the keffiyeh
Nadim N. Damluji
May 12, 2010
Department or Program
This paper examines the keffiyeh's travel from a distinctly Palestinian context -- where it has represented resistance to Israeli occupation for over fifty years -- to the United States of America in the mid-2000's where it emerged as a symbol of fashion among urbanites. The paper argues that America's interpretation of the keffiyeh, which dehistoricizes the Palestinian context, reveals modern imperial machinery of the United States. In other words the commodification of the keffiyeh in contemporary American culture performed an imperial violence against Palestinians swiftly, unquestioned and with presumptive finality. However, this paper argues it doesn't have to end here: it's the personal responsibility of American consumers to intervene within the cultural appropriation of the keffiyeh.