This book was shortlisted for the Palestine Book Awards 2020.
Who has the right to a safe and protected childhood? Incarcerated Childhood and the Politics of Unchilding deepens understanding of children as political capital in the hands of those in power, critically engaging children’s voices alongside archival, historical, and ethnographic material in Palestine. Offering the concept of unchilding’, Shalhoub-Kevorkian exposes the political work of violence designed to create, direct, govern, transform, and construct colonized children as dangerous, racialized others, enabling their eviction from the realm of childhood itself.
Penetrating children’s everyday intimate spaces and, simultaneously, their bodies and lives, unchilding works to enable a complex machinery of violence against Palestinian children: imprisonment, injuries, loss, trauma, and militarized political occupation. At the same time as the book documents violations of children’s rights and the consequences this has for their present and future well-being, it charts children’s resistance to and power to interrupt colonial violence, reclaiming childhood and, with it, Palestinian futures.
Judges' Notes on why this book was shortlisted:
This is a ground-breaking academic study, highly readable and accessible to a general readership, weaving the voices and everyday struggles of Palestinian children into patterns of childhood dominated by the realities of arrests, jailing, lost limbs, lost friends and family members. The powerful concept of ‘unchilding’ is a new and important way of looking at what this aspect of settler colonialism means for successive generations of children who have lived through it, and still do so today. Nadera’s unmistakable empathy with the children of her own everyday neighbourhood in Jerusalem makes this a highly unusual and powerful addition to studies of Palestine society today.
Notes by Victoria Brittain, Judge, Palestine Book Awards 2020
Read the Judges' Notes for all the shortlisted books here.