Munira Khayyat, “A Landscape of War: Ecologies of Resistance and Survival in South Lebanon” (U California Press, 2022)

What worlds take root in war? In A Landscape of War: Ecologies of Resistance and Survival in South Lebanon (U California Press, 2022), anthropologist Munira Khayyat describes life along the southern border of Lebanon, where resistant ecologies thrive amid a terrain of perennial war. A Landscape of War takes us to frontline villages where armed invasions, indiscriminate bombings, and scattered land mines have become the environment where everyday life is waged. This book dwells with multispecies partnerships such as tobacco farming and goatherding that carry life through seasons of destruction. Neither green-tinged utopia nor total devastation, these ecologies make life possible in an insistently deadly region. Sourcing an anthropology of war from where it is lived, this book decolonizes distant theories of war and brings to light creative practices forged in the midst of ongoing devastation. In lyrical prose that resonates with imperiled conditions across the Global South, Khayyat paints a portrait of war as a place where life must go on.

Eyad Houssami makes theatre and has participated in the revitalization of an ancient organic farm in southern Lebanon. He is editor of the Arabic-English book Doomed by Hope: Essays on Arab Theatre (Pluto Press/Dar Al Adab) and was editor-at-large of Portal 9, a bilingual literary and academic journal about urbanism. His doctoral research project on ecology and agriculture in post-independence Lebanon at the University of Leeds and this work are supported by the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council (grant number AH/R012733/1) through the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities.

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