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The Highlands

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Chapter Summary

Mountains and highlands in the Levant have often been described as marginal regions, difficult to control for governments, refuges for heterodox religious communities and home to a poor population that sent its sons to the cities as migrant workers. The comparatively large population of the highlands was able to sustain itself through the labour-intensive technique of terrace farming. This chapter presents a case study that is devoted to the perception of social and political change by an inhabitant of the Bani Zayd region, north of Jerusalem. It also analyses Barghuthi's account and complements with the other available evidence, such as Ottoman census records and studies on local architecture and Arabic inscriptions. The chapter finally presents another case study that analyses how a local, middle-class family adapted to the changing social and spatial structures of Hamidian Jerusalem and made strategic use of them.

Keywords: Arabic inscriptions; Bani Zayd region; Barghūthi; Hamidian Jerusalem; heterodox religious communities; highlands; Levant; mountains; Ottoman census records; terrace farming



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