• 224 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 23 color photos, 6 halftones, 12 maps
  • Price: $32.95
  • EAN: 9781439920794
  • Publication: Nov 2021
  • Price: $104.50
  • EAN: 9781439920787
  • Publication: Nov 2021
  • Price: $32.95
  • EAN: 9781439920800
  • Publication: Nov 2021

Vehicles of Decolonization

Public Transit in the Palestinian West Bank

Maryam S. Griffin

Examining the border-enclosure strategy Israel uses to impose Palestinian im/mobilization, Maryam Griffin considers the ways public transportation in the Palestinian West Bank is a constant site of social struggle. Her illuminating book, Vehicles of Decolonization, studies collective movement, resistance, and everyday life in the West Bank to show how Palestinians assert a kind of Indigenous self-determination over mobility that Israeli settler colonialism seeks to undermine.

Having immersed herself in a year of fieldwork, Griffin maps multiple engagements with the flexible bus, shared van, and private taxi services to demonstrate that the politics of mobility are shaped by ongoing settler colonialism and Indigenous struggle. Griffin uses critical border studies to look at the contested nature of mobility at the sites of transit, where Palestinians practice self-determination through routine participation, spectacular political organizing and demonstration, and artistic renderings.

Featuring a variety of street images, Vehicles of Decolonization shows that multiple registers of people power work in concert not only to resist settler colonial logics but to reinhabit the land through the practice and preservation of alternative relations of mobility.


"Griffin highlights public transportation as a site of collective Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation in the West Bank. She begins by illuminating the Israeli systems of border crossings, surveillance, and permits that seek to impede Palestinians’ movement in the region. The book then investigates the ways Palestinians use routes, human interactions surrounding transportation, and vehicles themselves to subvert these systems. Griffin also presents the history of political protests on West Bank buses and anti-occupation art that depicts public transit as examples of Palestinian social struggle centered around mobility."
Middle East Journal

"(A) rich piece of political geography that celebrates the agency of people whose every movement can be controlled. With no apologies for her activist and sympathetic posture, Griffin describes the quotidian travails of daily life in the West Bank, where a modern highway system and buses for Jewish settlers are largely off limits for Palestinians.... (T)his well-researched monograph presents a positive picture of resilience, imagination, and community often missing in accounts of the West Bank.... Summing Up: Highly recommended."

"Griffin's writing contextualises the ramifications of public transportation for Palestinians from within Israel's colonial framework, thus setting the scene for readers to engage with a political reality that is either denied or obfuscated."
Middle East Monitor

"(A) unique and invaluable contribution to scholarship on the Palestinian struggle for self-determination....(T)he publication of Vehicles of Decolonization is notable and worth celebrating.... (I)t succeeds in showing how the shape of public transportation is connected to a set of broader political and economic contradictions.... For scholars eager to think about public transportation outside the strictures of land use debates or environmental sustainability, Vehicles of Decolonization remains important precisely in its ability to place public transportation squarely within debates on political power, identity, and political economy."
City and Community

"Griffin provides a compelling examination of what she refers to as the 'regime of im/mobility' imposed by Israel on Palestinians inside the West Bank."
Contemporary Sociology

About the Author(s)

Maryam S. Griffin is an Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell.

In the Series

Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality

Edited by Antonio T. Tiongson Jr., Danika Medak-Saltzman, Iyko Day, and Shanté Paradigm Smalls, Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality showcases comparative studies of race, ethnicity, and Indigeneity in projects that take a self-reflexive approach in their deployment of relational frameworks and analytics. The series spotlights projects that theorize the imbrication of settler colonial logics with other structuring logics such as franchise colonialism, racial chattel slavery, neoliberal capitalism, ableism, Islamophobia, heteropatriarchy, and the carceral and surveillance state. The series does so in order to complicate the canon of comparative race scholarship and nuance normative iterations of women of color feminism and queer of color critique. For these reasons, the series seeks projects that are grounded in, and build on, the theoretical insights and methodologies of women of color feminism and queer of color critique as they engage with Native theorizing, Indigeneity, and settler colonial paradigms. Critical Race, Indigeneity, and Relationality steers away from the familiar means of evoking and excavating patterns of similarities and differences to publish works that provide an alternative interpretive grid for comparative work—one that is acutely attuned to historical conjunctures, structural disjunctures, and power asymmetries.

Proposals may be submitted to Shaun Vigil, Editor, Temple University Press

Also of Interest

Disruptive Situations

Ghassan Moussawi