Overlooking the Border continues the dialogue surrounding the social history of Jerusalem. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the book juxtaposes Israeli and Palestinian personal narratives about the past with contemporary museum exhibits, street plaques, tourism, and real estate projects that are reshaping the city since the decline of the peace process and the second intifada.
As sites of memory, Jerusalem's homes, streets, and natural areas form the setting for emotionally charged narratives about belonging and rights to place. Recollections of local customs and lifeways in the mid-20th century coalesce around residents' desire for stability amid periods of war, dispossession, and relocation - intertwining the mythical with the mundane.
Hercbergs begins by taking the listener to the historically Arab neighborhoods of West Jerusalem, whose streets are a battleground for competing historical narratives about the Israeli-Arab War of 1948. She goes on to explore the connections and tensions between Mizrahi Jews and Palestinians living across the border from one another in Musrara, a neighborhood straddling West and East Jerusalem. The author rounds out the monograph with a semiotic analysis of contemporary tourism and architectural ventures that are entrenching ethno-national separation in the post-Oslo period.