Heterotopic Jerusalem

Akkawi, A. (2019) ‘Heterotopic Jerusalem: A Foucauldian Approach to Robert Stone’s Damascus Gate’ Journal of English Studies 14 (2) 7-20.


How should we define Jerusalem as a space? In order to understand Jerusalem as a space, the relationship between experience and space and its embodiment of the forces that shape and articulate one’s experience of Jerusalem are examined by applying an analytical frame of Michel Foucault’s concept of “Heterotopia” on Robert Stone’s Damascus Gate. Thus, this paper highlights how we read Stone’s Jerusalem as a heterotopia. Understanding Jerusalem as a heterotopic space, then, offers a style of critical thinking that invites moral reflection on Stone’s characters’ versions, reactions, and experiences uniquely attached to Jerusalem as a space. The major characters in the novel are all visitors to the city; their experience of it oscillates between clarity and confusion. Thus, this paradoxical structure of feelings, which happens once Stone’s characters are exposed to Jerusalem as a heterotopia, reflects their association and interaction with Jerusalem as a space, articulates the characters’ experience within that space, and demonstrates how this heterotopic space provokes other experiences of the self and identity.