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The Sheikh’s Castle
Architecture as Control in Jordan’s Southern Desert
Margaret Freeman
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This narrative discusses the use of architecture as a mechanism of control over territories, resources, and peoples in the Jordanian desert during the period of interwar British Mandatory rule. The text presents and compares varying modes of imperial and Indigenous architectural control in the desert through a case study of Qal’at al-Jafr, a building constructed after World War I by the Bedouin leader Auda abu Tayeh, and coopted a decade later into the British Mandate’s scheme for “desert control.”

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