Palestinian-Americans : construction and maintainence [i.e. maintenance] of political and cultural identity in diaspora

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Matthew B. Parnell (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
Andrew Clark

Abstract: Since 1948, Palestinians have lived in forced diaspora throughout the world. The circumstances of displacement has rendered it difficult to define a specific and bounded Palestinian identity. Palestinians all over the globe have individually constructed and maintained a sense of Palestinianness characterized by diversity, fluidity, and unboundedness. These personalized definitions of Palestinian selfdom characterize identity among PalestinianAmericans. The historical factors that each individual has experienced have led to these differences and ambiguous positionings, yet each individual maintains they possess an identity as Palestinian. These individualized characteristics are constructed and maintained among interviewees of this study, all ironically different and similar. In light of the unusual circumstances that plague construction and maintenance of Palestinian identity, PalestinianAmericans have utilized various sources that encourage collective selfdom. Walid Khalidi’s, Before Their Diaspora, is a historical narrative that challenges hegemonic historiographies that deny the existence of the collective Palestinian historical past. PalestinianAmericans have utilized this medium as a source to affirm their collective historical, political, and cultural legitimacy and aid in the transmission of these identities to younger generations. Yet, Before Their Diaspora also represents the negation of the personal experience and diversity of identity inherent in Palestinians. This project focuses on analyzing this phenomenon by incorporating oral testimony as its primary research tool.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for the Degree of Masters of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
National characteristics Palestinian, Palestine--History--1799-1917, Palestine--History--1917-1948, Palestinian Americans, Palestinian Arabs
Palestinian Arabs
Palestine -- History -- 1799-1917
Palestine -- History -- 1917-1948
National characteristics, Palestinian
Palestinian Americans

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