Part of the Fall 2017 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series
Maha Nassar, Assistant Professor, Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona
When the state of Israel was established in 1948, not all Palestinians became refugees: some stayed behind and were soon granted citizenship. But these Palestinian citizens of Israel were relegated to second-class status and found themselves cut off from friends and relatives on the other side of the Green Line, as well as from the broader Arab world.
In this talk, based on her recently published book, Maha Nassar argues that despite the double-erasure that Palestinians in Israel faced from the Israeli state and the Arab world, intellectuals within this community insisted that they were a part of regional and global cultural projects of decolonization. Through a critical examination of a wide array of Arabic writings, she maps the strategies they deployed and demonstrates the importance of Arabic newspapers and literary journals in traversing national boundaries and creating transnational and transregional communities of solidarity. More broadly, she argues for the need to expand our conceptual understanding of decolonization, which is not only a series of national liberation projects, but also functions as a global project of cultural and intellectual emancipation.
Dr. Nassar is an Assistant Professor in the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona. She is a cultural and intellectual historian of the twentieth-century Arab world, with a focus on Palestinian history during the 1950s and 1960s. Her first book, Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World was published by Stanford University Press in 2017.