Forced Departures and Fragmented Realities in Palestinian Memoirs


The Arabic word nakba means “catastrophe”. The Palestinians use this word to refer to the events that took place in Palestine before, during and after 1948. These events terminated both in the establishment of the state of Israel and the loss of Palestine. In the decades after 1948, the narratives of identity, exile and dispossession become the self-representation of survival. Palestinian memoir-writing, an amalgam of the personal and the political, well represents the ideas of self-representation, exile, displacement and collective memory which I seek to explore in contemporary Palestinian memoirs. This paper attempts to argue through a study of memoirs that there exists a shared national identity and collective memory within Palestine since al-nakba. The project includes the study of the history of Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the significance of the genre of the memoir. Although a memoir is by definition a personal genre, writers under scrutiny navigate between narrating their own story and illustrating a broader collective Palestinian history. In order to address the relationship between memory and history, as well as that between personal memory and the continuation of collective memory, the researcher considers the genre of memoir appropriate as it is suited to view it as nuanced portraits of the historical and contemporary socio-political landscape of Palestine from the perspective of victims.

Author Information
Anchalee Seangthong, Panjab University, India

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2017
Stream: Literature - Memoir and Autobiography

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon