Accepted Paper:

A history interrupted: social identity and cultural change in modern Palestine  


Joshua Rickard (Kumamoto University)

Paper short abstract:

Issues of isolation, disrupted social structure, and conflict have profound affects on cultural identity and family structure. This paper examines the cultural perception and identities of university students living in the occupied city of Nablus in Palestine.

Paper long abstract:

I spent the summer of 2007 conducting ethnographic research and filming interviews in Palestinian refugee camps in the besieged city of Nablus, the West Bank. Questions addressed included how cultural identity has been shaped and changed as a result of the occupation, and how traditions and family structure have been maintained in the refugee camps and other isolated communities. In seeking a modern perspective, I chose to interview young people, particularly university students, to gain their insight on the difficult political and economic forces on the issues that form the identity of Palestinians living in these communities. Some of the major themes that emerged during interviews were cultural sustainability, education, psychological trauma, and family structure. As a result of the reflections and testimonies of personal and collective identity given by the contributors to the research and the time in which it was conducted, immediately before and during the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the study gives in depth insight into issues of cultural change, conflict, and a future in modern Palestine.

Panel W082
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