Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies II: Culture and Society

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview


If taken as a core course on the programme MA Palestine Studies, students must take the course Critical Perspectives on Palestine Studies I: History and Politics 15PNMH006

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The aim of the course is to provide an overview of the ways in which varying bodies of scholarship across and intra various disciplines engage and study Palestine, and also an examination of how the study of Palestine cuts across and informs scholarly, theoretical, political and disciplinary approaches.

By the end of the course, the students should be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of the key issues debated and contested in Palestinian culture and society and familiarity with different disciplinary approaches, models, and scholarship frameworks in the study of Palestine. They will have been introduced to the key works in the subject and disciplines and become knowledgeable in the terminology and language in discourses about Palestine, and in the methods of analysis and argumentation as embodied in selected texts by leading authors. They will be able to relate theories and critical discourses to the contemporary cultural politics. They will acquire the critical tools to comprehend and analyse critical discourses on Palestine as well as the language to to write critically on Palestine.


This course will be co-taught over 20 weeks, with a 1 hour lecture followed by a 1 hour seminar.

Scope and syllabus

The course shall examine Palestinian culture and society since 1948. In so doing, it will aim to provide an overview of the different approaches –sociological, historical, anthropological, and via culture and media studies– to social relations, cultural production, and representation of Palestine.

The course not only provides some concrete knowledge of the themes presented here, but also suggests specific theoretical approaches that help illuminate, and are in turn illuminated by, the study of Palestinian culture and society. It will also train students in discourse analysis and critical examination of representation and its role in cultural and identity politics.

Course readings and discussions are guided by, but not exhaustive of, or exclusive to, the following major topics:

  • Diaspora and refugees
  • Inner exile
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Politics of the everyday
  • Religion and religious organisations
  • Space and geographies
  • Palestine and/in the media
  • Memory and oral history
  • Palestinian literature
  • Palestinian food, cinema, theatre, music
  • Consuming Palestine

The various sessions will reflect:

  1. The geographic diffusion of Palestinians in the diaspora, the Occupied Territories, and inside.
  2. The ways in which gender is inflected through all the above (so that the discussion of gender and sexuality are not “ghettoised”).
  3. Attentiveness to the debates under the heading of each theme, and the way these debates have broader significance and bearing on theoretical concerns of our time.
  4. The politics of the day-to-day.

Method of assessment

  • an essay of 2,500 - 3,000 words to be submitted in the week after reading week, term 2 (50%)
  • an essay of 2,500 - 3,000 words to be submitted in term 3 (50%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page

Suggested reading

  • A Child in Palestine: Cartoons of Naji al-Ali.
  • Amireh, Amal, “Between Complicity and Subversion: Body Politics in Palestinian National Narrative”, The South Atlantic Quarterly 102:4 (2003)
  • Aruri, Naseer and Farsoun, Samih, Palestine and the Palestinians: a Social and Political History
  • Boullata, Kamal, Palestinian Art 1850-2005
  • Dabbashi, Hamid, ed., Dreams of a Nation: On Palestinian Cinema.
  • Darwish, Mahmud, Memory for Forgetfulness, tr. Ibrahim Muhawi.
  • Hasso, Frances, Resistance, Repression, and Gender Politics in Occupied Palestine and Jordan
  • Iskandar, Adel. and Rustom, Hakim. (eds) Edward Said: A Legacy of Emancipation and Representation
  • Jayyusi, Salma, Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature
  • Lentin, Ronit, Co-Memory and Melancholia: Israelis Memorialising the Palestinian Nakba
  • Matar, Dina, What it means to be Palestinian: Stories of Palestinian Peoplehood
  • Miriyam Aouragh, Palestine Online: Transnationalism, the Internet and the Construction of Identity
  • Muhawi, Ibrahim and Sharif Kanaana, Speak, Bird, Speak Again
  • Peteet, Julie, “Problematizing a Palestinian Diaspora”, International Journal of Middle East Studies 39:4 (2007)
  • Peteet, Julie, Landscape of Hope and Despair, Palestinian Refugee Camps
  • Said, Edward, Out of Place.
  • Sayigh, Rosemary, From Peasants to Revolutionaries
  • Sayigh, Rosemary, Too Many Enemies
  • Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera, Militarization and Violence against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: A Palestinian Case-Study
  • Sharoni, Simona, Gender and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Politics of Women's Resistance
  • Snir, R., Palestinian Theatre
  • Stein, Rebecca and Ted Swedenburg, Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Popular Culture
  • Tamari, Salim, Mountain against the sea: essays on Palestinian society and culture
  • Tuqan, Fedwa, A Mountainous Journey: An Autobiograpy.
  • Yaqub, Nadia, Pens, Swords, and the Springs of Art: the oral poetry duelling of Palestinian Weddings in the Galilee


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules