Modern Palestinian Literature (PG)

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level

Module overview

Palestine has a vibrant literary tradition the study of which may serve as a key to understanding the psychological, social and cultural dimensions of the Israel/Palestine conflict. In this module, selections of Palestinian writings in different genres will be read and analysed as exemplars of literary responses to a situation of alienation and displacement, with particular focus on tradition and innovation, the construction and maintenance of identity, coping strategies and the evolving social function of literature in the context of the current conflict. The module also aims to place these writings into the wider historical framework of Near Eastern literature through tracing salient images and themes back to earlier antecedents, including Muslim, Christian and Jewish scripture. The class will be taught in translation, but the original texts will be made available to those who read Arabic.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, a student should be able to demonstrae:

  • Situate Palestinian literature within the framework of Arabic literature
  • Demonstrate a high degree of awareness of Palestinian literary history
  • Engage with critical discourse on Palestinian literature
  • Analyse structures, themes and imagery in Palestinian literature
  • Develop and sustain an original line of argumentation


The module will be taught over 10 weeks with two hours each week.

Scope and syllabus

Authors to be studied may include Mahmud Darwish, Samih al-Qasim Emil Habibi, Anton Shammas, Salma Khadra Jayyusi, Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, Ghassan Kanafani, Mourid Barghouti, Tamim al-Barghouti, Fadwa Tuqan, Tawfiq Sayigh, Mu'in Basisu, Sahar Khalifeh, Ibrahim Nasrallah, and Edward Said.

Topics covered may include:

  • Resistance literature
  • Imagining of nation without state
  • Homeland and belonging
  • Self-writing and identity
  • Exile, inner exile and diaspora
  • Prison literature
  • Women and the Palestinian nation
  • Myth and mythology

Method of assessment

  • Two Essays (1,500 words each) (30% each)
  • One Virtual Presentation (15 minutes) (40%)
  • The exact assessment deadline dates are published on the relevant module Moodle/BLE page


Professor Wen-chin Ouyang


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules