Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, New York University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, New York University (NYU)
Identifying Palestine: Transnationalism, Citizenship, and the New World Order (1925-1930)

The dissertation research project for which I am seeking Mellon IDRF funding explores how the 1925 Palestinian Citizenship Order promulgated by the British colonial authorities in Palestine, and the ways in which it was implemented, helped create a new kind of legislated Palestinian diaspora. This phenomenon most conspicuously affected Arab communities in Latin America, whose approximately 25,000 Palestinian immigrants would ultimately, despite their best efforts, be denied the right to return to their homeland as citizens. At the same time, the British policies that denied citizenship to most members of the new Palestinian diaspora established the framework within which that diaspora came to play a role in forging a distinctive Palestinian Arab national identity in Palestine and abroad. Drawing on sources in Arabic, Spanish, French, and English, and on archives, libraries, and collections in Israel, Palestine, Latin America, Switzerland, and Britain, my project seeks to go beyond conventional narratives of the emergence of a Palestinian national identity by treating that process, for the first time, as fundamentally transnational – one that involved Palestinian communities in Honduras, Cuba, Costa Rica and Mexico as well as in Palestine itself. But it also examines the ways in which this process was bound up with an emerging international legal order that played an important role in the lives of subjects of the new Middle Eastern mandates, as well as with the specificities of struggles over legally classifying Palestine's inhabitants, actual and potential. A transnational framework can elucidate the emergence of nationalistic sentiment among Palestinians worldwide during this period, and the particular difficulties that Palestinians ultimately experienced as a result of British citizenship legislation promulgated in the context of a new international legal order.