Palestinian Village Histories

with Rochelle Davis

hosted by Chris Gratien and Alissa Walter

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The history of the modern world is one of overlapping displacements that have severed ties not only between people and their ancestral homes but also their histories. The writing of village history among displaced communities such as Ashkenazi Jews and Ottoman Armenians has emerged as a means of preserving that history for future generations in the diaspora. In this episode, Rochelle Davis discusses her work on the village history genre among Palestinians, its place within Palestinian historical memory, and the ways in which these sources can enrich our understanding of the past.

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Rochelle Davis is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her primary research work is on refugees in the Arab World, initially Palestinian refugees (Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced (Stanford University Press, 2011)) and more recently Iraqi and Syrian refugees. A second research project examines the US military’s conceptions of culture in the 21st century wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (see
Chris Gratien holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University's Department of History. His research focuses on the social and environmental history of the Ottoman Empire and the modern Middle East. (see
Alissa Walter is a Ph.D. Candidate in Georgetown University's History Department. The title of her dissertation is: "Ba'thist Baghdad: A History of Non-Elite City Life under Authoritarianism, Wars, and Sanctions." (see

Episode No. 203
Release date: 14 October 2015
Location: Georgetown University
Editing and production by Chris Gratien
Copyright free musical excerpts Harmandali - Recep Efendi, Cemal Efendi; Istanbul'dan Ayva Gelir Nar Gelir - Azize Tozem and Sari Recep
Podcast Image via Library of Congress


Palestinian Village Histories
Stanford University Press, 2011
Davis, Rochelle. Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2011.

Ben-Ze'ev, Efrat. Remembering Palestine in 1948: Beyond National Narratives. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Doumani, Beshara. Rediscovering Palestine Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700-1900. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 1995.

Shryock, Andrew. Nationalism and the Genealogical Imagination Oral History and Textual Authority in Tribal Jordan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

Slyomovics, Susan. The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998.

Swedenburg, Ted. Memories of Revolt: The 1936-1939 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past. Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

Tamārī, Salīm. Mountain against the Sea Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009.

_____. Year of the Locust A Soldier's Diary and the Erasure of Palestine's Ottoman Past. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. 


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