Palestinians in Syria

Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities

Anaheed Al-Hardan

Columbia University Press

Palestinians in Syria

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Pub Date: October 2018

ISBN: 9780231176378

272 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $27.00£21.00

Pub Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780231176361

272 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00£47.00

Pub Date: April 2016

ISBN: 9780231541220

272 Pages

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List Price: $26.99£21.00

Palestinians in Syria

Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities

Anaheed Al-Hardan

Columbia University Press

One hundred thousand Palestinians fled to Syria after being expelled from Palestine upon the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Integrating into Syrian society over time, their experience stands in stark contrast to the plight of Palestinian refugees in other Arab countries, leading to different ways through which to understand the 1948 Nakba, or catastrophe, in their popular memory.

Conducting interviews with first-, second-, and third-generation members of Syria's Palestinian community, Anaheed Al-Hardan follows the evolution of the Nakba—the central signifier of the Palestinian refugee past and present—in Arab intellectual discourses, Syria's Palestinian politics, and the community's memorialization. Al-Hardan's sophisticated research sheds light on the enduring relevance of the Nakba among the communities it helped create, while challenging the nationalist and patriotic idea that memories of the Nakba are static and universally shared among Palestinians. Her study also critically tracks the Nakba's changing meaning in light of Syria's twenty-first-century civil war.
Palestinians in Syria is an original exploration of the evolution of memories of the traumatic events of the Nakba which affected the entire Arab population of Palestine in 1948. It skillfully traces how understanding of the valence and meaning of these events has changed over time. This book also constitutes the first major study of the Palestinian community in Syria, and it takes on added importance in light of the violent displacement of most of this community during the bitter fighting in and around Yarmouk camp near Damascus. Rashid Khalidi, author of Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness
This extremely important and timely book provides a vivid portrait of the Palestinian refugee community in Syria—a community now dispersed by the war in that country. In its detailed analysis of Palestinian memories and histories of the devastating events of 1948, this study succeeds in demonstrating how the socially and economically integrated Palestinians in Syria were somehow different from other Palestinian refugees in the region. Although this book is about the Catastrophe of 1948, it is also about the Palestinian catastrophe in Syria today. Dawn Chatty, author of Displacement and Dispossession in the Modern Middle East
What drives Palestinians in Syria is not the events of the Nakba but rather Nakba memories transferred through three generations, from those who experienced it up to the young of today. Anaheed Al-Hardan places her own identity as a third-generation refugee at the center of her thinking about uprooting and of her interactions with participants in her study, and she reflects critically on how this affected her research. She also carried out her research in a Palestinian exile region hardly touched by other researchers and has managed to incorporate effects of the ongoing civil war that has re-displaced thousands of Palestinian refugees in a new uprooting. Rosemary Sayigh, author of Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries
Al-Hardan’s mastery of historical context; her nuanced approach to the symbolic nature of memory-making-for community-building among three generations of refugees; and her clear-eyed articulation of a catastrophe of catastrophes is as groundbreaking as it is heart-wrenching. Journal of Palestine Studies
Palestinians in Syria is a well-researched, timely contribution to scholarship on refugees, memory, and the nakba. International Journal of Middle East Studies
One of the few scholarly representations of the Palestinian community in Syria. American Historical Review
Especially in view of the impossibility of doing comparable research today, this book will be a valuable reference for years to come. Sally Bland, The Jordan Times
A must-read for scholars of Middle Eastern and Palestine studies and an essential contribution to these fields. Journal of Holy Land and Palestine Studies
Provides a fascinating insight into a community now almost completely obliterated. Middle East Media and Book Reviews Online
Part sociopolitical history, and part discourse-analysis, Al-Hardan’s interdisciplinary study covers a lot of ground. Al Jadid
An important and timely addition to the growing body of Nakba scholarship. Middle East Eye
Note on Transliteration and Names
Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Catastrophe of 1948, the Catastrophes of Today
1. The Nakba in Arab Thought
2. The Palestinian Refugee Community in Syria
3. The Right of Return Movement and Memories for the Return
4. Narrating Palestine, Transmitting Its Loss
5. The Guardians' Communities and Memories of Catastrophes
6. Second- and Third-Generation Postmemories of Palestine and Narratives on Nakba Memory
Conclusion: The Catastrophes of Today, the Catastrophe of 1948
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Read an excerpt from the introduction:

Joint winner, 2016 Academic Award, Palestine Book Awards

About the Author

Anaheed Al-Hardan is assistant professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut.