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CFP: Palestinian historians/historians of Palestine: writing under the Mandate and beyond

Submission deadline: February 14, 2018

Conference date(s):
June 29, 2018

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Conference Venue:

Department of History, King's College London
London, United Kingdom

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Call For Papers

Palestinian historians/historians of Palestine: writing under the Mandate and beyond

The works of historians such as Abdul Latif Tibawi (1910-1981), Arif al-Arif (1892-1973) and Izzat Darwaza (1888-1984) were ground-breaking in their time and still contain significant insights for scholars today. Tibawi’s own impacts on thinking around European and American imperialisms, and his critiques of Western scholarship on Islam and the Middle East, are only two cases in point. And yet many of this generation of Palestinian historians are little-studied, especially in European languages. Almost all of Tibawi’s books, for instance, are now out of print, and his thought on orientalism and its impacts on Western scholarship is a brief mention or a footnote in commentaries on the work of Edward Said.

The biographies and works of many of these scholars share common elements: origins in the final decades of Ottoman Greater Syria; adherence to forms of Arab and Palestinian nationalism; employment within the British Mandate administration; and works which span disciplines and periods of history, from the modern history of Palestine and Greater Syria and the impacts on them of international imperialism, to the Qur’an, Islamic theology, ethnography and memoir. As such, their lives and works provoke a wide range of questions in areas such as intellectual production, colonialism, the relationship between faith, activism, and scholarship, and the role of biography in understanding historical writing.

This colloquium is intended to bring together scholars interested in twentieth century Palestinian intellectual history and historiography broadly, and the lives and works of scholars such as Tibawi, al-Arif, Darwaza and Stephan, from any and all angles. Subjects which might be profitably considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The entanglement of intellectual production and colonial society amongst Mandate and early post-1948 Palestinian scholars
  • The existence – or not – of a distinct school or schools of Palestinian historiography with roots in the interwar period
  • the work done by such scholars for the British Mandate administration in Palestine
  • the position and experiences of Palestinian refugee intellectuals in diaspora post-1948
  • the contributions of scholars such as Tibawi, Darwazeh et al to the construction of a field of Palestinian history and our understandings of their own period
  • their contributions in the context of imperial/colonial history
  • Tibawi’s description and analysis of the work of Western Orientalist scholars and his contribution to the theory of Orientalism; other early non-Western developments of ideas in this area
  • The relationship between Islam and history in the thought of Palestinian historians of the mid-twentieth century
  • Institutions and intellectual networks post-1948 and the host country experiences of Palestinian historians
  • The biographies, backgrounds and social environments of Palestinian historians in the Mandate and post-1948

Proposals for papers at the colloquium should be sent to sarah.irving@kcl.ac.uk by 14th February 2018, and should comprise an abstract of c.200 words and an academic CV. Applications from scholars wishing to participate as discussants rather than present their own research are also warmly welcomed. We are able to provide support with travel and accommodation costs for a small number of postgraduate and early career participants; please mention in your application if you would like to apply for this.

The colloquium will take place at King’s College London on 29th June 2018. It is anticipated that selected papers will be published as a journal special edition. Further information, including abstracts and updates, will be published at tibawiatkings.wordpress.com.

This event is funded with the generous support of the Royal Historical Society and the History department of King’s College London

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