Sanabel Abdel Rahman

Doctoral Candidate

Contact information

sanabel.abdelrahman@ 1 Deutschhausstraße 12
35032 Marburg
F|14 Institutsgebäude (Room: 00B01)

Organizational unit

Philipps-Universität Marburg Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien (CNMS) Arabic Studies

PhD Project

The Politics and Poetics of Palestinian Space

In Contestation and in Longing Towards a Real-Visualized Palestine via Emergency Nationalism

The aim of this research project is to investigate the teleology of Palestinian poetic space and how imagining space acts a precursor towards the actual (physical) occupation of it. This includes other processes of criminalizing space and erasing the identitarian space of the other, which is manifested  in Palestinian and Arabic literature. Based on this, I will make the argument that a distinctly Palestinian ‘emergency’ or ‘survival’ nationalism exists owing to the collision of the physical and memorial spaces. I will be applying those concepts to Palestine as a physical and a memorial space while referring to a five- point timeline of the history and politics of the region (Preoccupation, British Mandate, Occupation, Intifada, Contemporary Palestine). However, the lengthiest section of my research will focus on the last, contemporary point in Palestinian history/politics. I will use the writings of Palestinian and other Arab writers to expound on those types of spaces and the processes and repercussions of impregregnating them with certain meanings. My research will rely on textual sources: novels, short stories, Palestinian mythological oral history, folkltales, and texts embedded in posters. 

In this research project I want to investigate what I refer to as Palestinian Emergency or Survival Nationalism while highlighting the way its ideals and spirit are expressed in those literary mediums and how they act in maintaining this kind of nationalism for identitarian and temporally significant reasons. I argue that Palestinian Nationalism emerged regarding very specific historical, political, and cultural grounds and that it has been used and still is as an apparatus to establish Palestinian identity and existence – both in the individual and communal senses. I argue that Palestinian Emergency Nationalism does not comply with Western conceptions of nationalism and nation-building that so oft are used as the main reference for understanding the emergence of such movements in the West and abroad. 

Throughout my research, I will establish that Palestinian nationalism does not exist in the past and is not merely romantic or nostalgic in nature but is directly affecting and is affected by current events and modern idioms and concepts. From there I will trace the construction of the flexible figure of the ‘Palestinian’ and the other aforementioned elements  and investigate their manifestation in Palestinian fiction.

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