• Review Essay: Minorities and Majorities: The Nation-State and Identitarian Politics in the Modern Levant

    Kais M. Firro, Metamorphosis of the Nation (al-Umma): The Rise of Arabism and Minorities in Syria and Lebanon, 1850–1940. Brighton; Portland, OR: Sussex Academic Press, 2009. 201 pp.
    Benjamin Thomas White, The Emergence of Minorities in the Middle East: The Politics of Community in French Mandate Syria. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011. 239 pp.
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  • The Making of Palestinian Christian Womanhood: Gender, Class, and Community in Mandate Palestine

    This article seeks to expand the study of Palestinian Arab women’s self-identification and social and political activism by examining how Arab Christian women viewed, shaped, and managed their participation in the project of defining Palestinian national identity during the period of British colonial occupation. During the Mandate period, elite Christian women made particular use of mission schools and Christian women’s charitable organizations as platforms for promoting a vision of Palestinian nationalism as modern, nonsectarian, and politically progressive, in hopes of creating a Palestinian national identity in which they could claim a central role. As the Mandate wore on, though, it became increasingly evident that the presentation of Christian women as central to the expression of a broadly based, nonsectarian, modernizing, Westernizing Palestinian national identity was belied somewhat by the communal and class consciousness that education in elite Christian schools and membership in charitable organizations engendered. The way in which this purportedly middle-class, nonsectarian nationalist vision was developed and articulated in highly class- and communally conscious venues ultimately limited its purview and linked it with oppressive colonial practices in the eyes of much of the Palestinian Arab population.

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