Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Global Studies Program


Paul R. Josephson

Second Advisor

Jennifer Yoder


This paper relies on two case studies of the memories of Palestinian refugees in London, United Kingdom, and several locations in Michigan, United States, based on ten interviews with members of the local Palestinian community in each of the two sites. The study explores what personal memories about the events of 1948 and everyday life in Palestine prior to al-Nakba these Palestinians constructed and preserved six decades after. It also considers how the collective memory about the Catastrophe shaped their national identity and personal self-determination, and what potential and just solution to the current refugee crisis the expatriates envision. Further, the essay investigates why there have been no methodical efforts in the past to collect, organize, and publish narratives of Palestinian refugees in spite of the indisputable significance of memory-preservation for the construction and development of national identity, a socially-constructed value which acquires fundamental importance in the absence of and struggle for a national state in one's homeland.


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Palestine, refugee, national identity, Israel, diaspora, interview