The Concept of Belonging in Palestinian Literature
Publication Type
Conference Paper


The project explores the importance of geography as a political medium that signifies power and resistance in Palestinian literature. This project, specifically, links geographical mobility or physical movement to political protest and national resistance to Israeli occupation. The project suggests that one significant way for Palestinians to overcome the constant fear of dislocation and the dilemma of spatial fragmentation in the West Bank is through interactive corporeal engagement with the landscape such as walking and sightseeing. Recently, local tourist companies in the West Bank have actively organized many educational trips to important Palestinian natural places and historical sites. The tourists geographical activities are key to the matter-of-fact representation of the strong ties between Palestinians and their land. These activities help us re-imagine the Palestinian tourist or walker as a geographical body that is capable of challenging the Israeli settler mapping of confiscated landscape and thus renegotiating the meaning of being in place. The project discusses a number of Palestinian texts that focus on the power of geographical practices to sustain the spatial identity of Palestine. These texts include Barghoutis I Saw Ramallah (1997)Shehadehs Palestinian Walks(2007), and Shihabs Does the Land Remember Me (2007). These works function as an invitation to Palestinian readers to explore the endangered land in order to know its value that is gradually diminishing due to the Israeli expansionist and separationist policies in the West Bank. Throughout this type of geographical knowledge, Palestinians are able to problematize the Zionist propaganda or tradition of knowing the land by suggesting a cosy familiarity between the Palestinian national subject and his/her lived places. The project, in other words, concludes that the bodies of Palestinian people are significant locales of flexible re-mapping what is already mapped by the Israeli regime as the land of Zion.

Conference Title
Belonging in Literature
Conference Country
Conference Date
Jan. 26, 2020 - Jan. 29, 2020
Conference Sponsor
الأكاديمية البريطانية في المملكة المتحدة