Seventy years after the Nakba, what does it mean to commemorate 1948? This introduction to three articles drawn from the 2018 New Directions in Palestinian Studies workshop at Brown University, “The Shadow Years: Material Histories of Everyday Life,” examines the emergence of 1948 as the primary focus of Palestinian commemorative practices and guiding star of future political possibilities, as well as the promise and limitations of the settler-colonial framework. It argues that widening our lens to include the material histories of everyday life in the context of a generational struggle for survival, contextualizes moments of great trauma and violence within the larger dynamics of Palestinians society, and recasts the time/space architecture of narratives about Palestine and the Palestinians.

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