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.
This article analyzes the outbreak of the deadly 1929 riots in Palestine. Focusing on Jerusalem, Safad, and Hebron, the cities most significantly affected by the events, the article sees the violence as attempts to reinforce, redefine, or reestablish communal boundaries. It argues that patterns of violence in each city can help us understand how these boundaries had been established and evolved in the past, as well as the ways in which new forces, in particular the economic, political, and social influence of the Zionist movement and the rise of nationalist politics among the Palestinian Arabs, had eroded older boundaries.