Special Subject: Palestine in Transition, 1900-1948: Everyday Life in Times of Change

Module code: V1424
Level 6
30 credits in autumn & spring teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Unseen examination, Coursework

You'll learn about the great upheavals in Palestinian society during the First World War and immediately afterwards.

Using primary source materials, you'll study how ordinary Palestinians (Muslims, Christians or Jews) experienced these upheavals. You'll focus on Jerusalem as this was the spiritual and political capital of Palestine and where many first-hand accounts of the war are set. 

You use this focus on the lives of ordinary individuals during the First World War to examine wider debates connected to the history of Palestine in the early 20th century, looking to the late Ottoman period and to the trauma of 1948 and beyond.

You'll study:

  • navigating the hardships of war: plague, famine and military conscription
  • the entertainment industry in Jerusalem: music, theatre and prostitution 
  • women's lives in wartime Palestine: change and continuity
  • the political sphere: Ottoman legacies, Arab nationalism and the coming of Zionism
  • the arrival of the British mandate
  • opposing British rule
  • colonial lives in Palestine
  • contested memories: 1948 and the struggle over Palestinian history.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of a closely defined topic.
  • Situate, evaluate and analyse primary historical sources.
  • Relate the interpretation of primary sources to secondary interpretations.
  • Construct sophisticated written arguments that demonstrate intellectual maturity and integrity.
  • Show an appreciation of the daily textures of life in Palestine through a variety of first-hand perspectives.
  • Show an understanding of the enormous upheavals effected by the First World War in Palestine in economic, political and social terms.
  • Critically engage with the complexities of debates over `modernity¿ and its emergence in Palestine, examining with a critical eye the notion that this was a `stagnant¿ and `backward¿ region before the beginning of the British Mandate.
  • Comprehend the key features of the political landscape in early twentieth-century Palestine, especially regarding the emergence of Arab nationalism and Zionism, and their impact upon people¿s everyday lives in the region.
  • Explore the social geography of the city of Jerusalem as a centre of religious, cultural and political activity.
  • Evaluate the extent to which the events of 1948 and the subsequent Palestinian-Israeli conflict were shaped by the late Ottoman and British periods of rule.