History

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

This module will examine the great upheavals in Palestinian society that occurred during the First World War and immediately afterwards. This is a period in which the devastation caused by the First World War interplayed with the shift from Ottoman to British imperial rule, all set against a background of rising Arab national sentiment and the emerging Zionist question. Using a variety of primary source material that has only recently become available, the course will allow students to gain insights into the ways in which ordinary Palestinians, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews, experienced these upheavals. Geographically the course will be centred on Jerusalem as this was the spiritual and political capital of Palestine as well as the locale in which many first-hand accounts of the war are set. The module will use this focus on the lives of ordinary individuals during the First World War I to examine wider debates connected to the history of Palestine in the early twentieth century, looking both backwards to the late Ottoman period as well as forwards to the trauma of 1948 and beyond. Specific topics will include: - 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.