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Biography, Life History and Orality

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A Naqab Bedouin Woman’s Narrative of Displacement, Expulsion and Escape in Historic Southern Palestine, 1930–1970

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The paper traces the ordinary—yet extraordinary—life story of a Bedouin woman, Amneh, in historic Southern Palestine from the 1930s to the 1970s. Amneh’s oral narratives and memories combine the personal and the political, drawing a picture of the lives that the often forgotten Palestinian Bedouin population of the South lived before, during and after the Nakba, the Palestinian Catastrophe of 1948. Her counter-narrative challenges and complicates the hegemonic settler-colonial, ethno-nationalist, elite and male-dominated historiography of the region, and confirms her as an historical actor who finds her ways through difficult social, political, economic and cultural constraints. Although unique, her story is not exceptional, nor is it representative of ‘Bedouin women of the Naqab’. Rather, it offers a lens through which the much more intricate and messy historical realities in the Naqab can be unfolded. As such, Amneh’s biography, as told by her, is also telling of the wider social and political dynamics, relations and events in the region at the time.

Affiliations: 1: Doha Institute for Graduate Studies po Box 200592, DohaQatar


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