Occupied by Memory

The Intifada Generation and the Palestinian State of Emergency

285 pages

December, 2004

ISBN: 9780814716380

$26

Paper

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Author

John Collins is Assistant Professor of Global Studies at St. Lawrence University. He is co-editor of Collateral Language: A User's Guide to America's New War

All books by John Collins

Occupied by Memory explores the memories of the first Palestinian intifada. Based on extensive interviews with members of the "intifada generation," those who were between 10 and 18 years old when the intifada began in 1987, the book provides a detailed look at the intifada memories of ordinary Palestinians.

These personal stories are presented as part of a complex and politically charged discursive field through which young Palestinians are invested with meaning by scholars, politicians, journalists, and other observers. What emerges from their memories is a sense of a generation caught between a past that is simultaneously traumatic, empowering, and exciting—and a future that is perpetually uncertain. In this sense, Collins argues that understanding the stories and the struggles of the intifada generation is a key to understanding the ongoing state of emergency for the Palestinian people. The book will be of interest not only to scholars of the Middle East but also to those interested in nationalism, discourse analysis, social movements, and oral history.

Reviews

  • ”One of the best illustrations of contemporary scholars’ fascination with the concept of memory as a concept closer to experience, a more human, subjective, and politically subversive notion than History.”

    Critique of Anthropology

  • ”In this fascinating ethnographic account, John Collins shows how Palestinians remember, re-shape, and reinvent in their popular imagination the first Inti-fada, or uprising, of 1987-1993.”

    Middle East Journal

  • ”Theoretically sharp and well written, Occupied by Memory propels the scholarship on Palestinians and perpetual states of violence in new and promising directions.”

    —Julie Peteet, author of Gender in Crisis: Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement

  • ”In Occupied by Memory, John Collins asks the 'intifada generation' to remember aloud the first intifada, what it might have meant, and what it has come to mean for them now. At once provocative and sensitive, John Collins's narrative probes deeply into the history of the last decade of the Palestinian struggle for self-determination, human rights, and social justice.”

    —Barbara Harlow, author of After Lives: Legacies of Revolutionary Writing

  • ”A powerfully honest work and a tremendous contribution to the literature on memory and violence in the Middle East. Superbly narrated, Occupied by Memory is compassionate but not sentimental, theoretically astute, and empathetically written.”

    —Ussama Makdisi, author of The Culture of Sectarianism: Community, History, and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Ott