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Title: Contesting the past in Mandate Palestine : history teaching for Palestinian Arabs under British rule, 1917-1948
Author: Harte, John
Awarding Body: School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2009
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The period of British rule in Palestine witnessed a flowering of interest in history amongst the country's Arab population, paralleled by the rapid consolidation of recognisably 'Palestinian' Arab identities that had already begun to develop under Ottoman rule. Yet as Palestinian society engaged in this process of historical and national self-definition, the most potent vehicle for the transmission of shared historical narratives - the government school - remained firmly under the control of a Department of Education dominated by British officials. Drawing on a range of archival sources, published syllabuses and textbooks, and the recollections of Palestinian teachers and students, this study examines how the tension inherent in this situation played out at various layers of the school system up to the termination of the mandate in 1948. Challenging the commonly-held assumption that government schools and their British-imposed syllabuses acted purely as vehicles for the suppression of Palestinian national identity, it argues for a more nuanced model which recognises the multiple phases of mediation through which colonial educational programmes pass before they reach the level of the individual student, and the capacity of local educators and students selectively to adopt, modify or reject altogether elements of the formal curriculum handed down to them in the shape of published syllabuses and prescribed textbooks. Drawing on ideas of hybridity and ambivalence, the thesis highlights the need to recognise the influence of the British-imposed formal historical curriculum on emerging strands of Palestinian and pan-Arab historical thinking, and in particular the way in which aspects of it were put to use in new and unexpected ways by Arab educators in the service of Arab nationalist ideology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available