Microcosm? Modern History & Politics of the Gaza Strip

History 100.004

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
TuTh 930-11

Edward Said once called it “the [Palestinian] national inferno.” Israeli PM Itzhak Rabin famously wished it would “sink into the sea.” A 2012 UN report bore the forbidding title “Gaza in 2020: A Liveable Place?” The Gaza Strip, as we know it now, was born of war in 1948. Since then its tiny, 360km2territory and majority-refugee population have been arguably the key metonym for the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and its representations, never more so than in recent years.

This course covers and problematizes historical, political, economic and cultural narratives of the Gaza since 1948, under successive, overlapping varieties of Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian military and political rule, and the policies each directed towards it. It historicizes the origins of the increasing recent representations of the Strip as a historical “laboratory” or microcosm of a range of major historical, political, military, economic and intellectual dynamics, national, regional and international. These include the Palestinian national experience since 1948, to which Gaza, always indissociable, has only become ever more central; “new wars” and remote military occupation; de/development; political Islam in power; and dehistoricization and depoliticization through what has lately been termed “humanitarianization,” of which Gaza may be the central paradigm.

Course Books

Gaza: A Year in the Intifada by Emerson, Gloria Atlantic Monthly Press. ISBN: 978-0871134660 Required
The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development, SECOND EDITION by Roy, Sara Institute for Palestine Studies. ISBN: 9780887282614 Required
The Least of All Possible Evils: Humanitarian Violence from Arendt to Gaza by Weizman, Eyal Verso Books. ISBN: 978-1844676477 Required
Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917–1967 by Feldman, Ilana Duke University Press. ISBN: 978-0822342403 Required
Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege by Hass, Amira Picador. ISBN: 978-0805057409 Required
Footnotes in Gaza: A Graphic Novel by Joe Sacco Metropolitan Books. ISBN: 978-0805092776 Required