Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Nell Gabiam


This thesis is an examination of Palestinian women's roles and agency in creating and reinforcing Palestinian national identity. This is done by interviewing approximately 30 women, as well as observing and participating in daily life amongst Palestinian refugees. Women are an important part of the preservation and continuation of specific aspects of Palestinian culture, which are passed down from one generation to the next. Traditionally in research of refugees, women's voices have been marginalized, and by drawing on stand-point feminist theory this research focuses exclusively on women's roles and women's voices in order to lessen this academic bias. The national identity of diasporic populations if formulated in a unique way due to the lack of a sovereign nation-state. It has not been until recently in academia that women have been studied in depth for their contributions to the formation of national identity among diasporic populations. Generally, in the Middle East a person's ethnic heritage is passed on through the father's lineage, but the mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, who share their stories and cultural knowledge with children directly impact how individuals grow up to view themselves as having Palestinian nationality. This project focuses on the women's role in the production, conforming, and resistance to certain aspects of the Palestinian collective narrative, through women's roles in family life, every day practices, kinship, and social and religious rituals. This project examines how women construct their identities and express themselves through these activities, and it shows how these expressions influence the Palestinian collective narrative.


Copyright Owner

Bethany May Melendy



File Format


File Size

119 pages