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Title page for ETD etd-07312010-124201

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Nisselson, Rachel Eve
URN etd-07312010-124201
Title Remembering the Future: Francophone Perspectives on the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Degree PhD
Department French
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Nathalie Debrauwere-Miller Committee Chair
Julia Cohen Committee Member
Robert Barsky Committee Member
Tracy Sharpley-Whiting Committee Member
  • future
  • memory
  • Francophone literature
  • Israel-Palestine conflict
  • trauma
Date of Defense 2010-05-13
Availability unrestricted




Dissertation under the direction of Professor Nathalie Debrauwere-Miller

This dissertation takes as its focus the role of memory in the representation of the Israel-Palestine conflict within Francophone literature. The prevailing narratives of both Israelis and Palestinians emphasize memories of past suffering in order to encourage empathy—and moral and military support—from an international audience, as well as antagonism for the other. These monolithic narratives often propagate stereotypical articulations of the identity of the other: the Israeli as occupier and the Palestinian as terrorist. The works of Francophone authors Slimane Benaïssa, Hubert Haddad, Edmond El Maleh, and Elias Sanbar, however, challenge these flattened depictions, highlighting hybrid identities and counter-narratives. In addition to promoting a re-imagination of the actors in the conflict, I contend, these texts encourage a more complex rendering of the region’s history by exposing the multiplicity of narratives and by uncovering lost, forgotten, or obscured stories. As textual spaces in which divergent accounts are forced to confront one another, I argue, these works ask us to reconsider the past and reflect on how these polyphonic histories might play out in the future.

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