Intellectual networks, language and knowledge under colonialism: the work of Stephan Stephan, Elias Haddad and Tawfiq Canaan in Palestine, 1909-1948
Irving, Sarah Rosalind
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This thesis examines the biographies and intellectual and cultural works of Elias Haddad, Stephan Stephan and Tawfiq Canaan, Arab writers who lived in Jerusalem in the late Ottoman and British Mandate periods, a time when Palestinian identity was in a state of flux and when Ottoman, British and Zionist interests impacted upon Palestinian Arab society, economy and politics. Informed by ideas about colonial and postcolonial relations, the impacts of context and power on the development of texts, and theories of networks and entanglements, it argues that even in the absence of comprehensive biographical knowledge about individual actors, we can locate them in their intellectual and political environments. It also argues for the importance of using non-elite genres – including language manuals, travel guides and translations – in researching intellectual history, and for understanding debates and discourses within colonial societies. Drawing on my historical research into the lives of Haddad, Stephan and Canaan, and combining it with textual analysis, this thesis makes the argument for more diverse ideas of Palestinian identity than are often discussed for the Mandate period, and for the need to include a wider range of contributors than prominent intellectuals and politicians in our assessment of the discourses in play in this key period of Palestinian history.