Navigating the Time of Arab Jerusalem: A Perspective from Within
colonial epistemologies
Palestinian futurity
Arab Jerusalem

For many Palestinians, the colonial denial of Palestinian self-determination in an independent nation-state has rendered futile the very notion of a future. But it is imperative to challenge the colonial logics that produce the native’s future as always already failed, unachievable, or impossible. This essay examines snippets of the life of Arab Jerusalem between the two major ruptures of 1948 and 1967 to deconstruct colonial and nationalist epistemologies of time and to challenge the persistently violent present and its domination of Palestinian pasts and futures. Using as its lens the memories and attachments of Jerusalemites who lived, worked, and struggled in the city, the essay examines the ways in which they thought of, imagined, produced, fulfilled, or were deprived of a future—in other words, how Jerusalemites shaped futurity. Such a nonlinear unfolding of time challenges dominant perceptions of the Nakba as constituting a clean break between past and present.

Author biography: 

Haneen Naamneh holds a PhD in sociology from the London School of Economics. Her research focuses on the social and legal history of Arab Jerusalem and its municipality.

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