Palestinian Modernism: Meaning Making and Alternative Historical Practices in Adania Shibli's "Minor Detail"
Palestinian modernism
potential history
colonial modernity
Adania Shibli
the Palestinian novel

This article explores both the collapse of Palestinian futurity and practices of alternative meaning making in Adania Shibli’s novel Minor Detail. Through her unique negotiation with Palestinian literary modernism, including her defamiliarizing engagement of realist aesthetics within the text, as well as the defining role she assigns Israeli settler colonialism in producing modernist alienation, Shibli troubles historical truth and avoids the close-ended museumification of events. Despite the collapse of Palestinian futurity within the text, Shibli’s literary experimentation creates gaps not only in the totalizing nature of Israeli occupation, but also in its historical hegemony, reflecting the practice of what Ariella Azoulay terms “potential history.” While Shibli’s stuttering and irrational Palestinian narrator, as well as the ambiguous nature of her narrative form, might not reflect straightforward resistance to settler-colonial totality, they unsettle historical narrative from within and open up new ways to consider truth and meaning.

Author biography: 

Fatima Aamir is a current JD candidate at the University of Toronto and completed her MA at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Comparative Literature in 2021. Her literary and legal research interests lie in imagining liberation.

Read more