The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine

Salim Tamari

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This rich history of Palestine in the last decade of the Ottoman Empire reveals the nation emerging as a cultural entity engaged in a vibrant intellectual, political, and social exchange of ideas and initiatives. Employing nuanced ethnography, rare autobiographies, and unpublished maps and photos, The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine discerns a self-consciously modern and secular Palestinian public sphere.

New urban sensibilities, schools, monuments, public parks, railways, and roads catalyzed by the Great War and described in detail by Salim Tamari show a world that challenges the politically driven denial of the existence of Palestine as a geographic, cultural, political, and economic space.


"In The Great War and the Remaking of Palestine, Salim Tamari extends his already significant contributions to the historiography of late Ottoman Palestine. In a collection of linked essays, he covers topics from sewage and city planning to a nearly forgotten early Palestinian feminist, to Ottoman cartography and ethnography of Palestine. This diversity alone makes the point that Palestine is a site in which a vast array of historical subjects can be explored." -- Ilana Feldman ― American Historical Review Published On: 2018-12-01

"Tamari offers a compelling and entertaining investigation of Palestinian society before and during World War I through eight essays investigating what he terms “'the remaking of Palestine.'" ― International Journal of Middle East Studies

"A valuable addition to our knowledge of Palestine in the late Ottoman and early British Mandate periods. . . .The mix of sociological approaches and historical depth is enlightening as evidenced by the themes the essays explore and Tamari’s fine analytical eye."
 Journal of Palestine

From the Inside Flap

"Palestine’s recent history, indeed Palestine’s and Palestinians’ very essence, has long been contested in the service of contemporary political agendas. In this important and timely contribution, Salim Tamari brings further nuance to Palestinian thought, culture, and society during the fateful last decade of the Ottoman Empire in a refreshingly nonpolemical way. Utilizing scholarly, representational, journalistic, and descriptive texts, he complicates received wisdom as well as enduring debates about not only Palestine and Palestinians but also regional and imperial dynamics."—Hasan Kayali, author of Arabs and Young Turks: Ottomanism, Arabism, and Islamism in the Ottoman Empire, 1908­–1918

"This is a welcome addition to Palestinian historiography by the foremost local historian of Palestine today. Tamari’s multi-sited exploration of the country’s late Ottoman history is empirically rich and attentive to the bigger analytical picture. Set against the persistent denial of Palestine as an affective geographic, cultural, political, and economic space, the arguments of this book are significant, original, timely, and well made."—Jens Hanssen, author of Arabic Thought beyond the Liberal Age: Towards an Intellectual History of the Nahda

"This seminal collection of essays makes a major contribution and is a perfect capstone for Tamari's groundbreaking and must-read trilogy on Palestinian social history."—Mark LeVine, author of Heavy Metal Islam: Rock, Resistance, and the Struggle for the Soul of Islam

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