The role of language in constructing Palestinian collective memory



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The purpose of this thesis is to discover the ways in which language plays a role in constructing Palestinian collective memory. My research draws mainly upon primary literary sources, including Emile Ḥabībī’s Sudāsiyyat al-ayyām as-sittah and Yaḥyá Yakhlif’s “Tilka al-mara’ah al-wardah” and “Nūrmā wa rajul al-thalj,” and places these texts within a theoretical framework supported by secondary sources. While most prior research has focused on anthropological or geographic approaches to cultural memory studies, my project takes a linguistic approach to understanding how collective memory is shaped. Through analysis of remarkable linguistic features appearing in these short stories, I seek to demonstrate how linguistic reference, personalization of emotion, narrative strategies and temporalities, and metaphorical language create speech acts that facilitate the processes of transmitting individual remembrance into collective awareness that underlie the formation of collective memory. I will also seek to examine the language used in these literary works for forms of rupture, circularity, lack of reference, or ineffability and the ways in which those features are indicative of experiences of trauma and of attempts to grapple with those experiences of trauma.