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Scholey, Pamela Jean (1999) From Detroit to Deir Dibwan: Negotiated Identities of Unmarried American-Palestinian "Returnee" Girls in the West Bank. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis examines the gender, ethnic, and national identities and identity issues of unmarried Muslim Palestinian-American girls who have relocated to the West Bank, with or without both of their parents. In the post-Oslo Accord era there has been a sudden influx of such "returnees" to the Ramallah-area, which is noted for its predominant migration pattern to the US. The research findings are compared against recent literature on migration and identity where there is much celebration of and emphasis placed on the "hybridisation" of identity, predicated on the new dissolution of national borders. Borrowing from recent poststructuralist feminist, anthropological, and psychoanalytic literature, it is found that rather than deploying singular hybridised identities the girls acted out a number of "identity options" depending on the context and their various identity investments. The thesis traces the history of Palestinian migration to the US this century, and the varying racial, ethnic, and national identity positions available to the girls in the US and in the West Bank. Notions of "honour" and enmeshed family relations encourage or allow the parents of the girls interviewed to "deposit" their Palestinian identities in the bodies of their daughters. The imperatives of "honour" and the requirement that their daughters marry Muslims, and preferably Palestinians, compel Palestinian parents to relocate their daughters to the West Bank in order to "protect" them and facilitate their marriages to Muslim Palestinians in the West Bank. Through the girls' practices surrounding decisions to wear the hijab, attend university, or marry, it is possible to detect their investment in various "American" identities, which frequently contradict their own and their parents' "Palestinian" identities. It is in the ways they find to accommodate their conflicting identities that the girls devise new American, Palestinian, and Muslim ways of being.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:37

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