Minds in Exile: An Intellectual History of Palestinians 1945–70


ACLS Fellowship Program


“Minds in Exile” examines debates within Palestinian thought—and against Arab thought—after WWII. It analyzes how these polemics played out textually, socially, and materially in the publishing circles of Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Gaza, Jerusalem, Khartoum, and Kuwait. "Minds in Exile" centers on the two decades separating the 1948–1949 and 1967 Arab Israeli Wars, often dismissed as an era when Palestinians sat on the sidelines of history and partook in their “own derogation and unimportance.” “Minds in Exile” dismantles this “lost years” narrative, retelling, instead, how different Palestinians responded—in thinking and writing—to the Nakba: their violent dispossession and depopulation with the establishment of Israel in 1948. “Minds in Exile” asks what ideas emerge and what intellectual trends come to play in the wake of national ruin. Yet to reflect on exile, while living it, is never a straightforward process. This was doubly so for Palestinians after their dispersal into a still-decolonizing Arab world with its own challenges. Indeed, in much of the Arab world after 1948, odds were stacked against Palestinian writers to critique and publish; yet they managed to do so in ways that redrew the region’s intellectual map. “Minds in Exile” historicizes this process of Palestinian-Arab-global intellectual exchange and investigates its tensions and antinomies between 1945 and 1970.