The Making of Sectarianism: Arab Christians in British Mandate Palestine


Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships




This project investigates the declining political fortunes of Palestinian Arab Christians during the mandate period from a prominent and influential position within a broad secular nationalist movement in the early years of the mandate to a position of almost total exclusion from Muslim-dominated national politics by the late 1930s. It argues that this loss of power resulted from the British colonial administration’s early decision to promote communally organized legal and political structures in Palestine, on the model of imperial policy in India and elsewhere. This move deliberately encouraged the construction of sectarian identities among the Palestinian Arabs, and Arab Christian leaders subsequently attempted to reconstitute their religious community as a political entity.