This thesis moves beyond the narrative of an essentialized, homogeneous Palestinian identity and instead historicizes and teases out the complexities of Palestinian identities. This work explores how refugee camps in Lebanon function as homes and as sites of memory and identity, but also as sites of marginalization and places of control. By engaging with Palestinians living outside the camps, I argue that all of Lebanon serves simultaneously as a home and as a carceral space. This project also explores how civil society and socio-economic status affect perceptions of identities. These factors are discussed within the parameters of the Lebanese socio-political context and against the constraints of power enforced by the Lebanese state. Through using oral histories, I explore how the past affects the present and how individuals assert their identities and make sense of their present and future lives as they process grand narratives that have been passed through generations.
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Thesis advisor: Sedra, Paul
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