Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Dohra Ahmad

Second Advisor

Raj Chetty

Third Advisor

Catina Bacote


This dissertation analyzes Palestinian autobiographical writing that discusses homeland, exile, and homesickness, with a focus on an intergenerational understandings of Palestine, both as an idea and as a physical place. It concentrates on the personal writing of Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine, written in Arabic and in English, and uses feminism and postcolonialism, especially the works of scholars from the Middle East, as its theoretical base. This necessity for writing and showcasing the personal, presented in the autobiographies themselves and my own analysis of them, comes from the need to defy the occupation, and the reshaping and renaming of Palestine. It thus becomes a revolutionary act when Palestinians assert their lives and use the personal pronoun “I” against the backdrop of their continuous erasure, confiscation of their lands, dismantling of their houses, stealing of their culture, and silencing of their voices. My central texts are autobiographical works by Jean Said Makdisi and Suad Amiry, Edward and Najla Said, Mourid and Tamim Barghouti, as well as the poetry of Nathalie Handal and Naomi Shihab Nye. Additionally, I will incorporate my own autobiographical published poems as a Palestinian who studied in the United States.