Palestinian Studies

Book Talk | Nadim Bawalsa | Transnational Palestine: Migration and the Right of Return Before 1948

transnational palestine event poster

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Webinar. Register here >>>>

About the Event 

Transnational Palestine repositions the Palestinian struggle to return to Palestine from 1948 to 1925, when British Mandate forces began unlawfully denying tens of thousands of Palestinian migrants in the Americas their legally protected rights to Palestinian nationality. It therefore simultaneously repositions the exceptional treatment of Palestine in international law from 1948 to the early years of Britain’s thirty-year occupation of Palestine. But in elucidating these historical precedents to 1948, Transnational Palestine shows that the transnational effort to defend the rights of Palestinians also began well before the Nakba. Those migrants who, as of 1925, were left stateless nationals of Palestine across the Americas came together and protested the British policy, firmly demanding their rights to Palestinian nationality in hundreds of periodicals and petitions that reached the desks of European colonial officials and Palestinian nationalists alike. 

Nadim Bawalsa will be in conversation with Beshara Doumani, Mahmoud Darwish Chair in Palestinian Studies.

In bringing this untold history to light, Transnational Palestine offers that we Palestinians today must activate our expansive diaspora. Beyond the 5.6 million registered Palestinian refugees, the millions of descendants of the first Palestinian migrants to set sail from Palestine in the latter 19th century are scattered today across every corner of the globe and continue to have an internationally recognized right to Palestinian nationality. Realizing our impressive numbers, our collective historical and cultural lived experiences, and our shared legal and political imperatives is today perhaps the most crucial step we can take as an exiled Palestinian people bearing witness to the ongoing erasure of our existence. 

About the Author

Nadim Bawalsa is a historian of modern Palestine and author of Transnational Palestine: Migration and the Right of Return before 1948 (2022), winner of the 2023 Nikkie Keddie book award by the Middle East Studies Association and the 2023 Palestine Book Award. Bawalsa is currently the associate editor for the Journal of Palestine Studies. Previously, he was an instructor of History in New York City before serving as commissioning editor at al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. His other writings have appeared in the Jerusalem Quarterly, NACLA Report on the Americas, the Journal of Palestine Studies, al-Shabaka, and in two edited volumes by Routledge on the Middle East mandates and diaspora/migration studies. Bawalsa earned a PhD in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University in 2017, and an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University in 2010. He currently resides in Amman, Jordan.