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Dr Anne Irfan has a new working paper just published, part of the Durham Middle East Paper series from the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University. In ‘An Unusual Revolution: The Palestinian thawra in Lebanon, c. 1969-82’, she examines the events of the Palestinian thawra in 1969-82 to assess how, why, and with what repercussions it can be understood as a revolution.

Irfan examines the historical developments that precipitated the thawra, including the background to the refugee camps’ establishment in Lebanon and their connection to the politics of Palestinian displacement. This provides crucial context for understanding the events of the thawra itself, which are then outlined. She assesses the various arguments around whether this was truly a revolution, probing the wider significance of Palestinian tendencies to interpret it as such. Finally, she concludes with a consideration of the thawra’s regional legacy, particularly in relation to the so-called ‘Arab Spring’. Central to this paper is the notion that the Palestinian thawra provides a case study for understanding how ‘revolution’ is understood in the popular consciousness, and the myriad meanings that are attached to the term. In so doing it illuminates the value of engaging with subjectivities in order to gain a deeper understanding of lived experiences and social history.

Read the working paper here