Drawing on a variety of source materials, ranging from popular print media to poetry, film, political treatises, and biographies and autobiographies, this work examines the ways in which gender operated in forming the political identities of Palestinian Arabs and Jewish Zionists. By exploring both gender definitions and their expressions in the everyday lives of two contesting peoples, it provides an understanding of how gender affects the discourse of conflict between two competing national movements. Through this balanced discussion of the histories of Jewish and Palestinian women during Palestine's formative years, it makes a contribution to scholarship in Middle Eastern and women's history. Through a discussion employing the materials and methods of history, sociology, literary criticism, and anthropology, this study provides an examination of identity formation in Palestine during the first half of the 20th century and an analysis of both Palestinian and Jewish women in their respective national movements, highlighting gender as a lynchpin of international conflict.
Sheila Katz is associate professor at the Berkelle College of Music and has written articles and reviews for Gendering the Middle East, Middle East Journal, Arab Studies Review, and Harvard International Review.