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Hamidian Palestine: Politics and Society in the District of Jerusalem

This scholarly and well-written book treats the history of late Ottoman Palestine not as a prologue to the present political question as usual, but as a subject in its own right. To avoid teleology, Johann Büssow does not tell the story of homogeneous national societies, but reconstructs Palestine as a social space for different sorts of interactions between individual people and groups. This sort of polyphonic history writing enables the reader to confront a multitude of voices, in contrast to the accustomed dual society model of “Jews versus Arabs” which ignores diversity to try to uncover the historical roots of the present conflict.

 

This scholarly and well-written book treats the history of late Ottoman Palestine not as a prologue to the present political question as usual, but as a subject in its own right. To avoid teleology, Johann Büssow does not tell the story of homogeneous national societies, but reconstructs Palestine as a social space for different sorts of interactions between individual people and groups. This sort of polyphonic history writing enables the reader to confront a multitude of voices, in contrast to the accustomed dual society model of “Jews versus Arabs” which ignores diversity to try to uncover the historical roots of the present conflict.

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