[P4735] Hebron in the Modern Period: Social, Political, and Economic Dynamics in Southern Palestine

Created by Alex Winder
Sunday, 11/19/17 10:30am


This panel focuses on the city of Hebron and the greater surrounding region of Mount Hebron as a dynamic social, political, and economic ecosystem during the Ottoman, British Mandate, post-1948, and post-1967 periods. Within the historical literature on modern Palestine, Hebron has been and remains relatively marginal in comparison to the coastal cities of Gaza, Jaffa, and Haifa; the more northerly highland cities of Jerusalem and Nablus; and other religiously significant cities like Nazareth and Bethlehem. Home to al-Haram al-Ibrahimi/the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one of the most significant sites of shared religious meaning to the three major Abrahamic faiths, Hebron’s historical significance has often been reduced to that of violent religious and communal confrontation, a characterization that has retained currency in recent decades by the provocations perpetrated by Israeli settlers inside Hebron’s Old City and the ascendance of Islamic politics in the city. This focus on conflict has often come at the expense of analysis of Hebron’s social, cultural, political, and economic dynamics—as a city, on a regional level, and in relation to other Palestinian (and, especially after 1948, Jordanian) cities and regions.
Drawing on a number of different kinds of sources—including tax registers and court records, police records and arrest registers, diaries and memoirs, and reports from local and international monitoring groups—the papers on this panel seek to illuminate the history of this often overlooked and understudied Palestinian city and its hinterlands. These papers address the significance of changes in Hebron’s political status over the past two centuries—including during the period of Ottoman Tanzimat reforms, the transition from Ottoman to British Mandate rule, the integration along with the rest of the West Bank into Jordanian administration in the aftermath of the 1948 war, and its occupation by Israel post-1967—and the impact of regional and global geopolitics on local actors and networks. Moreover, this panel analyzes the refraction of state–society relations through formal and informal institutions, thus shedding light on local complexities as well as on various authorities’ attempts to utilize, control, coopt, activate, or suppress alternative sources of (political, economic, and/or social) power indigenous to the city of Hebron and greater Mount Hebron.


Palestinian American Research Center (PARC)






Kimberly B. Katz

(Towson University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Issam Nassar

(Illinois State University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair; Discussant;

susynne McElrone

(New York, NY)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Alex Winder

(Brown University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Belal Shobaki

(Hebron University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;