Our new book, Nakba: Palestine, 1948, and the Claims of Memory is about what 1948 has meant for Palestinians, as refracted through their memories, individual and collective, rendered public through being elicited by researchers and grandchildren, volunteered creatively, or presented in conventionalized memorial practices. The essays by a group of established and emerging scholars, all of whom are doing research on Palestinian memory, contribute important material to the ongoing historical reconstruction of the events of 1947 and 1948 and supplement the careful oral historical work that is being done by Palestinian research centers.
ut that is not the main purpose of this book. We are less concerned about what these memories tell us about what happened in the past than what work memories do, and can do, in the present. Among the important work that memory does is to affirm identity, manage trauma, and make political and moral claims. We look especially at how memories are produced, when people are silent, when collective memory proliferates, and what forms Palestinian memories of the cataclysmic events of 1948 take, recognizing that no memory is pure or spontaneous.