Oral histories have well served populations with a history of disenfranchisement. Groups of people whose written history may be distorted, such as the history of Palestine and Palestinians, fall under this category — Palestinians can use their voices to share their experiences through oral history and have it archived to educate people.
Oral history has been crucial in archiving and documenting palestinian history and culture. for instance, many of the regional, historical, and cultural significance behind Palestinian embroidery [tatreez] has been preserved through oral history.
The goal is to collect oral history interviews of displaced Palestinians in the US. You can be a refugee, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation Palestinian. All Palestinians have a history of displacement as being a Palestinian in the diaspora is intrinsically connected to the ongoing colonization of Palestine.
- We are searching for Palestinian refugees willing to share their story of migration. During our conversation (which can be anonymous), we explore themes such as memory, identity, resistance, and religion.
- Narrators near the NY/NJ area will have the opportunity to curate portraits and documentary images that portray the Palestinian experience. This aspect of the project is entirely optional given the risks that accompany refugee/asylee and Palestinian identities. However, for those who opt in, this documentary work will offer a new format to supplement the auditory nature of the oral histories and elevate visibility.
- developing high-school curriculum (previous examples)
- community events — tatreez workshops, oral history listening sessions, etc.
- introducing oral histories into scholarship
- and your suggestions!
meet the team
Asma Barakat (she/her)
Asma Barakat is a Palestinian based in America. Currently, she is a 2nd year graduate student in sociology at The New School, with interests in race and ethnicity and settler-colonialism. She graduated from Montclair State University in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degree in political science. She is dedicated to generating Palestinian knowledge production and centering Palestinians in the struggle towards liberation.
Shanaz Deen (she/her)
Shanaz Deen graduated Princeton University in 2021 but remains involved in their Religion and Forced Migration Initiative, now as an alumni researcher. Across her time, she has conducted dozens of oral histories, prepared research for active asylum cases, and interned for organizations that co-sponsor families. Currently, she is pursuing a master’s degree at Union Theological Seminary focusing on Islamic Studies and researching humanitarian aid policy at the International Rescue Committee.