Literary and Critical Theory Partition Literature
by
Charlotta Salmi
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 July 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780190221911-0013

Introduction

Partition is commonly understood as the division of a state into two or more entities, where at least one successor states assumes continuity with the pre-divided whole. The most famous partition cases in modern history formed part of British devolvement or decolonization—in Ireland (1919), India (1947) and Palestine (1948)—and arose as a consequence of Cold War superpower rivalries (which divided Germany in 1945, Korea in 1953, and Vietnam in 1954). More recently, it has figured as part of democratization processes in the Balkans, North Africa, and other regions of the world. The protracted conflicts that have often followed partition, such as the Irish Troubles and the territorial disputes in Kashmir and Israel and Palestine, have linked the political and cultural phenomenon to sectarian violence, terror and ethnic nationalism. As a consequence, its impact on cultural and critical narrative has been diverse: partition figures both as a political and as a social rupture—the source of widespread violence and displacement—and as an ongoing source of trauma that continues to shape ethnic and national identities. Critical studies therefore draw not only on postcolonial theory and world literary criticism, but also on history, political theory, philosophy, and sociology more broadly. The subdivisions of this article follow a similar structure, highlighting the origins of partition studies in the social sciences and emphasizing its interdisciplinary methods and debates. As a critical category, partition first gained ground in the 1990s in South Asian cultural and revisionist historical studies. Early Marxist and feminist works gave voice to marginal narratives and previously silenced stories. Their methods influenced literary critics, such as Joe Cleary, who applied their critical concepts to literatures both stemming from partition regions and also engaging directly with state division. Cleary’s critical account of partition in Irish and Israeli and Palestinian literature, in turn, forged the comparative framework that informs the field today. Although partition has been applied as a critical lens for studying divided Germany, the Balkans, Korea, Cyprus, Vietnam, and apartheid South Africa, this article will focus on works that consider Israel and Palestine and India and Pakistan, due to the prominence of these regions in the development of partitions studies as a critical field.

Key Works

While most critical studies build on Joe Cleary’s model for studying partition as a social, historical, and cultural phenomenon, Cleary 2002 drew inspiration from Stephen Brockmann’s early work in German studies, which has also continued to influence Irish and Palestinian historiography. Brockmann 1999 applies the distinction between cultural and political nationhood to German literature, which Cleary 2002 turned into a framework for reading how state division and separatist ideologies are either ratified or challenged in cultural narratives. This approach has been further systematized by critical collections, such as Jassal and Ben-Ari 2007, and individual interventions, such as Greenberg 2005, which both theorize and analyze partition motifs in a range of partition contexts.

  • Brockmann, Stephen. Literature and German Reunification. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511519468Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early work from German studies that juxtaposes representations of cultural nationhood (Kulturnation) and nation-statehood (Staatsnation) in German literature from 1945 to the 1990s. Brockmann’s analysis focuses on national division and reunification. The theoretical introduction is frequently cited in partition studies across the disciplines.

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  • Cleary, Joe. Literature, Partition and the Nation-State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511483110Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A groundbreaking comparative work on partition literature, which explores how different cultural narratives ratify or contest state division. The study is divided into two larger historical theoretical chapters and three genre or author-based studies.

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  • Greenberg, Jonathan D. “Generations of Memory: Remembering Partition in India/Pakistan and Israel/Palestine.” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 25.1 (2005): 8–110.

    DOI: 10.1215/1089201X-25-1-89Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An informative overview that maps key tropes and concepts in partition criticism across two different regional contexts. Divided into easily navigable subsections it traces shifts in collective memory and historiography through first- and second-generation narratives.

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  • Jassal, Smita Tewari, and Eyal Ben-Ari, eds. The Partition Motif in Contemporary Conflicts. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2007.

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    A collection of essays that explores partition as a theme, motif and “organizing principle” in post-partition cultures. A theoretical introduction is followed by studies that cover a range of areas: from India and Palestine to Bangladesh, Germany, and Korea.

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Anthologies and Collections

Some of the earliest critical works on partition appeared as historical and theoretical introductions to anthologies of short stories and archival material in South Asia: Alok Bhalla’s Stories of Partition and Mushirul Hasan’s Inventing Boundaries (see also Revisionist Histories) are the most prominent among these. Since these pioneering anthologies, collections of partition narratives and short fiction have followed feminist cultural criticism and revisionist histories in mapping marginal, oppressed, or silenced voices. More recent editions are mostly aimed at an international audience, offering both a platform for less internationally read or recognized writers and previously unseen source material for further critical study.

South Asian Literature

Since Bhalla 1999, an early anthology of partition stories, several literary critics, and historians have sought to expand and diversify the range of works in publication. New editions, sch as Memon 1998 and Ravikant and Saint 2001, have sought to provide further or improved translations, while alternative collections, such as Fraser 2008 and Sen 1997, have brought different regions into focus. Likewise, feminist critics in works such as Menon and Butalia 1993 have complemented their historical and critical studies with anthologies of selected and edited women’s fiction and nonfiction. Bhalla 2006, a second edited collection, is the first to bring together author interviews around the topic of partition.

Palestinian and Israeli Literature

In the context of Israel/Palestine, anthologies have tended to follow critical revisionist trends, thereby focusing on marginal Palestinian writers’ voices over established, or canonical, Israeli writers’ works. In Palestinian literature, Jayyusi 1992, an extensive and politically focused anthology, is the most established. Jayyusi 1992, like Assadi 2012 and the other works in the series of anthologies as well as the recent Gaza focused edition Abu Seif 2014, deal less directly with the historical partition and more with the everyday experience of living with state division and post-partition conflict. Alongside these works, collections such as Glanville 2006 focus on women’s writing or regional writers in particular. Many larger Arabic or Middle Eastern literary anthologies include sections on partition or Palestinian literature (the recent anthology Aslan 2011 is representative of this trend), while a small number of collections of Hebrew literature are engaging with post-partitioned statehood, ethnic identities, or marginalization—most notable among these is the Alcalay 1996 anthology, which speaks to the author’s major critical effort to bring Mizrahi Jewish experiences to light (see also Partition and Identity). Shaked 1999, a collection of Israeli novellas, is one of the few translated anthologies of Israeli literature that has a sociopolitical focus similar to other partition collections and anthologies.

  • Abu Seif, Atef, ed. The Book of Gaza: A City in Short Fiction. Manchester, UK: Comma Press, 2014.

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    This collection of ten translated short stories from Gaza, written in the 1970s and 1980s, includes a brief introduction on the development of the Palestinian short story form. With editorial support from Chelsea Milsom and Lauren Pyott.

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  • Alcalay, Ammiel, ed. Keys to the Garden: New Israeli Writing. San Francisco: City Lights, 1996.

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    A specialist collection of Mizrahi Jewish prose and poetry, from partition to the present day, that introduces a range of less-known and translated writers. Each selection starts with a brief introduction and biography.

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  • Aslan, Reza, ed. Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East. New York: W. W. Norton, 2011.

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    This general anthology of Middle Eastern literature (including South and West Asia), contains three sections on partition literature: “Rise Up! Pakistan and the Independence of Urdu Literature, 1940–1950,” “I Am Arab: Arabic Literature at Midcentury,” and “Between the Dusk and Dawn of History: Urdu Literature after Partition.”

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  • Assadi, Jamal, ed and trans. The Story of a People: An Anthology of Palestinian Poets within the Green-Lines. Series on Palestinian Literature. New York: Peter Lang, 2012.

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    One volume among a series on Palestinian literature that includes translated collections on lesser-known Palestinian writers, organized by region or topic. Other volumes include a collection of Palestinian women’s fiction, Loud Sounds from the Holy Land, edited and translated by Jamal Assadi (New York: Peter Lang, 2011), and edited short stories Three Voices from the Galilee, edited and translated by Jamal Assadi (New York: Peter Lang, 2010).

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  • Glanville, Jo, ed. Qissat: Short Stories by Palestinian Women. London: Telegram, 2006.

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    An edited collection of translated short stories by Palestinian women living in the territories, within Israel, or in the Diaspora. Includes a brief introduction by the editor.

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  • Jayyusi, Salma Khadra, ed. Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.

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    A large compilation of works by Arabic- and English-language poets, including short stories and extracts from novels and personal accounts. The anthology includes a comprehensive critical introduction outlining key developments in Palestinian literature before and after 1948 and major shifts in form and genre.

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  • Shaked, Gershon, ed. Six Israeli Novellas. Boston: David R. Godine, 1999.

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    A compilation of short works by six canonical Israeli writers, from Aharon Appelfeld to Benjamin Tammuz, written in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Briefly introduced and contextualized by the editor as stories that reflect the changing political and social landscape of Israel.

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Archives and Data Resources

Several institutions and organization host extensive online archives of primary sources that include material on partition. These archives are mainly focused on general South Asian history, such as South Asian Studies Virtual Library (SARAI) hosted by Columbia University, Digital South Asia Library at the University of Chicago, and South Asian Archive at Cambridge University; however, notable collections on the Middle East are also found in private archives, such as Gale Engage’s Archive Unbound: Gale and Primary Source Media and Adam Matthew’s Archives Direct. These archives tend to contain official documents, maps, and government papers, chiefly from the British Foreign Office. Two exceptional archives are the 1947 Partition Archive, which has collected oral histories similar to the material used by researchers in works such as Butalia 2000, Chawla 2014, and Menon and Bhasin 1998 (all cited under Subaltern and Feminist Studies), and the Columbia International Affairs Online archive, which houses American policy papers on a range of recent partition cases (see also Social Studies).

Historiography

There is a rich field of historical studies on the origins and outcomes of state divisions around the world. However, a few historiographical movements have been especially influential in cultural, literary, and sociopolitical studies of partition. Revisionist schools that arose in Israel and India in the 1980s and 1990s produced new critical and comparative approaches for reading and reflecting on partition that continue to inform cultural studies to the present day. In India, scholars turned to oral testimony and personal memory to produce history from “below,” that is, to write history based on the everyday experiences of ordinary people rather than official or state actors. This effort was aided by larger developments in South Asian historiography, specifically the Subaltern Studies Collective, which sought to challenge the bias and privileged perspectives preferences in nationalist histories, and through Marxist and feminist postcolonial studies. The “new historians” of Israel and their Palestinian contemporaries, on the other hand, wrote “post-Zionist” critiques of state ideology and its structural violence.

Revisionist Histories

The opening of government archives in the United Kingdom, India, and Israel has produced studies that correct, critique, and revise dominant nationalist narratives. In South Asia, historians, in works such as Pandey 2006, have highlighted structural silences in the official record or have challenged the “two-nation” theory of the preexisting division of culturally distinct communities. Hasan 2000, Khan 2007, and Roy 2012, for example, focus instead on the role of individuals, power politics, and imperial policy in bringing about partition. Dingwaney Needham and Sunder Rajan 2007, likewise, collects important contributions to the ongoing debates about the source and nature of Indian secularism and multiculturalism. These studies build on important interventions in alternative histories or oral testimonies to consider how and where state narratives fail to account for complexity (see also Subaltern and Feminist Studies). In the context of Israel/Palestine, the Israeli “new historians” (in works such as Pappe 2006 and Shlaim 2009) and prominent Palestinian scholars, in works such as Masalha 2012, have similarly explored the unrecognized role of the Israeli state in the displacement or expulsion of the Palestinian population. Corresponding, if less critical, developments can be traced in Irish studies, where Hennessey 1998 has focused on the multiplicity and intermingling and overlap of different English, Irish, unionist, and nationalist identities leading up to state division.

  • Dingwaney Needham, Anuradha, and Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, eds. The Crisis of Secularism in India. Durhan, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

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    This edited collection brings together articles by prominent historians and social scientists on the origins, nature, and desirability of “secularism” in India. It takes the Indian Emergency as its starting point and considers material up to the sectarian violence in Gujarat in 2002.

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  • Hasan, Mushirul, ed. Inventing Boundaries: Gender, Politics and the Partition of India. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

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    A collected history that extends and builds on Hasan’s earlier anthology: India’s Partition: Process, Strategy and Mobilization (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). Collating a selection of pamphlets, scholarly essays, and extracts from nationalist writings, Hasan critiques dominant historical narratives and traces the gradual nationalization of Hindu and Muslim identity politics.

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  • Hennessey, Thomas. Dividing Ireland: World War 1 and Partition. London: Routledge, 1998.

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    An engaging overview of Irish history that tracks the development of national identities from the early 20th century to World War I. By looking at official records, Hennessey explores how imagined communities were forged out of overlapping and competing British and Irish cultural influences.

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  • Khan, Yasmin. The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.

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    A comparative study that looks at Indian and Pakistani state history to explore both their national reconstruction and the origins of their international rivalry. Includes comprehensive timelines and maps.

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  • Masalha, Nur. The Palestine Nakba: Decolonising History, Narrating the Subaltern, Reclaiming Memory. London: Zed Books, 2012,

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    This polemical study challenges hegemonic, elite, masculinist, and nationalist discourses and narratives of partition. It combines a reading of Palestinian experiences in popular and gendered memories, oral narratives, and state archives.

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  • Pandey, Gyanendra. Routine Violence: Nations, Fragments, Histories. Edited by Mieke Bal and Hent de Vries. Cultural Memory in the Present Series. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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    A historiographical study of India that theorizes the making and maintaining of majorities and minorities as acts of structural state violence. Includes the previously published article “In Defense of the Fragment: Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today.”

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  • Pappe, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: One World, 2006.

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    A detailed study that presents a case for a premeditated and systematic plan by the Israeli Defense Forces to ethnically cleanse Palestine. It draws on both archival materials and Palestinian oral history of 1947–1948 and includes multiple maps.

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  • Roy, Kaushik, ed. Partition of India: Why 1947? Edited by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, B. D. Chattopadhyaya, and Richard M. Eaton. Debates in Indian History and Society Series. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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    This collection of essays on the elite politics leading up to partition by prominent Indian historians, including Partha Chatterjee and Gyanendra Pandey, addresses the question why partition occurred in 1947 and whether it was inevitable.

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  • Shlaim, Avi. Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations. London: Verso, 2009.

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    An edited collection of Shlaim’s engaging historical and journalistic writings on the conflict. Organized around three main watersheds: the partition of 1948, the Six-Day War in 1967, and the Oslo Accords in 1993; Shlaim discusses both politics and historical and cultural narratives from 1948 to 2008.

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Subaltern and Feminist Studies

In the late 1990s feminist critics and Subaltern studies scholars started producing “personal histories,” compiled through diaries, letters, ethnographic fieldwork, and interviews, to map the hitherto silenced experiences and memories of partition violence. These studies sought to highlight the silent or suppressed stories from otherwise underrepresented groups in society. In particular, they were concerned with trauma and gender-based, sectarian, or religious violence. Prominent among these early studies were Butalia 2000 and Menon and Bhasin 1998, groundbreaking works on collective trauma and marginal experiences of partition, as well as Pandey 2001, an account of communal memory and forgetting of sectarian violence. Multiple studies have appeared since then, building on their narratives and using their methods to recuperate marginal voices, whether those of refugees and migrants or women and religious minorities, as seen in Chawla 2014, Roy and Bhatia 2008, and Das 2007. Zamindar 2007 and Kaul 2001 are studies that have tried, in turn, to trace the long-term effects of partition on identities and communities, while Abu-Lughod 2013 responds to Western representations of Muslim women.

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila. Do Muslim Women Need Saving? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.

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    This anthropological study traces debates around Muslim women’s rights through Western representations—media, popular culture, and political rhetoric—and ethnographic work on Muslim women across a range of contexts from Palestine to Egypt and Bangladesh.

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  • Butalia, Urvashi. The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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    A seminal study that gives a “personal history” of partition violence, specifically as occurred around Rawalpindi district in 1947. Butalia narrativizes oral interviews, documents, diaries, and newspaper reports in an accessible and engaging form.

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  • Chawla, Devika. Home, Uprooted: Oral Histories of India’s Partition. New York: Fordham University Press, 2014.

    DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256433.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This recent study explores questions of home and identity through the oral histories of ten Hindu and Sikh refugee families in Delhi. It combines reportage, personal memory, and political study with direct interviews and biography.

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  • Das, Veena. Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2007.

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    An anthropological and ethnographic study of sectarian violence that draws on fieldwork conducted in the 1970s and 1980s with migrant Punjabi families and Sikh communities following the 1984 riots. The study focuses on rumors and their appropriation into everyday life to analyze how different forms of speech operate without giving people a voice.

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  • Kaul, Suvir, ed. The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2001.

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    A collection of essays that looks at alternative or forgotten testimonies and records of partition. It combines readings of fictional narratives, archival material (family letters), and national monuments with analysis of rehabilitation policies, anthropological fieldwork, and ethnography.

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  • Menon, Ritu, and Kamla Bhasin. Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

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    A key feminist response to Mushirul Hasan’s historical anthology (Hasan 2000, cited under Revisionist Histories), which uses firsthand accounts, letters, diaries, and interviews to theorize the nexus of patriarchy and nationalism in the sectarian, gender-based violence of partition.

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  • Pandey, Gyanendra. Remembering Partition: Violence, Nationalism and History in India. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511613173Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A subaltern studies account of partition violence that focuses on the silences in official records by foregrounding private memories and individual histories in local communities. It focuses on fieldwork, local records, and interviews conducted in the Punjab, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.

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  • Roy, Anjali Gera, and Nandi Bhatia, eds. Partitioned Lives: Narratives of Home, Displacement, and Resettlement. Delhi: Pearson Longman, 2008.

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    A collection of essays that combines analysis of interviews and personal testimonies with close readings of literature and film to consider the post-partition afterlives of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh migrants and refugees in South Asia and North America.

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  • Zamindar, Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali. The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

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    An ethnography of Urdu-speaking North Indian Muslim families that were divided between Delhi and Karachi in 1947, which uses oral histories, newspaper archives, and government records to trace the “long” effects of partition on communities and individual lives.

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Political Histories

In anglophone studies of the Middle East, Palestinian history was almost entirely absent until the 1980s, after Edward Said’s influential political essay challenged international perceptions of Palestinians and the received narrative of the conflict. Said 1980 paved the way for studies by sociologists and cultural historians, in works such as Farsoun 1997, Massad 2006 and Lentin 2008, who not only presented, but also affirmed the existence of Palestinian collective experiences and nationalist claims. Such contributions also inspired their own revisions; Brown 2003 seeks to reroot critical understandings of Palestinian politics in an Arab context rather than in relation to Israel. Broadly speaking, these studies, however, also took their cue from, and fed into, the work of the “new historians” in Israel in the 1990s, whose work comprises both radical critiques (such as Pappe 2014) and reflections by prominent cultural critics, such as Rose 2005 on Zionism as an ideology and state policy. Such interventions have been extended to comparative contexts in works such as Eliash 2007, an exploration of Irish and Israeli Zionism.

  • Brown, Nathan. Palestinian Politics after the Oslo Accords: Resuming Arab Palestine. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003.

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    This recent history seeks to redress existing studies that explore the development of Palestinian politics in relation to Zionism/Israel. It maps debates about the Palestinian judicial, fiscal, and education systems through an internal (domestic) focus and a regional (Arab) lens.

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  • Eliash, Shulamit. The Harp and the Shield: Ireland, Zionism and the State of Israel. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2007.

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    This historical study explores Zionism as it developed between two partition contexts, specifically Ireland’s identification with and relationship to the State of Israel, leading up to the partition of Palestine (1937–1947) and in the decades following (1948–1963).

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  • Farsoun, Samih K. Palestine and the Palestinians. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.

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    A social and political history of Palestine that explores Palestinian claims to self-determination through partition up to the Oslo Accords.

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  • Lentin, Ronit, ed. Thinking Palestine. London: Zed Books, 2008.

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    This collection of essays builds directly on Said’s study to consider Palestinian representations of Palestine as a consciousness, political identity, and territory. It pitches these representations as existing in a dialectical relationship to Zionism.

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  • Massad, Joseph A. The Persistence of the Palestinian Question: Essays on Zionism and the Palestinians. London and New York: Routledge, 2006.

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    A collection of essays on Zionism and Palestinian nationalism exploring the origins and development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Focuses in particular on the discourse of “terrorism.”

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  • Pappe, Ilan. A History of Modern Palestine: One Land, Two Peoples. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511992728Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critical history that draws on the subaltern studies model, focusing on peasants, workers, and families to chart both Israeli and Palestinian national histories, comparatively and critically, from 1850 to the second Intifada.

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  • Pappe, Ilan. The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge. London: Verso, 2014.

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    A history of the idea, ideal, and ideology of the Israeli state, paying special attention to the challenges and debates that arose as part of the post-Zionist movement in Israeli cultural and intellectual life in the 1990s.

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  • Rose, Jacqueline. The Question of Zion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

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    A long political essay that tracks the history and development of Zionism—as a messianic vision, psyche, and political discourse—through three different strands of thought: the work of Zionist visionaries, refusenik writing, and contemporary Israeli fiction.

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  • Said, Edward W. The Question of Palestine. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.

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    An extended political essay on the Palestinian question as told through the experience of Palestinians. An explicit intervention in American public discourse that makes a claim for Palestinian political and human rights.

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Social Studies

Partition has been widely explored as a sociopolitical phenomenon in anthropology, cultural studies, and human geography, most notably under the interdisciplinary umbrella of border studies. Research in this subfield, as represented in works such as van Schendel 2005; Chatterji 2007; and Nash, et al. 2013 on Bengal and Northern Ireland, respectively, combine literary and linguistic approaches with sociology, ethnography, and psychology to explore the lived realities of borders as well as the possibility of coexistence and collaboration in borderlands and the aftereffects of borderlines on landscapes, psyches, and social structures—as seen in Anderson and Bort 1999, Sufian and LeVine 2007, and Bleiker 2005. Significant among these studies are works not only on highly militarized border areas (such as Korea and Palestine), but also on temporary barriers, such as the Berlin wall (as explored in Gerstenberger and Braziel 2011). They are often theoretical and comparative, placing partition regions both in wider historical and geographical contexts, as does Zartman 2010, and as part of dynamic cultural processes of segregation and separation. Partition has also been explored via borders in an educational context: Matray 2004–2007, a series of volumes, considers how historical and political conflicts are shaped around different prominent borderlines in the world.

  • Anderson, Malcolm, and Eberhard Bort, eds. The Irish Border: History, Politics, Culture. Liverpool Studies in European Regional Cultures 7. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 1999.

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    This collection uses archival material to map histories of cross-border cooperation, exchange, and coexistence. Essays consider the role of the border in shaping identities, language usage, and political campaigns. Also contains literary extracts.

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  • Bleiker, Roland. Divided Korea: Toward a Culture of Reconciliation. Borderlines 25. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

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    A rare genealogical study exploring how Korean identities have both shaped and been shaped by questions of security. Bleiker draws on personal experience and methodologies from anthropology, sociology, psychology, and literary and linguistic studies to make the case for security and conflict as socially constructed realities.

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  • Chatterji, Joya. The Spoils of Partition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511497384Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This social and economic study of the partition in Bengal explores the difficulties of implementing division, the communities who moved, and those who stayed behind as well as what happened to the governmental gains, or “spoils,” made from partition.

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  • Gerstenberger, Katharina, and Jana Evans Braziel, eds. After the Berlin Wall: Germany and Beyond. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

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    Edited essays that explore the effects of the Berlin Wall on both German culture and other geographical contexts. Taken as a whole, the study traces the influence of the wall in literary and visual culture and its impact on German geography, psychology, and politics.

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  • Matray, James F., ed. Arbitrary Borders: Political Boundaries in World History Series. 16 vols. New York: Chelsea House, 2004–2007.

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    Educational series that focuses on different territorial divisions and the different movements in people and goods that undermine them. Books include studies on Vietnam, Korea, Ireland, South Africa, Israel, Yugoslavia, and British India. Individual books are descriptive and accessible with information boxes, definitions, maps, and chronologies.

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  • Nash, Catherine, Bryonie Reid, and Brian Graham. Partitioned Lives: The Irish Borderlands. Heritage, Culture and Identity Series. Edited by Brian Graham. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2013.

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    A collaborative study that explores the impact of the border on everyday life in the borderlands, from partition to the present day. The authors combine cartographic, historiographic, and materialist approaches to track changes both in the landscape as well as in local cultures and collective identities.

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  • Sufian, Sandy, and Mark LeVine, eds. Reapproaching Borders: New Perspectives on the Study of Israel-Palestine. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2007.

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    A collection of essays that borrows a range of approaches from anthropology, sociology, gender studies, and medical humanities to map interactions between Jewish and Palestinian Arab populations. The essays focus on relation between nonelite members, as experienced through legal and immigration systems and archaeology and social infrastructure.

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  • van Schendel, Willem. The Bengal Borderland: Beyond State and Nation in South Asia. London: Anthem, 2005.

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    This extensive study considers the human and territorial effects of the border between India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar (Burma). Schendel uses government and newspaper archives to map changing migration patterns and shifts in state jurisdictions in the Bengal borderland and draws theoretical links to larger global processes of deterritorialization and reterritorialization.

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  • Zartman, I. William, ed. Understanding Life in the Borderlands: Boundaries in Depth and in Motion. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

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    A wide-ranging collection of essays focusing on borderlands throughout history, from ancient Egypt to contemporary Cyprus and the West Bank, that includes a theoretical introduction by the editor on different models for studying borders as dynamic “social processes.”

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Political Theory

Partition criticism has also drawn on political studies that explore civil war, sectarian violence, and nation-building in both theory and practice. Key among these are the political histories of partition provided by commentators and social scientists in works such as Fraser 1984, Schaeffer 1999, and Deschaumes and Ivekovic 2003, which categorize the different historical and social characteristics of state division. Subsequent, and equally informative and influential, studies have focused on the respective strengths and weaknesses of partition as a solution to sectarian violence or conflict (as seen in the policy works Sambanis 1999 and Slocum-Bradley 2008) and on its role in ethnic nationalism and different philosophies or theories of statehood, as discussed in Smith 2000 and in studies such as Bianchini, et al. 2005 and Panitch and Leys 2002.

  • Bianchini, Stefano, Sanjay Chaturvedi, Rada Iveković, and Ranabir Samaddar. Partitions: Reshaping States and Minds. Abingdon, UK: Frank Cass, 2005.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203334539Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Four political-philosophical essays that both theorize partition as a concept and explore the relationship between statehood and nationhood in the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, and the Balkans.

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  • Deschaumes, Ghislaine Glasson, and Rada Iveković, eds. Divided Countries, Separated Cities: The Modern Legacy of Partition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    A collection of sociopolitical, historical, and creative essays that tackle partition as a lasting solution or problem. The edition brings together case studies from a range of partition contexts: India/Pakistan, Czechoslovakia/Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Berlin, and Ireland.

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  • Fraser, T. G. Partition in Ireland, India and Palestine: Theory and Practice. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 1984.

    DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-17610-6Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An early comparative study that focuses on the event rather than the aftermath of partition, namely, how partition arose as a theoretical and political option in each context.

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  • Panitch, Leo, and Colin Leys, eds. Socialist Register 2003: Fighting Identities; Race, Religion and Ethno-nationalism. London: Merlin, 2002.

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    A collection of essays that explores race, religion, ethnicity, and nationalism in the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and the “West.” The study has an explicit focus on exclusivist identities as a response to globalized capitalism. Includes case studies on Palestine, Yugoslavia, and India.

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  • Sambanis, Nicholas. “Ethnic Partition as a Solution to Ethnic War: An Empirical Critique of the Theoretical Literature.” Policy Research Working Papers 2208. Washington, DC: World Bank Development Research Group, October 1999.

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    A policy working paper that uses data on civil wars to reassess and challenge dominant theories of partition. It presents a detailed case against state division as a successful solution to ethnic nationalist conflicts. Available online by subscription.

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  • Schaeffer, Robert K. Severed States: Dilemmas of Democracy in a Divided World. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 1999.

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    An updated and reworked version of Warpaths: The Politics of Partition (New York: Hill and Wang, 1990)—a seminal work that gives a comparative political history of partition in three different contexts: postcolonial nation-formation, Cold War state division, and post-1991 processes of “democratization.”

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  • Slocum-Bradley, Nikki, ed. Promoting Conflict or Peace through Identity. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2008.

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    An edited collection of essays from psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, geography, and history that take a policy perspective on the relationship among borders, identities, and conflict. Includes a chapter on Israel/Palestine.

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  • Smith, Anthony D. The Nation in History: Historiographical Debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2000.

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    An edited collection of essays stemming from lectures delivered at the Historical Society of Israel in 1999. As a whole, the study maps different theoretical approaches to nationhood, discussing a range of historical paradigms for understanding the role of ethnic and cultural identities in nationalism.

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Literary Criticism

In literary criticism partition has figured both as a theme, or motif, and as a wider historical and political context. Broadly speaking, South Asian literary studies have focused on representations of partition as an event—a social and cultural rupture—in which violence and trauma resonate in fictional genres and forms, while partition studies of Israeli and Palestinian literature, in turn, have approached historical and ongoing state division as part of larger processes of nation narration and resistance. Studies on Irish literature, on the other hand, while frequently dealing with conflict or cultural nationalism (particularly in the Irish Revival or during the Troubles) have focused less on partition, specifically, as either event or central context. The notable exception is Maureen E. Ruprecht Fadem’s recent monograph, which borrows frameworks from South Asian partition studies. A subset of criticism on literature from all three regions applies concepts from subaltern and feminist historiography to read nationalist and postcolonial representations of gender. Alongside these direct engagements with partition, a rich body of work traces cross-cultural, pre- and post-partition identities as they come into contact with particular political theories, realities of nation-statehood, and borderlands (see also Social Studies). Finally, the partition border, its violence and porosity, has provided a metaphor and model for other nonpartition contexts and literary theories and practices.

Partition as Theme and Trope

Partition in South Asia is chiefly a past event. The bulk of South Asian literary critical studies on partition therefore focuses on its representation as a complete historical event, albeit one for which sociopolitical rupture continues to resonate culturally. Critics working in South Asia, in works such as Chopra 2009 and Saint 2010, have drawn on Holocaust and trauma studies to analyze partition violence and its memory in texts, while interdisciplinary and international scholars, in works such as Jalal 2013, have read particular authors’ engagement with partition as a means of exploring collective and individual memories of partition. Increasingly, however, critics, in works such as Cilano 2011 or Kabir 2013 (cited under Intermedial and Transmedial Studies), are turning their attention to the less-studied partition of East and West Pakistan, or considering shifts in imaginative responses to partition across time and different language literatures, such as Kumar 2004 and Roy 2010 do. Fadem 2015, a work in the Irish context, applies similar approaches to texts from Northern Ireland.

  • Chopra, Vinod K. Partition Stories: Mapping Community, Communalism and Gender. Delhi: Anamika, 2009.

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    A descriptive study that explores community and communalism in short stories of partition—looking at both English-language works and Hindu, Urdu, Bangla, Punjabi, and Sindhi translations.

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  • Cilano, Cara. National Identities in Pakistan: The 1971 War in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction. London: Routledge, 2011.

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    An extended analysis of how literary narratives of the 1971 partition between East and West Pakistan engage with dominant nationalist discourses. Draws on historical documents as well as English and vernacular fiction.

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  • Fadem, Maureen E. Ruprecht The Literature of Northern Ireland: Spectral Borderlands. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781137466235Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An examination of partition tropes and styles in poetry, drama, and fiction from Northern Ireland that borrows approaches from South Asian partition studies to map developments across recent history.

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  • Jalal, Ayesha. The Pity of Partition: Manto’s Life, Times, and Work across the India-Pakistan Divide. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013.

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    An interdisciplinary study that uses Manto’s short stories and letters to rethink partition in individual and cultural memory. Jalal challenges the focus on trauma and rupture in memory studies and proposes a greater understanding of how memories develop over time and space.

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  • Kumar, Sukrita Paul. Narrating Partition: Texts, Interpretations, Ideas. New Delhi: Indialog, 2004.

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    A general study that considers imaginative responses to partition—as not just rupture, but also renewal—in key Hindu, Urdu, and English texts. It has a particular focus on noncanonical, less internationally read or translated authors.

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  • Roy, Rituparna. South Asian Partition Fiction in English: From Khushwant Singh to Amitav Ghosh. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2010.

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    An analysis of the development of partition as a theme across canonical English language fiction from South Asia from the 1950s to the present day.

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  • Saint, Tarun K. Witnessing Partition: Memory, History, Fiction. London: Routledge, 2010.

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    A focused critical study that builds on South Asian and Holocaust memory studies to look at reflexive literary testimonies, or modes of remembrance, in English as well as Hindi, Urdu, and Punjabi novels and short stories.

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Partition, Nation, and Nationalism

Literary studies have also engaged with partition as an ongoing, conflicted process of state division that not only informs nationalist imaginaries, but shapes cultural discourses of resistance and counter-hegemonic subject positions. Palestinian and Israeli studies, such as Domb 2006, Abdel-Malek and Jacobson 1999, and Suleiman and Muhawi 2006, trace nationalist tropes, identities, and ideology in pre- and post-partition texts, while recent works, such as Bernard 2013, map the representation and circulation of such identities abroad. This focus on partition as the larger historical backdrop for cultural identities has also influenced studies on South Asian literature. Critics, in works such as Cilano 2013 and Kabir 2009, for example, are considering the role of partition in the construction of national and secessionist identities in Pakistan and Kashmir.

  • Abdel-Malek, Kamal, and David C. Jacobson, eds. Israeli and Palestinian Identities in History and Literature. London: Macmillan, 1999.

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    A collection of essays that takes a sociological and literary approach to explore identity and coexistence in Palestinian and Israeli society and culture. The analyses cover not only literature, but also language and film.

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  • Bernard, Anna. Rhetorics of Belonging: Nation, Narration, and Israel/Palestine. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2013.

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    A study that maps the cultural representation, transmission, and circulation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in widely translated and internationally read texts.

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  • Cilano, Cara N. Contemporary Pakistani Fiction in English: Idea, Nation, State. London: Routledge, 2013.

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    A monograph that explores how literature reimagines the past, present, and future to facilitate a sense of collective belonging, in Pakistani texts from the time of partition to post-9/11.

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  • Domb, Risa. Identity and Modern Israeli Literature. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006.

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    A survey of Israeli literature that maps literary developments alongside the history of the state. Its analysis focuses on ideology, memory, and cultural and national identity in major prose fiction from 1948 to the present.

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  • Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009.

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    An interdisciplinary study that combines literary studies, trauma studies, historiography, and political and philosophical theory and fieldwork to map representations of hegemony, resistance, and survival in photography, cinema, poetry, handicraft, art, and literature.

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  • Suleiman, Yasir, and Ibrahim Muhawi, eds. Literature and Nation in the Middle East. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006.

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    This collection builds on Brockmann’s and Cleary’s paradigms for reading partitioned national identities in literature. While its scope is regional, the essays focus on Palestinian literature, specifically poetry and short stories.

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Partition and Identity

Literary critics and theorists have also borrowed from political theory to explore how partition identities are shaped in combination with and through post-Enlightenment ideas of statehood. Studies such as Mufti 2007, Kumar 2008, and Hochberg 2008 consider the influence of secularist thought in the cultural formation of minority and majority identities, while Alcalay 1993 and Brenner 2003 trace longer regional traditions of coexistence. Alongside these comparative, historically focused works, more theoretical studies, such as Rose 1996 and Weber 2013, an edited collection, theorize the possibility and limitations of coexistence using psychoanalysis and deconstruction.

  • Alcalay, Ammiel. After Jews and Arabs: Remaking Levantine Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993.

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    A rare study that maps the links between Arab and Jewish literature and culture in the Levant from 1930 to the present.

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  • Brenner, Rachel Feldhay. Inextricably Bonded: Israeli Arab and Jewish Writers; Re-visioning Culture. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003.

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    A commentary on the connections between contemporary Israeli Arab and Israeli Jewish writers, especially as they relate to and reflect on Zionism.

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  • Hochberg, Gil Z. In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2008.

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    A detailed account of how Jewish and Arab identities have been mutually constituted in Orientalist, colonial, and postcolonial discourses. Chapters focus on contemporary Israeli literature.

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  • Kumar, Priya. Limiting Secularism: The Ethics of Coexistence in Indian Literature and Film. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.

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    A discussion of the possibilities and limitations of post-partition coexistence in India, especially as they take shape alongside ideas of secularism. Focuses on both contemporary English-language and vernacular literature and film.

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  • Mufti, Aamir R. Enlightenment in the Colony: The Jewish Question and the Crisis of Postcolonial Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

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    A theoretical exploration of the role of the minority in post-Enlightenment liberal and secular culture that draws comparisons between the “Jewish Question” in Europe and the Muslim minority in India. Readings range from British Victorian literature to partition-era Indian writing.

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  • Rose, Jacqueline. States of Fantasy. Clarendon Lectures in English Literature 1994. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.

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    A psychoanalytic reading of statehood in a variety of literary contexts, ranging from British and Israeli to South African writers.

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  • Weber, Elisabeth, ed. Living Together: Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Violence and Peace. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013.

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    A collection of essays that apply Derrida’s ideas of forgiveness, reconciliation, and living together to areas of past or current conflict. Includes chapters on Israel/Palestine (Joseph Massad) and the Muslim minority in India (Priya Kumar).

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Partition and Gender

In South Asian literary criticism partition studies have also borrowed from subaltern and feminist historiography to read representations of structural violence in literary texts. These studies are often critiques of nationalist metanarratives or the androcentric focus of existent literary criticism. Ray 2000, Didur 2006, Kirkpatrick 2000, and Mehta and Mookerjea-Leonard 2015, for example, explore the representation of women in colonial and nationalist discourse, while Misri 2014 and Daiya 2008, in turn, map how ethnic identities rely on and perpetuate particular constructions of gender. They draw on a range of sources from short stories to archival material, oral testimonies, and contemporary media to show how cultural identities have become gendered over time. Gopal 2005 and Ball 2012, on the other hand, map challenges to received ideas of gender in radical literary movements and resistance literature. Increasingly, studies such as Gopal 2005 and Daiya 2008 are also considering the representation of masculinity or male-gendered violence in literature and culture.

  • Ball, Anna. Palestinian Literature and Film in Postcolonial Feminist Perspective. New York: Routledge, 2012.

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    A postcolonial feminist reading of Palestinian literature and film with a focus on women’s writing and gendered representations in nationalist discourse and resistance narratives.

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  • Daiya, Kavita. Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender, and National Culture in Postcolonial India. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008.

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    A study that considers the gendering of ethnic identities—Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim—by looking at not only literary and cinematic, but also media representations of gendered violence. It discusses both normative intimacies and masculinities in cultural constructions of nationhood.

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  • Didur, Jill. Unsettling Partition: Literature, Gender, Memory. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

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    An exploration of gendered experiences and representations of violence and trauma in a range of historical counter-narratives. Deals mainly with short stories (in translation) and firsthand testimonies, but also considers the work of canonical novelists such as Bapsi Sidhwa.

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  • Gopal, Priyamvada. Literary Radicalism in India: Gender, Nation and the Transition to Independence. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2005.

    DOI: 10.4324/9780203391174Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critical study that explores radical politics and literature in the period of transition and partition. The study takes the Progressive Writers Association as a starting point and looks at the representation of both femininity and masculinity in novels, short stories, and films.

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  • Kirkpatrick, Kathryn, ed. Border Crossings: Irish Women Writers and National Identities. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2000.

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    A collection of essays that deals with the conflict among nationalist, unionist, and feminist thought in Irish women’s writing. A feminist corrective to androcentric studies of nationalist literature.

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  • Mehta, Rini Bhattacharya, and Debali Mookerjea-Leonard, eds. The Indian Partition in Literature and Films: History, Politics, and Aesthetics. Foreword by Antoinette Burton. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2015.

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    A recent collection of essays that draws on partition memory studies to consider gendered violence, trauma, and displacement in anglophone and vernacular literature and cinema.

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  • Misri, Deepti. Beyond Partition: Gender, Violence, and Representation in Postcolonial India. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

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    Feminist cultural history of violence from 1947 to the present day, which considers both communal and structural violence as part of nation-formation and the state, against men and women, in partition novels, short stories, films, and protest movements.

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  • Ray, Sangeeta. En-gendering India: Woman and Nation in Colonial and Postcolonial Narratives. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822382805Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A broader study of postcolonial Indian narratives that traces the representation of women in colonial, nationalist, and postcolonial discourse from 1857 (the “Sepoy Rebellion”) to 1947, including British Victorian fiction and Bengal renaissance writers.

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Partition as Critical Model

Partition borders and boundaries have also become critical concepts, adapted and adopted by critics and theorists to think through other philosophical, literary, and cultural phenomena. The most obvious examples come from the literary critical work done in border studies, such as Viljoen 2013, an edited collection, that reference partition boundaries when thinking through borders in different cultural and geographical contexts; or theoretical work on statehood and cultural identities, such as Brown 2010, on contemporary sovereignty. However, partition as a sociopolitical experience has also lent a framework for understanding other forms of division and segregation—whether of class, race, or minority cultures—in studies such as Simpson 2012, a work on American literature. In a more theoretical vein, Apter 2013 debates the use of the partition border as a model for translation studies, while Hawley 1996 and Black 2010 explore border crossing as a metaphor for subaltern modes of address and literary ethics of alterity, respectively.

  • Apter, Emily. Against World Literature: On the Politics of Untranslatability. London: Verso, 2013.

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    A continuation of Apter’s earlier work, The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006) that makes a case against using “border-crossing” as an all-purpose term for translation. Apter reemphasizes the force of the state, sovereignty, checkpoints, and borders in limiting translation by looking at the Israeli/Palestinian case in particular.

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  • Black, Shameem. Fiction Across Borders: Imagining the Lives of Others in Late Twentieth-Century Novels. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.

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    A philosophical literary study that explores representations of social difference in texts from America, India, and South Africa. It theorizes a literary ethics of alterity through ideas of “border crossing.”

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  • Brown, Wendy. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. New York: Zone, 2010.

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    This study theorizes shifts in sovereignty and cultural identity across a range of contexts from Africa, Europe, North America, the Middle East, and South Asia. It draws on political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis to query how the walled state shapes contemporary politics and culture.

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  • Hawley, John C., ed. Cross-Addressing: Resistance Literature and Cultural Borders. New York: State University of New York Press, 1996.

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    This collection of essays on Maori, Australian Aboriginal, American, Irish, Palestinian, and South African cultures explores whether there is a border-crossing, nonessentialized addressivity common to subaltern cultures.

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  • Simpson, Tyrone R., II. Ghetto Images in Twentieth-Century American Literature: Writing Apartheid. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

    DOI: 10.1057/9781137014894Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A study of “racial partition” in urban landscapes that analyzes the diverse imaginings of ghetto life in black and white American fiction from World War II to the present day.

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  • Viljoen, Hein, ed. Crossing Borders, Dissolving Boundaries. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2013.

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    Edited essays that look at borders as literary themes and symbols in South African and Scandinavian literature. The collection is a product of collaboration between the Boundaries Project (Grensprojekt) at North-West University, South Africa, and the Border Poetics Group at Tromsø University, Norway.

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Intermedial and Transmedial Studies

Alongside the established body of literary criticism on partition, there is a growing field of intermedial and transmedial studies that focus on representations of division and conflict in alternative media, visual art, and performance. These studies borrow approaches from social studies and partition historiography to think through the public memory of violence and the staging of national identities. While comparisons to film have been fairly standard in Indian and Palestinian literary critical work, Menon 2013, a work on Indian drama, and Abdel-Malek 2005 and Shohat 2010, studies on Palestinian and Israeli cinema, respectively, place these traditions in a wider cultural context of representing the “other.” Critics, in works such as Suleiman 2004 and Azoulay 2011, have, in turn, tracked a history of conflict and coexistence not through narrative—whether literary or cinematic—but in social and political language and photographic records. Similar approaches are taken in Kabir 2013 and Stein and Swedenburg 2005, works on South Asia and Israel/Palestine, respectively, that put forward alternative ways of reading the aftereffects of partition and its continued cultural battles in popular media and visual art.

  • Abdel-Malek, Kamal. The Rhetoric of Violence: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Contemporary Palestinian Literature and Film. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    A comparative study that considers “rites of passage” in a range of cinematic and literary genres and forms, from short stories to novels and poetry from 1948 to the present. The main focus is on Palestinian literature and film, but, where possible, comparisons are made to Israeli texts.

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  • Azoulay, Ariella. From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, 1947–1950. London: Pluto, 2011.

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    An extended piece of photojournalism that uses photography from Israeli state archives, history, and political theory to explore partition, war, and independence.

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  • Kabir, Ananya Jahanara. Partition’s Post-amnesias: 1947, 1971 and Modern South Asia. New Delhi: Women Unlimited, 2013.

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    An exploration of ways of moving past narrative modes of remembering in a study that looks at both partitions of the subcontinent by comparing fiction with lyric and cinema with visual art.

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  • Menon, Jisha. The Performance of Nationalism: India, Pakistan and the Memory of Partition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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    A critical study of the representations of partition in drama and cinema from 1960–2010. Menon explores how both religious and secular, and national and regional identities are performed in ways that resurface in moments of sectarian violence.

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  • Shohat, Ella. Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation. London: I. B. Tauris, 2010.

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    Originally published in 1989. Updated with new extensive postscript. A theoretical account of the development of Israeli cinema, from early footage of “the Holy Land” to contemporary film. It focuses, in particular, on representations of conflict and the other in Israeli society, whether the Israeli Arabs, Palestinians, or Sephardi Jews.

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  • Stein, Rebecca L., and Ted Swedenburg, eds. Palestine, Israel, and the Politics of Popular Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

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    This collection of essays explores politics and power in Israeli and Palestinian popular culture, specifically as played out in comics, cyberculture, music, press, and cinema.

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  • Suleiman, Yasir. A War of Words: Language and Conflict in the Middle East. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511819926Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An analytical study of the role of language as symbol in society. Chapters look at public rhetoric and linguistics to analyze how competition over resources and territory has been politically represented and socially sustained. Includes a chapter on Arabic and Hebrew in Israel/Palestine.

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