Cite: Banko, Occupational Hazards, Revisited: Palestinian Historiography

Banko, Lauren. “Occupational Hazards, Revisited: Palestinian Historiography.” Middle East Journal 66.3 (2012): 440-52.



The following article is intended to pick up where anthropologist Ted Swedenburg left off 23 years ago in his article on ethnographic research in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Very little has been written on the same theme of hazards and problems faced by historians researching in the West Bank, particularly those who carry out archival research. For historians and other researchers it is important to know the problems of finding and accessing archival sources in both the West Bank and Jerusalem. Certain sources are easy to find and access, while a great many others are either easy to find and impossible to access, or impossible to find in the first place. At the same time, Palestinian researchers are barred from accessing much of their own documented history if those documents are located outside of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Foreign historians often take for granted the ability to use these archives, while their counterparts — the national subjects of the archive — are unable to do so in the same way. The general problems discussed in Swedenburg’s 1989 article remain (some have intensified), and historians face these on top of others that are unique to our methods of research.

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