Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Aseel Sawalha, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Christopher Toulouse, Ph.D.


This study analyses the relationship of members of the Palestinian diaspora with their host countries and how these conditions affect their relationship to their Palestinian identity. The two case studies chosen are Palestinian communities in New Jersey suburbs and the Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. In the case of Palestinians in Lebanon, their longing for return is shaped by the fact that they are essentially foreigners in Lebanon. Despite being the third or fourth generation of Palestinians born in Lebanon, these refugees are excluded socially, economically, and politically. Thus, their connection to Palestine is tied directly to their status as refugees. For Palestinian Americans, their American citizenship allows them to visit Palestine, where connections to their identity are formed in their youth. These connections are reinforced in diaspora spaces where Palestinian Americans connect to Palestine by creating ties to their heritage and to each other. Additionally, following the events of September 11, Palestinian Americans began to feel othered in the United States and sought refuge in those diaspora spaces, further affecting their relationship to their identity and with the United States.