The Social History of Gaza: the Ongoing Past in the Present

As a part of BZU Museum’s Hakawi programming and Gaza in Context Series, BZU Museum presented a discussion on 14th of November titled: “The Social History of Gaza: the Ongoing Past and Present” featuring Abaher el- Saqqa, Bassam Haddad and Rana Barakat.

Short Description: As the genocidal destruction continues in Gaza and throughout Palestine, we gather today to discuss the context of Gaza over time. In conversation with Abaher al Saqqa, we will explore how we live in the present through various lenses of the past. As the author of the book: Gaza: a Social History under British Colonial Rule, 1917-1948, we welcome the opportunity to be in conversation with Abaher about how Gaza as a city changed under colonial mandate rule into Gaza as a colonial district and how that change proved foundational for Gaza after 1948. The past is present and reading the people and place through the longer historical lens is not only necessary, but also provides us with a sobering view of what the settler colonial intentions may be in the moment.


Abaher El-Saqqa is a Palestinian sociologist with a PhD from the University of Nantes, 2005. He was a Researcher and lecturer at the University of Nantes from 1998 to 2006 and is currently a professor at Birzeit University at the department of social and behavioural sciences.

Rana Barakat (Moderator) is associate professor in the department of history and director of the BZU Museum.

Bassam Haddad (Moderator) is Founding Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

 This event is part of our ongoing series: Gaza in Context Collaborative Teach-In and Podcast Series

Birzeit University Museum is a part of collaborative programming under the current title Gaza in Context with the following co-organizers: Arab Studies Institute, Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, George Mason University’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Program, Rutgers Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Birzeit University Museum, Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Brown University’s Center for Middle East Studies, University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Theory, Brown University’s New Directions in Palestinian Studies, Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, Georgetown University-Qatar, American University in Cairo’s Alternative Policy Studies, Middle East Studies’ Global Academy, University of Chicago’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, CUNY’s Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center, George Mason University’s Center for Global Islamic Studies, University of Illinois Ghicago’s Arab American Cultural Center, George Washington University’s Institute for Middle East Studies.

The co-organizers below are currently convening weekly teach-ins and conversations on a host of issues that introduce our common university communities, educators, researchers, and students to the history and present of Gaza, in context.

November 14, 2023