Northwestern Events Calendar


World War I & European Intervention: Origins of the Palestine Mandate | Israel & Palestine: Joint Speaker Series Exploring Fundamental History

Israel & Palestine: Joint Speaker Series Exploring Fundamental History

When: Monday, April 15, 2024
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM CT

Where: Harris Hall, Room 108, 1881 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Margaret Sagan  

Group: Israel & Palestine: Joint Speaker Series Exploring Fundamental History

Co-Sponsor: The Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies
Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Global & Civic Engagement


Since this fall, intense attention has turned to Israel and Palestine. Many on campus who are following events find themselves with basic questions about actors, geography, contested narratives and even the words used to describe what is happening. This speaker series aims to help fill some of these gaps. Jointly sponsored by the Middle East and North Africa Studies Program, the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies and the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs, the initiative seeks to offer the Northwestern community knowledge on this vital history from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. Sessions will feature renowned scholars from the U.S. and abroad from a wide range of personal and academic backgrounds, and are open to members of the Northwestern community.

In this talk, Elizabeth F. Thompson will delve into World War I and European intervention. War and its aftermath, in the years 1914–23, were revolutionary for Palestine and Greater Syria. World War I upset social relations between peasants and landlords, citizens and the state, and Muslims, Christians and Jews. Those who suffered from hunger, disease and Ottoman military dictatorship welcomed the arrival of the British army and soldiers of the Arab Revolt in 1917–18. But as soon as the guns fell silent, a new conflict began over what government should replace Ottoman rule. While many Arabic-speaking Palestinians joined in declaring an independent Syrian Arab Kingdom, the British imposed a League of Nations mandate. It was celebrated by Zionists as a Jewish homeland but condemned by most Muslims and Christians as colonial counterrevolution. Emerging from the violent crucible of the Great War, the mandate institutionalized an asymmetry of political and economic power between Jews and Arabs that would empower militants over peacemakers over its 25-year history. Please note that the location for this event in the series is Harris Hall, Room 108.

Elizabeth F. Thompson is Professor of History and Mohamed Said Farsi Chair of Islamic Peace at the American University in Washington, D.C. Her most recent book is How the West Stole Democracy from the Arabs:The Syrian Congress of 1920 and the Destruction of its Historic Liberal-Islamic Alliance (Grove Press, 2021). She is currently writing Blood Tax, a study of the revolutionary impact of recruiting four million soldiers of color to serve in Allied armies of World War I and the violent counterrevolution against their demands for equality, led by the Paris Peace Conference itself.

Registration is recommended but not required. 

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