An-Najah University Journal for Research - B (Humanities)


This study aims to trace the construction of affiliations and modes of belonging in Out of Place (1999) by Edward Said, in conjunction with his other works, that transgress real connections and present realities, and challenge the coherence of conventional notions of identity and detachment. It argues that Said reassesses his attachments and collective identity politics, not by rejecting his filiations but by finding a way to reconstruct or retrieve them. By thinking of Said and Darwish contrapuntally, this paper shows that Said works through these detachments, and moves between multiple identities to reconstruct a ‘filiative’ personal narrative which in turn contributes to the (re)-construction of a whole Palestinian national narrative. Building on Benedict Anderson’s concept of nationality, this paper illustrates that the national self emerges from the destabilisation of a unified, coherent subjectivity; it comes out of an “estrangement” and detachment from one’s self. Anderson explains that “nationality is necessarily an effect of the narratives we tell in the face of an incoherent sense of one’s self, a literal alienation from one’s self” (1991: 204). This detachment allows Said to open himself to the deeply disorganised state of his real history and origins, and to re- construct and form them to form in a historical experience, piecing together all the different narrative fragments to understand what really happened in Palestine in 1948 and beyond (Said, 1999: 6).