Episode 05: Ted Swedenburg

Ted Swedenburg is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas. His first book, Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 Rebellion and the Palestinian National Past, is a study of popular memory based on oral interviews with elderly peasants living in Palestinian villages in the Galilee and the West Bank. Since his first book, Dr. Swedenburg’s research has focused on popular music in the Middle East and North Africa. He has also taught at the American University in Cairo from 1992 to 1996. In this episode, Anna Tyshkov spoke with Dr. Swedenburg about his first book, questions and methods of oral history and its relationship to power and the peasant class. They also discuss current politics, and the unified Palestinian resistances surrounding events in May 2021. Dr. Swedenburg shares his personal reflections on the debts of solidarity, and his experience of fieldwork in Palestine.


Episode Map:

Introduction: 0-5:45

Autobiographical notes: 5:57-14:13

Jewish anti-Zionism: 14:17-19:29

On novels and history: 19:29-25:58

Discussion of Swedenburg’s book, Memories of Revolt: 26:00 – 1 hour, 12 min

Collaborative work with Sonia el-Nimr: 1hour, 12 min – 1 hour, 17 min

1987-1993 Palestinian Intifada: 1 hour, 19 min, 30 sec – 1 hour, 27 min, 50 sec

Current politics: 1 hour, 27 min, 50 sec – 1 hour, 31 min

On solidarity: 1 hour, 31 min – the end



El-Nimr, Sonia Fathi, 1990. The Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 in Palestine: A Study Based on Oral Sources. Dissertation. University of Exeter.

Hammad, Isabella, 2019. The Parisian. New York: Grove Press.

Hughes, Matthew, 2019. Britain’s Pacification of Palestine: The British Army, the Colonial State, and the Arab Revolt, 1936-1939 (Cambridge Military Histories). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parsons, Laila, 2017. The Commander: Fawzi Al-Qawuqji and the fight for Arab Independence 1914-1948. London: Saqi Books.

Porath, Yehoshua, 1977. The Palestinian Arab National Movement, Volume 2: 1929-1939: From Riots to Rebellion. Oxfordshire: Routledge Library Editions: Israel and Palestine.

Rodinson, Maxime, 1969. Israel and the Arabs. New York: Penguin Books.

Sanagan, Mark, 2020. Lightning through the Clouds: ‘Izz al-Din al-Qassam and the Making of the Modern Middle East. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Swedenburg, Ted, 1995. Memories of Revolt: The 1936-39 and the Palestinian National Past. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Reprinted by University of Arkansas Press with new afterword, 2003.


Oral History Resources:

All works by Rosemary Sayigh; The Nakba Archive by Diana Allan and Mahmoud Zeidan; Destroyed Palestinian Villages, memorial book series edited by Sharif Kanaana, Birzeit University; Davis, Rochelle, 2010. Palestinian Village Histories: Geographies of the Displaced. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press; el-Nimr, Sonia, 1993. “Oral History and Palestinian Collective Memory”. Oral History 21 (1): 54-61.


Episode Introduction Informed By:

Khalidi, Rashid, 2001. “The Palestinians and 1948: the underlying causes of failure.” In The War for Palestine, edited by Eugene L. Rogen and Avi Shlaim. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Photo Courtesy: https://fashionandrace.org/database/palestinian-keffiyeh/

Music: Oya Marhaba, by TootArd