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No Place for Grief

Through a detailed ethnographic account of the everyday lives of detainees' wives in the occupied Palestinian Territory, No Place for Grief reveals the ways in which the normalization of these women's distress is intrinsically and painfully linked to the collective struggle for freedom from the occupation.

No Place for Grief
Martyrs, Prisoners, and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine

Lotte Buch Segal

2016 | 224 pages | Cloth $55.00
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Grammar of Suffering in Occupied Palestine
Chapter 2. Domestic Uncanniness
Chapter 3. Enduring Presents
Chapter 4. On Hardship and Closeness
Chapter 5. Solitude in Marriage
Chapter 6. Enduring the Ordinary


Excerpt [uncorrected, not for citation]


My time in Palestine has left me with a sadness that is rooted in the experiences of the people I encountered there. The question of whether this influences my interpretation of words, human beings, and situations is at best rhetorical. Many times I did not know how to respond to the words, tears, or gestures of the wives and widows of detainees and others I spoke to. How could I reply? As a female researcher from one of the most affluent societies of the world. As a woman whose life is not imperiled by the systematic exhaustion of the Palestinian occupation. As someone who feels empathy with the people she meets without certainty that empathy is ever exhaustive or necessarily the pathway to knowledge.

A student in my Psychology in Anthropology course asked me after having read Chapter 2 of this book for class: "Do you understand these women?" To this question I replied with a qualified "Yes." It is a yes only if we mean knowledge in the sense of acknowledgment, which I offer here. I have done my best not to simplify these women's experiences, but I also know that I could not entirely avoid it.

I feel compelled to act upon what I know, but I am not sure of the consequences. I write. I tell. Who listens? Some do. Does it matter? I do not know. João Biehl once asked me what I thought was the most powerful part of my work. It took me an hour to dare to say that it may have been sitting down and listening to those women, so at least they knew that I had heard their stories. They knew, and I knew. Now you know.

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