Tatreez Online : The Transformation of a Palestinian Tradition

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Institutionen för Asien-, Mellanöstern- och Turkietstudier

Abstract: Traditional Palestinian embroidery (tatreez) played an important role as a form of indigenous language in Palestinian culture before the Nakba, the 1948 mass displacement of Palestinians from their homeland. After the exile of the Palestinian population and through the subsequent conflicts and occupation in the decades since the Nakba, tatreez has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance, represented in art and dress as a way to demonstrate the history of the Palestinian people, their attachment to the land of Palestine, and their continued struggle for justice. Existing research on Palestinian tatreez examines the use of embroidery during various time periods, either the historical development of motifs and regional patterns or post-1948 changes, for example its rise as an economic tool in the mid-twentieth century within Palestinian refugee camps and its development as a political emblem inside Palestine during the First Intifada in the 1980s. Separately, there is research on the importance of online platforms for Palestinians both within the Palestinian territory and the diaspora. This thesis bridges existing research on the role of tatreez for Palestinians and the online diaspora dimension to discuss the impact of new technologies on the practice of tatreez. The thesis argues that sharing tatreez via online platforms allows for an expansion of the traditional usage of tatreez as a form of collective and individual expression and continues the post-1948 practice of presenting political and artistic visions via embroidery.

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