I completed this study as the culminating project of my humanities/social sciences concentration in Modern Islamic Studies at Olin College. In Olin jargon, we call this an AHS Capstone. This builds on my previous courses related to geopolitics relating the US and the Muslim world, a religious studies look at Islam in the Modern World, and finally a sociological approach to modern cross-cultural conflict while abroad in Scotland. The goal of my capstone was to try to understand the origins of popular support for Hamas in Palestinian territories today. My scholarly approach ended up focusing on the cultural and religious transformations of the intifada generation that came of age in the late 1980s, shaped by new attitudes, ideas, and events that birthed a fundamentally new synthesis of politics and Islam.
I'd like to acknowledge the gracious advice of my project mentor, Prof. Louise Marlow of the Wellesley College Religious Studies Department. I also thank Lynn Stein, the course leader of AHS capstone that semester. Finally, I thank Steven Vertigans of RGU in Aberdeen, Scotland for his course Socities in Conflict, which taught me to take the road less traveled and think about conflict from the sociological perspective.
I made these slides to present my work to a general audience (assuming no background in sociology of conflict or Islamic studies). I hope they provide a compelling visual introduction to some of the major themes behind my work: a desire to take Palestinian discourse seriously and adopt an ethnological approach to understanding the rise of Hamas as part of a broader Islamist movement that means many different things to many individuals.
EXCERPT FROM THE INTRODUCTION