Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Second Department

Late Antique-Medieval Studies

Reader 1

Andrew Aisenberg

Reader 2

Heather Ferguson

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Emma Kellman


This study offers a look at the ways in which discourse shaped by the contemporary Israel-Palestine conflict serves as a framework for modern historiography on Palestine. It focuses specifically on the variety of historical narratives proffered as to the “truth” of the Crusade period in Palestine, roughly the eleventh through the thirteenth centuries, and their mobilization in political agendas through the Zionist-Crusader analogy. This comparison, a historical analogy likening Zionists to Frankish Crusaders or the State of Israel to the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, appears frequently in contemporary dialogue on the Israel-Palestine conflict; it comes from a diverse range of sources and for a variety of political ends, showing that the politicization of history of the contested land is a widespread phenomenon that is limited neither to academic nor political circles. Furthermore, this study argues that common national, religious, or ethnic identities do not guarantee common political conclusions or agreement on the “facts” of the Crusader past. On a broader level, this study investigates the theoretical underpinnings of national histories and their employment as political devices in nationalist movements, as well as explores the role of individual agency in creating and deploying nationalist historical narratives within the framework of the Zionist-Crusader analogy. In the specific context of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the modern State of Israel, this theoretical component focuses primarily on applications of Crusade history to supporting or challenging contemporary political-religious claims to the land of Israel-Palestine.