Department or Program


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Lidwien Kapteijns


When Jordan was created as a British mandate in 1921, it was a state but not yet a nation. In order to be seen as legitimate rulers of a ‘natural’ national community, the Hashemite monarchy intertwined discourses of national identity and legitimacy in the changing contexts of Arab-Israeli conflicts, radical pan-Arab nationalism, and political Islam. The Jordanian government expressed these discourses by making claims to holy spaces in Jerusalem and (re)constructing various monuments, museums, plazas, and parks in the capital of Amman. However, competing visions of the Jordanian nation also emerged, ranging from nationalist movements that were exclusively Transjordanian to those that identified as Arab nationalist and opposed the monarchy. The struggle to create a unified Jordanian national identity has expressed itself in public spaces as different political and social groups articulated their own visions of what the Jordanian nation should be.