University of Notre Dame
Bonenfant-JuwongF072018D.pdf (1.63 MB)

"Ever-Widening Circles": Private Voluntary Development, Colonialism, and Arab Palestinians, 1930-1960

Download (1.63 MB)
posted on 2018-07-06, 00:00 authored by Francis Bonenfant-Juwong

I engage questions about how historical actors envisioned the best way to approach “the local” as outsiders as they grappled with the collateral damage of processes of urban-industrial modernization. I use multi-archival research in the United States, England, Israel, and the West Bank to track how American private voluntary organizations and British colonial authorities deployed a shared strain of rural development among Palestinian Arabs amidst the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Advocates of rural development were ambivalent about modernization and sought ways of nation-building that enabled local societies to retain their integrity and some measure of control over socioeconomic change. Towards this end, advocates promoted a rural development that was practical: immediately relevant for daily life and therefore very dependent on local contexts and the experiences and abilities of the students themselves. In this way, I encourage peacebuilding scholars to take seriously the “everyday” of colonial praxis and push historians of U.S. development towards the “everyday” of specific projects. And I argue that rural development was the predecessor to community development and that, rather than Asia, it is to the Middle East that U.S. community development primarily owes its emergence.


Date Created


Date Modified


Defense Date


CIP Code


Research Director(s)

Rebecca McKenna

Committee Members

Darren Dochuk Ann Mische


  • Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Level

  • Doctoral Dissertation


  • English

Additional Groups

  • History
  • Peace Studies
  • Keough School of Global Affairs

Program Name

  • History