Sa'ed Atshan

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Sa'ed Atshan

CMES Senior Research Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

Dr. Sa’ed Atshan is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology for the 2020-2021 academic year. He is on sabbatical from his regular position as Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He previously served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.


He earned a Joint Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies and an MA in Social Anthropology from Harvard University, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a BA from Swarthmore College.


As an anthropologist and peace and conflict studies scholar, Atshan's research is focused on a) contemporary Palestinian society and politics, b) global LGBTQ social movements, and c) Quaker Studies and Christian minorities in the Middle East.


His forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories , is under contract with Stanford University Press in their Anthropology of Policy Series.  Atshan examines the politics of international aid provision in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


He has published two other books. 


Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020) traces the rise of the LGBTQ movement in Palestine and how it has then become a transnational queer movement in solidarity with Palestinians. Atshan also accounts for the transformation of the critique of empire into what he calls an "empire of critique." 


The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020) is co-authored with German-Israeli scholar Katharina Galor (Judaic Studies, Brown University). Atshan and Galor explore the Israeli and Palestinian diaspora communities in Berlin. Their book elucidates questions of moral responsibility and the relationship between Germans, Israelis, and Palestinians in the contemporary context. 


Atshan has recently embarked on two new projects. “Queer Imaginaries and the Re-Making of the Modern Middle East” is in collaboration with Phillip Ayoub (Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College). Atshan and Ayoub are researching LGBTQ activism across the Middle East/North Africa region.


Atshan is also researching the convergent and divergent experiences of African-American and Palestinian Quakers, with an emphasis on the intersection of race and Christianity in the United States and Israel/Palestine. This project is entitled, “Can the Subaltern Quaker Speak?: Alienation and Belonging among Black and Palestinian Friends.”

Center for Middle Eastern Studies
University of California, Berkeley
340 Stephens Hall, Berkeley, CA  94720-2314



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