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Faculty: Sa’ed Atshan

Department Overview

Sa’ed AtshanDr. Sa’ed Atshan is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College. He is on leave from Swarthmore for the 2021-2022 academic year in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University. He previously served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Senior Research Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies.

Atshan earned a Joint PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies (2013) and MA in Social Anthropology (2010) from Harvard University, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) (2008) from the Harvard Kennedy School, and BA (2006) from Swarthmore. 

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." 

Queer Palestine Book Cover

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. 

The German translation is entitled Israelis, Palästinenser und Deutsche in Berlin: Geschichten einer komplexen Beziehung and was published in 2021 with De Gruyter. 

Atshan has recently embarked on two new projects. One is 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.”

The other, “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.

Dr. Atshan currently serves as an Associate at Harvard University's Department of Anthropology, on the Corporation of Haverford College, the Board of the Association for Middle East Anthropology (AMEA) of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the Board of the Palestinian American Research Center (PARC), as the Policy and Law Book Reviews Editor for the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES), and on the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS). He previously served for three years as an elected Board member for the Middle East Section (MES) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). 

Last Collection 2018 Sa'ed Atshan '06, Assistant Professor of Peace & Conflict Studies

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