Nadia L. Abu El-Haj

Nadia L. Abu El-Haj

Research Interests

Research Concentrations

Settler Colonialism, War, Epistemology, Trauma, Race/Racisms


Middle East; Israel and Palestine, US


Nadia Abu El-Haj is Ann Whitney Olin Professor in the Departments of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, Co-Director of the Center for Palestine Studies, and Chair of the Governing Board of the Society of Fellows/Heyman Center for the Humanities at Columbia University. She also serves as Vice President and Vice Chair of the Board at The Institute for Palestine Studies in Washington DC. The recipient of numerous awards, including from the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Harvard Academy for Area and International Studies, the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, she is the author of numerous journal articles published on topics ranging from the history of archaeology in Palestine to the question of race and genomics today. Abu El-Haj has published two books: Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (2001), which won the Albert Hourani Annual Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association in 2002, and The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology (2012). While Abu El-Haj’s two books to date have focused on historical sciences (archaeology, and genetic history), her third book, forthcoming in 2022 from Verso, examines the field of (military) psychiatry, and explores the complex ethical and political implications of shifting psychiatric and public understandings of the trauma of American soldiers.


Duke University, PhD, 1995
Bryn Mawr College, BA 

2018. “Sexual Freedom and its Opposites.” Toqueville 21 (blog).

2017. “Academic Freedom at Risk. The Occasional Worldliness of Scholarly Texts.” In If Truth Be Told, edited by Didier Fassin, 205-227. Durham: Duke University Press.

2012. The Genealogical Science: Genetics, the Origins of the Jews, and the Politics of Epistemology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

2012b. “Virtual Roundtable on Amy Waldman’s The Submission: Bringing Politics Back In.” Public Books.

2010. “Racial Palestinianization and the Janus-Faced Nature of the Israeli State.” Patterns of Prejudice 44, no, 1: 27 – 41.

2007. “The Genetic Reinscription of Race.” Annual Review of Anthropology 36: 283-300.

2005. “Edward Said and the Political Present.” American Ethnologist 32, no. 4: 538- 555.

2001. Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.