Nadia L. Abu El-Haj

Nadia L. Abu El-Haj

Research Interest

Research Sub-interest

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


Middle East; Israel and Palestine, US


Nadia Abu El-Haj is Professor in the Departments of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University, and Codirector of the Center for Palestine Studies at Columbia. 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, tentatively titled Soldier Trauma, The Obligations of Citizenship, and the Forever Wars (Verso, forthcoming) 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.