Current Institutional Affiliation
Assistant Professor, Anthropology, Florida International University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2007
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Anthropology, University of Illinois / Urbana-Champaign
The Logic of the Checkpoint: Queer Palestinians, the Israeli State, and the Politics of Passing

I propose to conduct an ethnography of the Israeli state from the perspective of queer Palestinians who live in and travel to Israel, which they experience with a profound sense of ambivalence that challenges the tendency to view the conflict in absolute terms. Based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in Jerusalem, my research will focus specifically on queer Palestinians' encounters with the state, which are marked by complicated processes of reading—and being read against—discourses about who does and does not belong in the nation. In so doing, my research will explore the crucial and sometimes incongruous roles of sexuality and race in the efforts of the state to construct and police the (real and imagined) boundaries that contain its citizens and exclude its “others.” While grounded in the local context of Israel-Palestine, my research will interrogate, not only how we think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the perceived conflict between “the West” and “the Arab World.” At a moment when the exclusion of Arabs and the inclusion of queers have both become important tools for advancing the myth of Western superiority, the experiences of queer Palestinians in Israel offer a revealing lens onto the fundamental contradictions of liberal nationalism—in Israel and beyond—and the ways in which those contradictions play out in everyday encounters with the state and create opportunities for various actors both to resist and to reproduce the governing logic of nationalism.