P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Sa'ed Atshan, 2009

Associate Professor of Anthropology, Emory University

Sa'ed Atshan is the child of immigrants from Palestinian Territories

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University

Dr. Sa’ed Atshan joined the Emory Anthropology faculty in Fall 2021. He has served as an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, 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.

He 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 College. 

He is the author of Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020). Atshan is also the coauthor, with Katharina Galor (Judaic Studies, Brown University), of The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020). The German translation of The Moral Triangle is entitled Israelis, Palästinenser und Deutsche in Berlin: Geschichten einer komplexen Beziehung (De Gruyter, 2021). 

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. And his forthcoming coedited volume (with Katharina Galor), Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Cinema, will be published with Bloomsbury in fall 2022. 

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 and North Africa region.

He has been awarded multiple grants and fellowships, including from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Open Society Foundations, National Science Foundation, Social Science Research Council, Woodrow Wilson National Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. He is also the recipient of a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans and a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace. 

Dr. Atshan currently serves 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), and as the Policy and Law Book Reviews Editor for the International Journal of Middle East Studies (IJMES). He previously served on the Editorial Committee of the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS), and was an elected Board member for the Middle East Section (MES) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA).

  • PhD Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies | Harvard University 2013
  • MA Social Anthroplogy | Harvard University 2010
  • MPP Public Policy | Harvard University 2008
  • BA Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies | Swarthmore College 2006
Work History
  • Emory University, Associate Professor of Anthropology | August 2021 - PRESENT
  • Swarthmore College, Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies | March 2021 - February 2022
  • University of California, Berkeley, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Senior Research Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies | August 2020 - June 2021
  • Swarthmore College, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies | August 2017 - March 2021
  • Swarthmore College, Visiting Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies | August 2015 - August 2017
  • Brown University, Postdoctoral Fellow in International Studies | August 2013 - August 2015
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