Julie Peteet

Dr. Peteet's research

Current research:

Prof. Peteet’s newest book Space and Mobility in Palestine, (forthcoming University of Pennsylvania Press) argues that mobility is key to the elaboration and affirmation of place as spaces of particular forms of power, identity, and meaning in a contemporary settler-colonial context. Israeli policies of closure and separation, and their associated physical structures and bureaucratic requirements and procedures  (the wall, checkpoints, the road system and permits), dramatically constrain Palestinian mobility, impede their ability to construct and give meaning to place and are critical to opening up space to be reconfigured along new, and exclusionary, demographic lines of identity and affiliation. This book analyzes how Palestinians comprehend, experience, narrate, and respond to late modern Israeli colonialism with its relentless acquisition of  land (and water), settlement building, and  practices such as separation and closure, to spatially fracture and immobilize them. Several key concepts and processes are at play: a colonial occupation with a complex set of regulatory practices, the imposition of calibrated chaos, punishment and rule through the construction of spaces of disorder, the application of bio-metric technologies of surveillance and monitoring to control mobility and velocity, all of which rest upon the elaboration and management of social categories of difference along which the partitioning of, and access to space, is organized.

Spring 2014, Dr. Peteet will be in Jordan on an NEH grant to work on “The Cultural Politics of Baths (hammamas) in Jordan.” This research project explores Turkish baths in Jordan in the context of cultural refashioning and its temporal dimension: in other words:  in what larger political and cultural context, is the revival of the hammamas unfolding, and why now? I pose a series of interrelated questions about the re-invigoration of a once nearly moribund cultural space and practice. Is this resurgence related to the cultural politics of Turkey’s new regional prominence as exemplified by their stance as political broker, a modern neo-liberal Islamic state, and their actions after the 2009 Gaza flotilla incident? In Jordan, there is a new interest in all things Turkish, from media and aesthetics to language and culture more broadly.  The revival of baths raises theoretical questions about cultural artifacts, heritage and aesthetics, memory, social practices and space, complex notions of hygiene and the body in Islam, neo-liberal consumptions patterns, and regional cultural politics.

Selected Publications:


  • Landscape of Hope and Despair: Palestinian Refugee Camps. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.
  • Gender in Crisis: Women and the Palestinian Resistance Movement. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
Articles in Journals:
  • "Beyond Compare".  Middle East Report 253(Winter), 2009.
  • "Cosmopolitanism and the Subversive Space of Protests".  Jerusalem Quarterly 37(Spring), 2009.
  • "Unsettling the Categories of Displacement".  Middle East Report 244(Fall): 2-9, 2007.
  • "Problematizing a Palestinians Diaspora".  International Journal of Middle East Studies 39: 627-646, 2007.
  • "Words as Intervention: Naming in the Palestine-Israel Conflict".  Third World Quarterly (Special Issue on Naming) 26(1), 2005.
  • "Post-Partition Palestinian Identities".  Social Analysis 42(1):62-86, 1998.
  • "Icons and Militants: Mothering in the Danger Zones". Signs: Journal of Women and Culture 23(1):103-129, 1997.
  • "From Refugees to Minorities: Palestinians in Post-war Lebanon". Middle East Report 26(3):27-30, 1996.
  • "The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada".  Cultural Anthropology 11(2): 139-159, 1996.
  • "Identity and Community in Exile" Critique.  Journal of Middle East Studies (Spring)8:1-15, 1996.
  • "They Took Our Blood and Milk: Palestinian Women and War". Cultural Survival 19(1):50-53, 1995.
  • "Male Gender and Rituals of Resistance in the Occupied Territories: A Cultural Politics of Violence". American Ethnologist 21(1):31-49, 1994.
  • "La Justice au Quotidien dans les Camps au Liban". Revue d'etudes Palestiniennes 24(ete), 1987.
  • "Socio-Political Integration and Conflict Resolution in a Palestinian Refugee Camp" Journal of Palestine Studies XVI(2), 1987.
  • "No Going Back?  Women and the Palestinian Movement".  MERIP 138(Jan./Feb.), 1986
Chapters in Books:
  • "The War on Terror, Dismemberment, and the Construction of Place: An Ethnographic Perspective from Palestine".  in A. Robbins (ed), Iraq at a Distance.  What Anthropologists Have to Say about the War in Iraq. University of Pennsylvania Press.  2010, pp. 80-105.
  • "Cartographic violence, displacement and refugee camps.  Palestine and Iraq".  in Knudsen & Sari Hanifi (eds.) Palestinian Refugees in the Levant: Identity, Space and Place. Routledge, 2010.  pp. 13-28.
  • "Nationalism and Sexuality".  in Muge Gocek (ed.)  Social Constructions of Nationalism in the Middle East. New York: Syracuse University Press (2002).
  • "AFSC Refugee Archives on Palestine, 1948-50".  in S. Tamari & E. Zureik, (eds.)  Reinterpreting the Historical Record.  The Use of Palestinian Refugee Archives for Social Science Research and Policy Analysis. Jerusalem: Institute of Jerusalem Studies, 2001.  pp. 109-128.
  • "No Going Back, Revisited"  in S. Slyomovics & S. Joseph (eds.)  Gender & Transformation in the Middle East. Berkeley: University of California Press 2001.
  • "Refugees, Resistance, and Identities" in Globalization and Social Movements.  Culture, Power and the Transnational Public Sphere. M. Zald, M. Kennedy, & J. Guidry, (eds.)  Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press (2000).  pp. 183-209.
  • "Gender and Sexuality: Belonging to the National and Moral Order".  in Hermeneutics and Honor: Negotiating Female "Public" Space in Islamic/ate Societies. A. Afsaruddin (ed.)  Cambridge: Harvard University Press (1999).
  • "Transforming Trust: Dispossession and Empowerment among Palestinian Refugees" in Trust and the Refugee Experience. E. Valentine Daniel & J. Knudsen (eds.)  Berkeley: University of California Press (1995).
  • "Authenticity and Gender: The Presentation of Culture".  in Arab Women: Old Boundaries and New Frontiers. J. Tucker (ed.)  Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press (1993).
  • "Women and National Politics in the Middle East".  in Class, Power and Stability in the Middle East. B. Berberoglu (ed.)  London: Zed Books (1989)
  • "Between Two Fires: Palestinian Women in Lebanon"  (with R. Sayigh).  in Caught up in Conflict: Women's Responses to Political Strife. R. Ridd & H. Callaway (eds.)  London: Macmillan Education (1986).  Published in U.S.: Women and Political Conflict: Portraits of Struggle in Times of Crisis. New York: New York University Press (1987).
Other Publications:
  • "Pensee 1: Imagining the New Middle East"  International Journal of Middle East Studies 40: 550-552 (2008)
  • "Stealing Time"  MERIP 248(Fall) 2008
  • "Safe Havens and Gender"  Encyclopedia of Women in Islam Vol. IV.  Leiden: Brill.  2006.
  • "Refugees Regimes and Gender"  Encyclopedia of Women in Islam Vol. IV.  Leiden: Brill 2006.

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