Julie Peteet, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology

Julie Peteet

Education: Wayne State University; American University of Beirut; University of California, Santa Barbara

Research Interests: Space, political violence, Palestine, resistance, refugees, human rights, the Middle East

Dr. Julie Peteet is a Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the MEIS program.  Dr. Peteet received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University. She specializes in legal anthropology, the Middle East, displacement and refugees, gender, resistance and culture, transnationalism, and human rights.

Contact Information:
Department of Anthropology, Lutz Hall 239
Phone: 502-852-6864
Email: jpeteet@louisville.edu

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 was in Jordan on an NEH grant to work on “The Cultural Politics of Baths (hammamas).” This research project explored 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 posed 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 consumption patterns, and regional cultural politics.

2014 IMES "Reacting to Refugee Crises in the Middle East" Conference introductory remarks by Dr. Julie Peteet

Selected Publications


Space and Mobility in Palestine. University of Pennsylvania Press. Forthcoming 2015.

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.

"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.

"Icons and Militants: Mothering in the Danger Zones".  Signs: Journal of Women and Culture 23(1):103-129, 1997.

"The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada".  Cultural Anthropology 11(2): 139-159, 1996.

"Male Gender and Rituals of Resistance in the Occupied Territories: A Cultural Politics of Violence".  American Ethnologist 21(1):31-49, 1994.

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).

"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).