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Contact Info:
Tufts University
Department of Anthropology
5 The Green
304 Eaton Hall
Medford, MA 02155

Office: 617.627.4265
(On leave, Spring 2018)


Amahl Bishara
Associate Professor

Ph.D. in Anthropology, and Certificate in Culture and Media, New York University

Media, journalism, the Middle East, expressivity, human rights, knowledge production, democracy, ethnography of place.

Scholarship & Research
My research revolves around expression, space, media, and settler colonialism. I am currently working on two book projects. The first, tentatively entitled "Permission to Converse: Laws, Bullets, and other Roadblocks to a Palestinian Exchange," addresses the relationship between Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank, two groups that are positioned slightly differently in relation to Israeli settler-colonialism. Through ethnographies of protest as well as of more everyday forms of expression, I analyze the barriers to these two groups speaking to and with each other. I argues that speech is always an embodied and emplaced act.

My second ongoing project examines Palestinian popular politics in a West Bank refugee camp. It examines how Palestinians in this refugee camp strive to resist three authorities, the Israeli occupation, the Palestinian Authority administration, and the United Nations Relief Works Agency through struggles over land, water, bodies, and expression.

My first book, Back Stories: U.S. News Production and Palestinian Politics (Stanford University Press 2013) is an ethnography of production of US news during the second Palestinian Intifada. It asks what we can learn about journalism and popular political action when we place Palestinian journalists at the center of an inquiry about U.S. journalism.

In addition to academic writing, I also regularly write for such outlets as Jadaliyya, Middle East Report. I have produced the documentary "Degrees of Incarceration" (2010), an hour-long documentary that explores how, with creativity and love, a Palestinian community responds to the crisis of political imprisonment. Finally, I have been involved with the production of bilingual Arabic and English children's books about refugee lives, including The Boy and the Wall.



2013 Back Stories: U.S. News Production and Palestinian Politics. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

2015 "Driving While Palestinian in Israel and the West Bank: The Politics of Disorientation and the Routes of a Subaltern Knowledge." American Ethnologist 42(1):33-54.

2015 "From Dust to Concrete: Infrastructural Change, Political Intractability, and the Colonial Road Movie." American Anthropologist 117(2): 398-401.

2012 "Circulating the Stances of Liberation Politics: The Photojournalism of the Anti-Wall Protests." In Sensible Politics: The Visual Culture of Nongovernmental Activism. Meg McLagan and Yates McKee, eds. New York and Cambridge: Zone Books, MIT Press. Pp. 139-148.

2010 "Weapons, Passports, and News: Palestinian Perceptions of U.S. Power as a Mediator of War." In Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency. John Kelly, Sean Mitchell, Beatrice Jauregui, and Jeremy Walton, eds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp. 125-136.

2010 "Palestinian Christian Networked Activism: Reifying 'Nonviolence' or Divining Justice?" The Review of Middle East Studies43(2):178-188.

2010 "Introduction" to special journal section, "Culture Concepts in Political Struggle," co-authored with Jessica Winegar. Review of Middle East Studies43(2):164-167.

2010 "New Media and Political Change in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Assembling Media Worlds and Cultivating Networks of Care." The Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication3:63-81.

2009 "Covering the Barrier in Bethlehem: The Production of Sympathy and the Reproduction of Difference." In The Anthropology of News and Journalism: Global Perspectives. Elizabeth Bird, ed. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 54-69.

2008 "Watching U.S. Television from the Palestinian Street: The Media, the State, and Representational Interventions." Cultural Anthropology 23(3):488-530.

Public Scholarship

2015 "Across Infrastructures of Restriction: Bringing Palestinian Photography from a Refugee Camp to an American University." Multimedia article for the website of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

2015 "Wearing Catastrophe on Our Chests." May 19, Jadaliyya.

2014 "Watching the Occupation at a Close Distance." Stanford University Press Blog, July 31, 2014.

2014 "Three Updates on Palestinian Political Prisoners." Middle East Report and Information Project (MERIP) Blog, April 7.

2013 "Everyday Brutality: The Israeli Army Beats and Arrests an Injured Journalist in Bethlehem." Jadaliyya. July 9, 2013.

2013 "Covering the Christians of the Holy Land." Middle East Report, No. 267.

2013 "A Camera's View Finder Confronts a Gun Sight." Jadaliyya. April 16.

2013 "Permission to Caption." Jadaliyya. February 4.

2012 "Do Photographs Pose an Existential Threat to Israel?" Jadaliyya. December 4.

2012 "Journalists' Lives are On the Line in Gaza and Beyond." Cognocsenti,WBUR blog. November 30.

2012 "New Texts Out Now: Amahl Bishara, Back Stories: U.S. News Production and Palestinian Politics." Jadaliyya. December 19.


2010 Degrees of Incarceration. (Documentary, 59 minutes.)

2002 Across Oceans, Among Colleagues. (Documentary, 32 minutes). New York: Films Media Group.