Success stories of Palestinian achievers from all over the world

Nadia Abu El Haj

Personal Info

  • Country of residence: United States
  • Gender: Female
  • Born in: 1962
  • Age: 59
  • Curriculum vitae :


Abu El Haj was born in the United States, the second daughter of a "Long Island Episcopalian" mother, and a Palestinian Muslim father. Her maternal grandfather was French and maternal grandmother, Norwegian-American, and she has characterized her religious upbringing as "church twice a year."
Abu El Haj spent a couple of years in private schools in Tehran and Beirut, while her father was deployed there for the United Nations. She returned to the United States for her university level studies, attending Bryn Mawr College for her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, and going on to receive her doctoral degree from Duke University. Between 1993 and 1995, she did post-doctoral work on a fellowship from Harvard University's Academy for International and Area Studies, focusing on the Middle East. She also received fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania Mellon Program, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She speaks English, Arabic, French, Persian, and Hebrew.

Abu El Haj taught at the University of Chicago from 1997 until 2002, when she joined the faculty at Barnard College. She has also lectured at the New York Academy of Sciences, New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, the University of Cambridge, the London School of Economics (LSE), and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London.
A former Fulbright Fellow, she was a recipient of the SSRC-McArthur Grant in International Peace and Security, and grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is also an Associate Editor of the American Ethnologist: A Journal of the American Ethnological Society and serves on the Editorial Collectives of Public Culture and Social Text. In a 2008 interview with The New Yorker, she said, "I'm not a public intellectual. ... I don't court controversy."

Published works
The Genealogical Science: The Search for Jewish Origins and the Politics of Epistemology, University of Chicago Press (2012)
"The Genetic Reinscription of Race" in Annual Review of Anthropology (2007).
"Rethinking Genetic Genealogy: A Response to Stephan Palmi" in American Ethnologist (2007), 34:2:223–227.
"Edward Said and the Political Present" in American Ethnologist (2005), 32:4:538–555.
"Reflections on Archaeology and Israeli Settler-Nationhood" in Radical History Review (Spring 2003), 86:149–163.
"Producing (Arti)Facts: Archaeology and Power during the British Mandate of Palestine" in Israel Studies Summer (2002), 7:2:33–61.
Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society (2001), University of Chicago Press.
"Translating Truths: Nationalism, Archaeological Practice and the Remaking of Past and Present in Contemporary Jerusalem" in American Ethnologist (1998), 25:2:166–188.


Achievements and Awards

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