Ilana Feldman

2112 G St NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Middle East
  • Imperialism and Colonialism

Ilana Feldman is an award-winning cultural and historical anthropologist who works in the Middle East. Her research has focused on the Palestinian experience, both inside and outside of Palestine, examining practices of government, humanitarianism, policing, displacement, and citizenship. She is currently working on a project, tentatively titled Life Lived in Relief: Palestinian Experiences with Humanitarianism Since 1948, which involves fieldwork and archival research in and about Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. This project, supported with a major award from the National Science Foundation, explores the dynamics of long-term humanitarianism and the politics of living in the humanitarian condition.


Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2002


“Humanitarian Care and the Ends of Life: The Politics of Aging and Dying in a Palestinian Refugee Camp.” Cultural Anthropology 32, 1 (2017): 41-66.

Looking for Humanitarian Purpose: Endurance and the value of lives in a Palestinian refugee camp.” Public Culture 27, no. 3 (2015): 427-447.

What is a Camp? Legitimate Refugee Lives in Spaces of Long-term Displacement.” Geoforum 66 (2015): 244-252.

Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015.

"The Humanitarian Condition: Palestinian Refugees and the Politics of Living." Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism & Development 3, no. 2 (2012): 155-172.

"The challenge of categories: UNRWA and the definition of a 'Palestine refugee.'" Journal of Refugee Studies 25, no. 3 (2012): 387-406.

“The Humanitarian Circuit: Relief Work, Development Assistance, and CARE in Gaza, 1955-1967.” In Forces of Compassion: Ethics and Politics of Global Humanitarianism, ed. Peter Redfield and Erica Bornstein, 203-26, SAR Press, 2011.

“Working in the In-Between: Archives, Ethnography, and Research in Gaza.” In Anthrohistory: Unsettling Knowledge, Questioning Discipline, ed. Edward Murphy et al., 97-109. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. Co-edited with Miriam Ticktin.

Ad Hoc Humanity: Peacekeeping and the Limits of International Community in Gaza.” American Anthropologist 112, no. 3 (2010): 416-29.

"Gaza's humanitarianism problem." Journal of Palestine Studies 38, no. 3 (2009): 22-37.

Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule (1917-1967). Durham: Duke University Press, 2008.

"Refusing invisibility: Documentation and memorialization in Palestinian refugee claims." In "Invisible Displacements," special issue of Journal of Refugee Studies 21, no. 4 (2008): 498-516.

"Waiting for Palestine: Refracted citizenship and latent sovereignty in Gaza." Citizenship Studies 12, no. 5 (2008): 447-63.

"Mercy trains and ration rolls: Between government and humanitarianism in Gaza." In I.M. Okkenhaug and N. Naguib, eds., Interpreting Welfare and Relief in the Middle East, 175-194. Leiden: Brill Press, 2008.

"The Quaker way: Ethical labor and humanitarian relief." American Ethnologist 34, no. 4 (2007): 689-705.

"Observing the everyday: Policing and the conditions of possibility in Gaza (1948-67)." Interventions: Journal of Postcolonial Studies 9, no. 3 (2007): 414-433.

"Difficult distinctions: Refugee law, humanitarian practice, and political identification in Gaza." Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 1 (2007): 129-69. Winner, 2008, of the Cultural Horizons Prize from the Society for Cultural Anthropology for the best article appearing in Cultural Anthropology.

"Home as a refrain: Remembering and living displacement in Gaza." History and Memory 18, no. 2 (2006): 10-47.

Classes Taught

ANTH 3513: Human Rights and Ethics

ANTH 3707: Cultures of the Middle East

ANTH 6102: Proseminar in Sociocultural Anthropology

ANTH 6302: Anthropology of Intervention: Development, Human Rights, and Humanitarianism

ANTH 6302: Anthropology of Citizenship and Displacement: Belonging and Exclusion in the Middle East

ANTH 6591: Anthropology of Security

ANTH 6707: Anthropology of the State and Government in the Middle East