Cornell University

Anthropology Colloquium: Joyce Dalsheim

Friday, March 16, 2018 at 3:00pm to 4:30pm

McGraw Hall, 215
740-750 University Ave, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Exile at Home?  On the Troubles of Being Jewish in Israel

This talk considers how  sovereign citizens of a nation-state might nevertheless experience a sense of exile. It suggests that the assimilation of Europe’s Jews to Enlightenment ideals has had ongoing repercussions among Jews in the modern state of Israel. This talk focuses on what it means to be Jewish in terms of religious observance, and who feels at home in the Jewish state. Employing vignettes from recent ethnographic fieldwork, it raises questions about the modern nation-state’s capacity to create conditions in which its own “people” can flourish. In this case, Israel has claimed to make it possible for the Jews to flourish, in Arendt’s terms, “as Jews,” but it is far from clear what “as Jews” would, could, or should mean.

Co-sponsored by Jewish Studies and Near Eastern Studies.  Thank you!

Dr. Joyce Dalsheim 

Cultural Anthropology | Peace, Conflict, and Identity Studies

Associate Editor,  Review of Middle East Studies
UNC Charlotte |Department of Global Studies

Joyce Dalsheim is a cultural anthropologist who earned her doctorate at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her work interrogates some of the social and political categories through which everyday life is navigated. It focuses on questions of identity and conflict, religion and the secular, nationalism, citizenship, sovereignty, and colonialism. Looking at the work of historical representations in contemporary conflict, she reconceptualizes such conflicts by considering the ways historical events are variously imagined, and how alternatives to “history” itself might act as a framework for understanding conflict.

The space of Israel/Palestine has served as her primary empirical case, and critical and postcolonial theory the primary conceptual framework for thinking through these issues. Israel/Palestine is particularly useful in challenging and renovating particular aspects of critical theory. Dalsheim’s work aims at seeing things otherwise by making unexpected comparisons and contrasts—the hallmark of anthropological analysis.

Much anthropology has been concerned with giving voice to the subaltern, minorities, and oppressed peoples. Dalsheim expands on these comparative projects by taking on what Laura Nader called the challenge of “studying up.” Her work looks at hegemonic groups, exploring the analytical usefulness of ideas such as hegemonic and subaltern.

These issues are explored in numerous journal articles, book chapters, and in Dalsheim’s first two books: Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project (Oxford 2011), and Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and Production of Enmity in a Secular Age (Oxford 2014).

At UNC-Charlotte, Dalsheim teaches foundational courses in the concentration in Peace, Conflict, and Identity in the Department of Global Studies. Her courses are also cross-listed with Anthropology.  She regularly offers courses on Cultures and Conflicts, Israel/Palestine and the role of Narratives in Conflict. She also works to de-colonize the curriculum through a project called Reading is Research.



Event Type





cascal, anthro, anthro-colloquium, cashum, Jewish Studies Program, nescal, jwstcal, middleeasterncal, nesnewsletter


Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Liz Kirk

Contact Phone



Joyce Dalsheim

Speaker Affiliation

UNC Charlotte


A reception will follow the talk.

Open To

free and open to the public

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