University Lecturer in Contemporary Middle Eastern Politics & Society
Fellow, King's College
Lori Allen is an anthropologist whose primary research interests center on human rights, nationalism, violence, visual culture, political emotion, and the Middle East.
“I have investigated the ways in which understandings of pain and suffering and the ethics of violence play out in Palestinian politics, in particular through the activities and discourses of human rights in the occupied territories. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Palestine among human rights activists, other former and current political activists, victims of rights violations, and refugees during the height of the second intifada, the results of which I have published in a number of articles that explore what happens when violence becomes routine, part of the everyday.
Building on this work I am currently finishing a book, The Rise and Fall of Human Rights: Cynicism and Politics in Occupied Palestine. I am also currently conducting archival research for my book project, Suffering for Rights: A Geneaology of Palestinian Nationalism, which is a historical-ethnographic inquiry into the political practices and discourses framed by the concepts of rights and suffering in Palestinian politics, from the 1920s to the present. I am particularly curious about how suffering and victimhood have become central to Palestinian nationalism as it developed in dialectic tension with Israel’s legacy as a refuge for the Jews. Suffering for Rights examines this history as a key aspect of the development of a global politics of suffering and human rights, which emerged partially in response to World War II and the Holocaust.
I received a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2005. I subsequently enjoyed postdoctoral fellowships at Brown University’s Pembroke Center, and at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.
I am a founding member of the Task Force on Middle East Anthropology, a group dedicated to increasing the relevance, visibility, and application of anthropological perspectives on the Middle East www.meanthro.org, a member of MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom, www.mesa.arizona.edu/about/academic.htm, and an emerita Editorial Committee member for Middle East Report. In my “spare time” I write about art, jog, play the piano, take photos. Having recently been introduced to the wonders of mountain hiking, I hope do a bit more of that soon too.”
Applicant Requirements [PDF]
"The Scales of Occupation: 'Operation Cast Lead' and the Targeting of the Gaza Strip." Critique of Anthropology 32(3): 261-284, 2012.
“Martyr Bodies in the Media: Human Rights, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Immediation in the Palestinian Intifada.” American Ethnologist 36(1): 161-180. [PDF]
"Mothers of Martyrs and Suicide Bombers: The Gender of Ethical Discourse in the Second Palestinian Intifada." Arab Studies Journal 17(1): 32-61, 2009.
“Getting by the Occupation: How Violence Became Normal during the Second Palestinian Intifada.” Cultural Anthropology 23(3): 453-487, 2008. [PDF]
“The Polyvalent Politics of Martyr Commemorations in the Palestinian Intifada.” History and Memory 18(2): 107-138, 2006.
“Social Security: How Palestinians Survive a Humanitarian Crisis.” Middle East Report 240: 12-19, 2006.
“Academics and the Government in the ‘New American Century’: a conversation with Rashid Khalidi.” Co-authored with Lara Deeb and Jessica Winegar. Radical History Review, 93:240-259, 2005.
“There Are Many Reasons Why: Suicide Bombers and Martyrs in Palestine.” Middle East Report 223: 34-37, 2002.
“Palestinians Debate ‘Polite’ Resistance to Occupation,” Middle East Report 225: 38-43, 2002. www.merip.org/mer/mer225/225_allen.html.