It is with great pleasure and anticipation that we share that Dr. Sa’ed Atshan will return to the faculty of Swarthmore College and that he will serve as Chair of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies in the fall semester. We are so excited that future generations of students will benefit from his exceptional teaching and mentoring.
Dr. Atshan (Swarthmore ’06), a renowned anthropologist and peace and conflict studies scholar, has extensive teaching experience at institutions including Birzeit, Brown, Emory, MIT, Swarthmore, Tufts, and UC Berkeley.
He joined our program in 2015 and contributed mightily to its development as a department. His popular classes included the introductory course; Crisis Resolution in the Middle East; Gender, Sexuality, and Social Change; Humanitarianism; and more. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict course included five consecutive and transformational embedded study trips to Israel/Palestine, not to mention a related and well-attended annual film series. He also co-organized a large conference on resisting anti-Semitism with Rabbi Michael Ramberg, Swarthmore’s Jewish Advisor.
A widely sought public intellectual with a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies, MA in Social Anthropology, and Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University, Dr. Atshan’s areas of focus include peace and conflict, anthropology, Palestine/Israel, and gender and sexuality. He is author, co-author, or editor of award-winning books, Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (2020 Stanford University Press), The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (2020 Duke University Press; with Katharina Galor), and Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Cinema (2022 Bloomsbury; with Katharina Galor).
Dr. Atshan is the recipient of a wide range of awards including the Arab America Foundation’s ’40 Under 40’ Award, the Young Global Leader Award from the Council for the United States and Italy, and a Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace. Just this semester, Dr. Atshan became the first Palestinian inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Collegium of Scholars at Morehouse College, King’s alma mater in Atlanta.
Dr. Atshan returns to us from the Anthropology Department at Emory University, where he is a tenured professor and the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. His reputation as a beloved mentor precedes him. While at Swarthmore, he not only supported prospective students, current students, and alums in their academic and vocational pursuits, he also served as the Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) Program. He himself, as an undergraduate at Swarthmore, was both a Lang Scholar and the first Arab-American in the nation to receive a MMUF scholarship.
Dr. Atshan brings deep roots in Quaker life, having been educated at Ramallah Friends School (RFS), and with service now as an advisor to RFS, on the Corporation of Haverford College, and on the Board of the American Friends Service Committee. He has also served on the Board of Pendle Hill, the Multicultural Board of Westtown School, and as a spiritual nurturer for the Quaker Voluntary Service. Moreover, as he returns to the College, Dr. Atshan will lean into a new research project on African-American and Palestinian Quakers that will involve Swarthmore’s Peace Collection and Friends Historical Library.
We hope you can tell why we are excited about Dr. Atshan’s rejoining our department. He brings outstanding experience in so many respects that fit seamlessly with Swarthmore’s and our department’s missions.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Sa’ed Atshan!