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  CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
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DATE: September 29, 2004

Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi named director of Center for Arab American Studies
at the University of Michigan-Dearborn

DEARBORN---Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi has been named director of the Center for Arab American Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She also will be associate professor of sociology at the University.

She joined the faculty of UM-Dearborn on September 1, 2004. Her appointments were approved by the University of Michigan Regents at their meeting on the Dearborn campus on May 20.

Community leaders Ed Deeb (left) and Michael Berry (right) greeted Rabab Abdulhadi at a campus reception earlier this month.

Abdulhadi's scholarship addresses issues of empire, postcoloniality, and resistance; globalization and development; and transnational feminisms. She is currently revising two books: Cultures of Resistance and the "Post Colonial" State: Altering the Question of Palestine, and Revising the Master Narrative? Nation, Resistance and Feminism in Palestine. She has published scholarly articles on Palestinian national identity and on gender and nationalism, and also has written widely about issues in the Middle East for Arabic and English-language media.

Abdulhadi has co-initiated a number of research projects, including "Reconstruction of War Torn Communities in Africa and the Middle East"; "The Arab/Arab American Women's Working Group on Gender/Sexuality, Transnationalism and Diaspora"; "Border Crossing: Gender, Displacement and Exile"; and "Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Global South" the first phase of which was a collaborative workshop she co-organized with the Institute for Gender and Women's Studies at the American University in Cairo. Entitled, "Gendered Bodies, Transnational Politics: Modernities Reconsidered", the workshop was held on December 12-14, 2003, in Egypt, and drew distinguished and rising scholars from the Global North and South. The next phase focusing on "Diasporic Sexualities" will also be a collaborative project between the Center for Arab American Studies at UMD and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU.

Her ongoing research focuses on Palestinian refugees and displacement. In particular, she has been collecting oral history narratives from survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre in Beirut. Her latest work in progress focuses on "Carving Spaces, Building Communities: Palestinian Women's Activism in North America 1983-1995."

Born and raised in the West Bank city of Nablus, Palestine, Abdulhadi received her bachelor's degree with highest honors in 1994 from Hunter College in New York City, and two master's degrees and a doctoral degree in sociology from Yale University in 2000. She has taught at a number of American and Arab colleges and universities, including Yale, Hunter College, the American University of Cairo, and Bir Zeit University in Palestine. She is the recipient of teaching excellence awards at Yale (the Prize Teaching Fellowship) and the American University in Cairo (the 2000-2001 Teaching Excellence Award).

Abdulhadi comes to UM-Dearborn from New York University where she was an assistant professor/faculty fellow at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality. At NYU, she taught a wide range of courses on the dynamics of gender and sexuality, focusing in particular on the global South, marginalized diasporas, and the politics of race, class, and citizenship in the global North.

As an activist scholar, Abdulhadi worked as a journalist based at the United Nations Headquarters in New York for 10 years, reporting on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as on social and economic issues and Arab American affairs. She has lectured on a variety of topics, including immigration and citizenship; political development and social movements; transnational feminisms; the racial and sexual politics of globalization; and human rights, peace and conflict resolution in the Middle East and Southern Africa.

She has co-founded and led major campaigns and organizations, including the General Union of Palestinian Students, the Union of Palestinian Women's Association in North America, the Howard Beach Justice Campaign, and the 1985 "Israel-South Africa: The Apartheid Connection" 26-city educational tour. She is the first and only Arab to ever be elected to the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She was elected to the board of the Brecht Forum in 2003.

Abdulhadi has received numerous grants, honors and awards: most recently, she was selected by the Fulbright Commission for the 2004-2005 New Century Scholarship, focusing on "the Global Empowerment of Women." She has previously received grants for collective projects she co-initiated and for her own research, including grants from the Ford Foundation; the Open Society Institute; the Middle East Awards Program of the Population Council (Cairo); the Palestinian American Research Center (Washington, DC); and the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies Program (American University of Cairo).

"Professor Abdulhadi's education and experience will enable her to lead the development of curriculum in Arab American studies, design research activities and plan outreach events, as well as represent the Center for Arab American Studies to the public," said UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little. "I am very pleased to be able to recommend her appointment and to welcome her to our faculty and this community."

UM-Dearborn's Center for Arab American Studies was established in 2001 to offer academic, social and cultural programs about the history and roles of Arabs in America, and to serve as a hub for research and a platform for discussion of Arab American issues.

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