photo: Ilana Feldman

Ilana Feldman

Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs
Address: Anthropology Department
2110 G Street, NW
Phone: 202-994-7728
Fax: 202-994-6097

Areas of Expertise

Historical anthropology, government and bureaucracy, humanitarianism, citizenship, policing and security, Middle East, Palestine


Ilana Feldman is Professor of Anthropology, History, and International Affairs at George Washington University.

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 the author of Governing Gaza: Bureaucracy, Authority, and the Work of Rule, 1917-67 (Duke University Press, 2008); In the Name of Humanity: The Government of Threat and Care (Duke University, 2010; co-edited with Miriam Ticktin); and Police Encounters: Security and Surveillance in Gaza under Egyptian Rule (Stanford University Press, 2015).

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 explores the dynamics of long-term humanitarianism and the politics of living in the humanitarian condition.


Ph.D., University of Michigan


“Looking for Humanitarian Purpose: Endurance and the value of lives in a Palestinian refugee camp” Public Culture 27, 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.

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

"Difficult distinctions: Refugee law, humanitarian practice, and political identification in Gaza." Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 1 (2007): 129-69.

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

Classes Taught

ANTH 3513 Anthropology of Human Rights
ANTH 3707 Cultures of the Middle East
ANTH 6102 Proseminar: Sociocultural Anthropology
ANTH 6302 Issues in Development

  • Anthropology of Intervention: Development, Human Rights, Humanitarianism

ANTH 6391 Anthropology and Contemporary Problems

  • Displacement and Diasporas

ANTH 6707 Issues in Middle East Anthropology

  • Anthropology of Citizenship and Displacement in the Middle East
  • Anthropology of State and Government in the Middle East