Keith P. Feldman, Assistant Professor

Ethnic Studies Department, Ethnic Studies

Office: 584 Barrows
Phone: 510-542-8604
Office hours: Mondays 10:00-12:30. Sign up at:

At its core, my research program takes cultural studies approaches to theorize and narrate the interface between race, culture, knowledge, and state power.

Most central to this program is my first book, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). Here I analyze a broad archive of texts that have mediated and repeatedly contested the entanglement between the post-civil rights United States and Israel’s post-1967 occupation of Palestinian territory. Taking a transnational approach to this entanglement, the book theorizes and historicizes the mutual constitution of U.S. and Israeli national exceptionalisms and the cultural politics of relation that contested these connections across U.S., North African, and West Asian geographies. It demonstrates how, through novels, poems, memoirs, letters, posters, speeches, performances, and policy prescriptions, heated transnational debates about the meaning and function of genocide, human rights, and decolonization were central to addressing purportedly “domestic” U.S. concerns around race, national belonging, and social justice. In advancing this argument, A Shadow over Palestine tracks processes of comparative racialization (of Arabs, Muslims, Palestinians, “terrorism,” Whiteness, Jews, and African Americans) that were both routed through and interrupted by imaginative geographies incommensurate with the nation-state.

I am also pursuing numerous related research projects. One is "Patterns of Life: Raciality, Visuality, Global War," which analyzes the post-1980 interface between the racial and the visual. It investigates how visuality structures practices of surveillance, bordering, and incarceration that inform perceptions of threat and modalities of incapacitation. It turns specifically to contemporary popular narrative cinema and television; new media infographics, data visualization, and viral digital campaigns; posters, graffiti, and other forms of public art; and textual documentation produced through FOIA releases, WikiLeaks, and investigative journalism.

In a collaboration with several scholars across the United States, I am theorizing the “race/religion/war” nexus as it has been forged transnationally. We ask how race and religion are used to establish war as a strategy of political power, and conversely how the uses of war stabilize the epistemologies of race and religion as intimately linked organizing categories of social life.

In collaboration with scholars in New Media and Performance, I am working on an edited book project, currently titled "#identity: Twitter and Difference," which examines how people express, perform and define difference on Twitter, and how Twitter as a platform articulates, mediates, and reproduces understandings of difference and diversity.

With several scholars in Public Health fields, I have begun investigating the interface of race, biology, and health in both its historical and contemporary manifestations.

In addition to my full-time appointment in Ethnic Studies, I am also a core faculty member in the Designated Emphasis in Critical Theory, an associate in the Center for Middle East Studies, an affiliated faculty member in the Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality, and a PI for the Carceral Geographies Undergraduate Course Thread.

During 2015-2016, I am assistant director of Berkeley Connect for Ethnic Studies/African American Studies.


Ph.D., University of Washington, 2008 (with honors)
M.A., The George Washington University, 2003
B.A., Brown University, 2000 (cum laude)

Research interests

Comparative Ethnic Studies; Theories of Race and Ethnicity; Cultures of the African, Arab, and Jewish Diasporas; Visual Culture Studies; 19th and 20th century U.S. Popular Culture; U.S. in the World; Postcolonial Theory; Critical Theory; Public Humanities


Fall 2015

ES 190: Race, War, Culture

ES 250 / DECT 240: Race, War, Culture

Other Courses Taughts

ES 250: On Edward W. Said

ES 250: Comparativity and the Crisis of Neoliberalism

ES 202: Cultural Texts: Contemporary Theories and Methods

ES 190: Translation and the Dialectic(s) of Diaspora

ES 180: Comparative Racialization in the Era of Permanent War

ES 101B: Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies

ES 11AC: Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies

Selected publications


A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).


"The Globality of Whiteness in Post-racial Visual Culture." Cultural Studies (2015).

"Empire's Verticality: The Af/Pak Frontier, Visual Culture, and Racialization from Above." Comparative American Studies 9.4 (Winter 2011): 325-341. (To be reprinted in Critical Ethnic Studies: An Anthology. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2016.)

"Towards an Afro-Arab Diasporic Culture: The Translational Practice of David Graham Du Bois." ALIF: Journal of Comparative Poetics 31 (2011): 152-172.

"Representing Permanent War: Black Power's Palestine and the End(s) of Civil Rights." CR: New Centennial Review 8.2 (Fall 2008): 193-231.  (Reprinted in Black Routes to Islam, eds. Manning Marable and Hishaam D. Aidi. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.)

"The (Il)legible Arab Body and the Fantasy of National Democracy." MELUS 31.4 (Winter 2006): 33-53.


"#notabugsplat: Becoming Human on the Terrain of Visual Culture." Routledge Companion to Literature and Human Rights, eds. Sophia McClennen and Ali Schultheis Moore. London: Routledge, 2016. 224-232.

" 'One Like Me': The Refugee as Relational Figure." Ethnic Literatures and Transnationalism: Critical Imaginaries for a Global Age, ed. Aparajita Nanda. London: Routledge, 2015. 28-40.

"America's Last Taboo: Rethinking Orientalism in the Post-Civil Rights Era." Liberty and Justice: America and the Middle East, ed. Patrick McGreevy. Beirut: American University of Beirut, 2009. 108-121.

"Poetic Geographies: Interracial Insurgency in Arab-American Autobiographical Spaces." Arab Women's Lives Retold: Exploring Identity Through Writing, ed. Nawar Al-Hassan Golley. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse UP, 2007. 51-70.


Review of Gretchen Murphy, Shadowing the White Man's Burden: U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line. Comparative Literature Studies 50.3 (2013): 540-543.

Review of Eric J. Sundquist, Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, and Post-Holocaust America. Intertexts 14.1 (2010): 63-66.

"fuga." Review of Edward W. Said's On Late Style. Postmodern Culture 18.3 (2008).

Review of "The Black Panther" comic book series.  MELUS: Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 32.3 (Fall 2007): 255-258.


"Profile of a Public Scholar." The Simpson Center for the Humanities. 2 May 2013.

"Affect, Ethics, and the Imaginative Geographies of Permanent War: An Interview with Derek Gregory." With Anoop Mirpuri and Georgia Roberts. Theory & Event 12.3 (2009).

"Antiracism and Environmental Justice in an Age of Neoliberalism: An Interview with Van Jones." With Anoop Mirpuri and Georgia Roberts. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 41.3 (2009): 401-415.


New Texts Out Now: A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America. Jadaliyya, 3 June 2015.

"Invitations to the Process: Some Notes on Graduate Mentoring." The Berkeley Teaching Blog. 30 April 2014.

"Fragments from the Breach: Anti-racism, American Studies, and the Question of Palestine." Jadaliyya. 13 December 2013

"Freedom's Futures: Contested Legacies of the Reconstruction Amendments." UC Berkeley Constitution Day Lecture. 18 September 2013.

"A Haunting Echo: WEB Du Bois in a Time of Permanent War." Al Jazeera English. 10 February 2013. Reprinted as “The Long Legacy of W. E. B. Du Bois: Remembering the Impact of an Historic Visionary and Civil Rights Leader.” San Quentin News. 2013.2 (2013): 10.


Honors & Awards

2015: Digital Humanities Fellowship, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley

2014: Institute for International Studies Manuscript Workshop, UC Berkeley

2013-2014: Co-Convener, "Carceral Geographies" Course Thread, Townsend Center for the Humanities

2012-2013: Co-Convener, "Critical Prison Studies" Strategic Working Group, Townsend Center for the Humanities

2011-2012: Hellman Family Junior Faculty Award, UC Berkeley

2011-2012: Presidential Chair Fellowship, UC Berkeley

2011: Institute for International Studies Junior Faculty Fellowship, UC Berkeley

2010-2011: Presidential Chair Fellowship, UC Berkeley

2010: Faculty Research Grant, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies

2007-2008: John C. Flanagan Dissertation Fellowship, University of Washington

2007: Society of Scholars Research Fellowship, Walter Chapin Simpson Center for the Humanities (declined)

2006: Publicly Active Graduate Education Fellowship, Imagining America

2004-2006: Co-Principal Investigator, “Public Rhetorics and Permanent War,” funded by the Walter Chapin Simpson Center

2003: Distinguished Teacher Award, University of Washington Department of English

Full CV



Ethnic Studies Department
506 Barrows Hall #2570
Berkeley, CA 94720-2570
510-642-6456 fax

Office Hours: Mon - Thurs 9-12, 1-4, Fri 9-12