Keith P. Feldman, Assistant Professor

Ethnic Studies Department, Ethnic Studies

Office: 584 Barrows
Phone: 510-542-8604
Office hours: Spring 2015 // Thursdays, 11:30-1:30 // Sign up:

At its core, my current research program is interested in both theorizing and narrating the many connections between U.S. imperial culture and changing geopolitical engagements with West Asia, North Africa, the Arab and Muslim worlds, and Israel/Palestine.

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 two related research projects. The first addresses the visual culture of a purportedly “post-racial imaginary,” from the public print culture of political iconography in the age of Obama to the scopic regime produced by the drone wars at the borders of U.S. imperial cartography. The tentative title of this project is "Patterns of Life: Raciality and the Visual Culture of the War on Terror." The second project is a collaboration with several scholars across the United States to theorize 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 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.


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


Spring 2015

ES 11AC: Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies

Other Courses Taughts

ES 250: On Edward W. Said

ES 250: Comparativity and the Crisis of Neoliberalism

ES 250 / DECT 240: Race, War, Culture

ES 202: Cultural Texts: Contemporary Theories and Methods

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

ES 190: Race, War, Culture

ES 180: Comparative Racialization in the Era of Permanent War

ES 101B: Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies

Selected publications


"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.

"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.


" '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.


"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

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