Department of Ethnic Studies - College of Letters and Science - University of California, Berkeley

People / Faculty

Core Faculty

Keith Feldman

Associate Professor
Comparative Ethnic Studies

Theories of Race, Nation, and Empire; Cultural Theory; African, Arab, and Jewish Diasporas; Visual Culture Studies; Transnational American Studies

Ph.D., University of Washington, 2008 (with honors)

M.A., The George Washington University, 2003

B.A., Brown University, 2000 (cum laude)


Office:

  • 584 Barrows Hall
  • Fall 2017: by appointment

Bio & Research Interests

At its core, my research program takes cultural studies approaches to theorize and narrate the interface between race, culture, knowledge, and state power. My work explores race as a “master category” (following Omi and Winant) and as a “medium” (following WJT Mitchell) by crafting comparative, relational, intersectional, and transnational analyses situated in localized and embodied contexts. By turning to the domain of culture, I investigate how power differentials become sedimented and contested in narrative, subject and identity formations, memory, and knowledge production.

My first book, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America (Minnesota, 2015), explores the changeful complexity of race in its historical particularity, its representational density, and its transnational circulation. It asks, how have Israel and Palestine impacted U.S. racial and imperial formations, how have shifting conceptions of race in the U.S. shaped symbolic and material relationships to Israel and Palestine, and how have different cultural forms been used to surface knowledge in the process? I provide a conjunctural analysis of the post-civil rights United States and Israel’s post-1967 occupation of Palestinian lands. I demonstrate how a range of culture workers linked the U.S. state’s combination of political inclusion and intensified projection of violence at home and abroad to shifting dynamics of rule in Israel and Palestine. 

A Shadow over Palestine received the 2017 Best Book in Humanities and Cultural Studies (Literary Studies) from the Association for Asian American Studies; and was a Finalist for the American Studies Association's 2016 Lora Romero First Book Publication prize.

In my current book-length project, “Patterns of Life: Raciality, Visuality, Global War,” I explore literary and visual configurations of the body in the long war on terror, attending especially to the ways contemporary U.S. visual culture innovates, consolidates, and contests historical processes of racialization. My point of departure is the rise of what the Obama administration has termed “pattern of life” analysis to legitimate the globalized expression of sovereign violence. I ask, what are the contested histories of these heuristics, how do they produce aestheticizations of enmity and raciality, and what kinds of cultural forms have emerged to surface and trouble their common sense? 

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Courses Taught

Spring 2018

ES 250: Critical Ethnic Studies without Guarantees: On the work of Stuart Hall

ES 24: Reading Du Bois's The Souls of Black Folk Today

ES 11AC: Theories and Concepts in Comparative Ethnic Studies

Other Courses Taughts

ES 250 / DECT 240: Race, War, Culture

ES 250: On Edward W. Said

ES 250: Comparativity and the Crisis of Neoliberalism

ES 202: Cultural Texts: Contemporary Theories and Methods

ES 190: Race, War, Culture

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

ES 181: Big Ideas: Prison

ES 180: Comparative Racialization in the Era of Permanent War

ES 101B: Humanities Methods in Ethnic Studies


Books

A Shadow Over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America

Select publications

ARTICLES

"Framed in Black." PMLA 123, no. 1 (2017): 156-163.

"We Deportees: Race, Religion, and War on Palestine's No-Man's Land," with Emily Drumsta. Social Text 129 (December 2016): 87-110.

"Race/Religion/War: An Introduction," with Leerom Medovoi. Social Text 129 (December 2016): 1-17.

"On Relationalty, On Blackness: A Listening Post." Comparative Literature 68, no. 2 (2016): 107-115. Introduction to edited ACLA Forum on "Blackness and Relationality."

"Seeing is Believing: U.S. Imperial Culture and the Jerusalem Exhibit of 1904." Studies in American Jewish Literature 35, no. 1 (2016): 98-118.

"The Globality of Whiteness in Post-racial Visual Culture." Cultural Studies 30, no. 2 (2016): 289-311.

"Empire's Verticality: The Af/Pak Frontier, Visual Culture, and Racialization from Above." Comparative American Studies 9, no. 4 (Winter 2011): 325-341. (Reprinted in Critical Ethnic Studies: An Anthology, eds. Nada Elia, et. al. Durham: Duke UP, 2016. 376-392).

"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, no. 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, no. 4 (Winter 2006): 33-53.

SELECTED BOOK CHAPTERS

"#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.

REVIEWS

"Double Critique and the Aesthetic Archaeologies of Islam." Review of Sadia Abbas, At Freedom's Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial PredicamentContemporary Literature 57.4 (December 2016): 575-582.

Karine V. Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821-1921. Journal of American History 103.2 (September 2016): 435-437.

Moustafa Bayoumi, This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on TerrorThe American Historian (May 2016): 42-43.

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.

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).

"The Black Panther" comic book series. MELUS  32.3 (Fall 2007): 255-258.

INTERVIEWS

"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.

OP-EDS and PUBLIC TALKS

"Flourishing Renewals: On Black-Palestinian Solidarity." Palestine Square. 3 November 2015.

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: On 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.


Awards & Honors

2017: American Cultures Engaged Scholarship Curriculum Continuity Award 

2016-17: Presidential Chairs Fellows Curriculum Enrichment Grant, UC Berkeley

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