Randa Farah

Randa Farah


Associate Professor -Sociocultural Anthropology

PhD 1999 (University of Toronto)
Office: Social Science Centre 3423A
Tel: 519 661-2111  ext. 85088
E-mail: rfarah2@uwo.ca


Research Interests

My field research in the MENA region, conducted mainly on Palestinian refugees and the refugees of Western Sahara, was entwined with questions of history/memory and how the past is invoked by people who have been forcibly uprooted and engaged in liberation struggles to return. I questioned how home, land and homeland are remembered, and the extent to which successive generations carry the burden of memory and the struggle to decolonize and fulfill their aspirations to self-determination. In both the Palestinian and Sahrawi cases, their refugee camps became sites of collective mobilization, and in the Sahrawi case incubators for nation-building for a future return to national territory (e.g. see article in Journal of Palestine Studies comparing the two cases). Relatedly, I have published a number of articles on humanitarian aid, focusing on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) (see for example article in Refugee Studies Quarterly), and how the power and authority of humanitarian organizations may be constrained as in the Sahrawi refugee camps. I continue to be interested in comparative research involving populations who were displaced as a direct result of imperial interventions and the policies of repressive states. 

Selected English-Language Publications

2018.    In preparation. Canada, the Palestinian Refugees and UNRWA. In Canada and the Palestinians, Michael Lynk, Reem Badhi, and Jeremy Wildeman, eds.

2016.   "The Darker Shades of Exile". In Being Palestinian: Personal Reflections on Palestinian Identity in the Diaspora. Yasir Suleiman (ed.), Edinburgh University Press. Pp. 151-160.

2014.  "What Forces Shape the Palestinians in Gaza?".  alShabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. http://al-shabaka.org/what-forces-shape-palestinians-gaza. September 2014. Reprinted at Ma'an News Agency:  http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=729793

2014.   Palestinian Dead End Highlights the Right of Return". alShabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. http://al-shabaka.org/palestinian-dead-end-highlights-right-return. May 2014.

2013.   "Palestinian Refugees, the Nation, and the Shifting Political Landscape", Social Alternatives, 32:3, pp. 41-47.

2012.   “Keeping an Eye on UNRWA”  alShabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network at: http://al-shabaka.org/policy-brief/refugee-issues/keeping-eye-unrwa, January, 2012        

2011.  “”Knowledge in the Service of the Cause": Education and the Sahrawi Struggle for Self-determination”, Refuge, 27:1 (submitted, reviewed and accepted).

2010.    “UNRWA: Through the Eyes of its Palestinian Employees”, Refugee Survey Quarterly, Oxford 28: 2-3, pp. 389-411. 

2010.   “Uneasy But Necessary: The UNRWA-Palestinian Relationship”, alShabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network. http://al-shabaka.org/policy-brief/refugee-issues.

2010.   “Sovereignty on Borrowed Territory: Sahrawi Identity in Algeria”, Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, Summer/Fall 2010, pp.59-66.

2009    “Refugee Camps in the Palestinian and Sahrawi National Liberation Movements: A Comparative Perspective”, Journal of Palestine Studies, JPS No. 150, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 2. pp. 76-93.           

2006.   “Palestinian Refugees: Dethroning the Nation at the Crowning of the ‘Statelet’?” Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies Vol. 8, pp. 229-252.

2003.   “The Marginalization of Palestinian Refugees.” In Problems of Protection: The UNHCR, Refugees and Human Rights. Niklaus Steiner, Mark Gibney, Gil Loescher, eds. New York and London: Routledge, pp. 155-174.

2002.   “Palestinian Refugee Camps: reinscribing and contesting memory and space.” In Isolation Places and Practices of Exclusion. Carolyn Strange and Alison Bashford, eds., London, Routledge, pp. 191 – 207.

Selected  Arabic-Language Publications

2018.  “al-Unrwa: ramz haq al-awdah” (UNRWA: Symbol of the Right of Return) al-Akhbar (The News),  Jan 31, 2018, at: http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/290095

2016. “al-Nakba wa Tareeq al -Awdah” (Nakba and the Road of Return), al-Akhbar (The News),  May 13, 2016, at: http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/257773.

2016. “Wada’an ayyuha al-Shahid al-Sahrawi” (Farewell to a Sahrawi Martyr), al-Akhbar (The News), June 6, 2016, at: http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/259213. 

Teaching and Graduate Supervision

My undergraduate and graduate teaching is generally in the areas of history/memory and identity-making (e.g. undergrad (3305) and grad (9214)), refugees and displacement (undergrad (2283) and grad 9213), theories of nations and nationalisms (9225), borders and boundaries (3389), and introductory courses. I also teach a course on Cultures of the Middle East (2219) where we examine a broad range of themes, including history and contemporary debates revolving around for example gender and Islamophobia.  One of my courses (2283) has a community engagement component during which students visit community centers that provide services and support for newcomers in Canada.

I have supervised graduate students working on a wide range of research projects in different places and countries many involving memory/history. 

Graduate students who completed their graduate program 2011-18:

Elaine McIlwraith, “On Convivencia, Bridges and Boundaries: Belonging and Exclusion in the Narratives of Spain’s Arab-Islamic Past”, (PhD, 2018).

Abdulla Majeed, “Memory and the Notion(s) of Homeland Among Iraqi Exiles in Amman, Jordan”, (MA, 2018).

Hana Shams Ahmed, “Tourism and State Violence in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh”, (MA, 2017).

Megan Lowthers, “Internal Migration in Kenya; Cut Flower Industry; Transactional Sex; Gender”, (PhD, 2015 co-supervisor with Dr. Regna Darnell).

Peige Desjarlais, “The Violence of Representation: The (Un) Narration of Palestine in Public Discursive Space in Canada”, (MA, 2014).

Julianna Beaudoin, “Challenging Essentialized Representations of Romani Identities in Canada (PhD, 2014).

Melissa Stachel, “Somali Children and Youth's Experiences in Educational Spaces in North America: Reconstructing Identities and Negotiating the Past in the Present”, (PhD, 2012).

Jennifer Long, “Shifting Notions of Citizenship in the Netherlands: exploring cultural citizenship and the politics of belonging through neighbourhood spaces in Rotterdam”, (PhD, 2011).

Kinga Pozniak, “Model Socialist Town, Two Decades Later: Contesting the Past in Nowa Huta, Poland”, (PhD, 2011).