Joyce Dalsheim is a cultural anthropologist who earned her doctorate at The New School for Social Research in New York. Her work interrogates some of the social and political categories through which everyday life is navigated. It focuses on questions of identity and conflict, religion and the secular, nationalism, citizenship, sovereignty, and colonialism. Looking at the work of historical representations in contemporary conflict, she reconceptualizes such conflicts by considering the ways historical events are variously imagined, and how alternatives to “history” itself might act as a framework for understanding conflict.
The space of Israel/Palestine has served as her primary empirical case, and critical and postcolonial theory the primary conceptual framework for thinking through these issues. Israel/Palestine is particularly useful in challenging and renovating particular aspects of critical theory. Dalsheim’s work aims at seeing things otherwise by making unexpected comparisons and contrasts—the hallmark of anthropological analysis.
Much anthropology has been concerned with giving voice to the subaltern, minorities, and oppressed peoples. Dalsheim expands on these comparative projects by taking on what Laura Nader called the challenge of “studying up.” Her work looks at hegemonic groups, exploring the analytical usefulness of ideas such as hegemonic and subaltern.
These issues are explored in numerous journal articles, book chapters, and in Dalsheim’s first three books: Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project (Oxford 2011), and Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and Production of Enmity in a Secular Age (Oxford 2014), and Israel Has a Jewish Problem: Self-Determination as Self-Elimination (Oxford 2019).
Dalsheim came to UNC-Charlotte following a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, and a Lady Davis Fellowship at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She previously taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Wake Forest University. At UNC-Charlotte, Dalsheim teaches foundational courses in the concentration in Peace, Conflict, and Identity in the Department of Global Studies. Her courses are also cross-listed with Anthropology. She regularly offers courses on Cultures and Conflicts, Israel/Palestine and the role of Narratives in Conflict. She also works to de-colonize the curriculum through a project called Reading is Research.