Joyce Dalsheim is a cultural anthropologist who studies nationalism, religion and the secular, and conflict, particularly in Israel/Palestine. She earned her her doctorate from the New School for Social Research in New York, and has taught at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and Wake Forest University. In 2005, she held the Rockefeller Fellowship at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Dalsheim’s first book, Unsettling Gaza: Secular Liberalism, Radical Religion, and the Israeli Settlement Project (Oxford 2011) is an ethnographic study that takes a ground-breaking approach to one of the most contentious issues in the Middle East: the Israeli settlement project. Based on fieldwork in the settlements of the Gaza Strip and surrounding communities during the year prior to the Israeli withdrawal, Unsettling Gaza poses controversial questions about the settlement of Israeli occupied territories in ways that move beyond the usual categories of politics, religion, and culture. The book critically examines how religiously motivated settlers think about living with Palestinians, how they express theological uncertainty, and how they imagine the future beyond the confines of territorial nationalism.
This is the first study to place radical, right-wing settlers and their left-wing and secular opposition in the same analytic frame. Dalsheim shows that the intense antagonism between these groups disguises fundamental similarities. Her analysis reveals the social and cultural work achieved through a politics of mutual denunciation. With theoretical implications stretching far beyond the boundaries of Israel/Palestine, Unsettling Gaza’s counter-intuitive findings shed fresh light on politics and identity among Israelis and the troubling conflicts in Israel/Palestine, as well as providing challenges and insight into the broader questions that exist at the interface between religiosity and formations of the secular.
Dalsheim’s second book, Producing Spoilers: Peacemaking and Production of Enmity in a Secular Age analyzes the ways in which peacemaking can actually work to produce enmity. Click on the tab labelled “Producing Spoilers” to read more about this book.
At UNC-Charlotte, Dalsheim teaches courses foundational 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.