Keith P. Feldman

Keith P. Feldman


* Assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley
* Endorser of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
* Portrays blacks and Palestinian Arabs as oppressed victims of whites and Israelis
* Claims that America is Islamophobic

Keith P. Feldman earned a B.A. from Brown University in 2000, an M.A. from George Washington University in 2003, and a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2008. Today he serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. According to Feldman’s official biography on the Berkeley website, “his research theorizes and narrates relationships between U.S. imperial culture, West Asia, North Africa, the Arab and Muslim worlds, and Israel/Palestine.”

Feldman is an endorser of the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, whose objective is to persuade civil society organizations and “people of conscience” worldwide to “impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era.” Viewing Israel as an oppressor nation that routinely abuses Palestinian Arabs, Feldman mocks the so-called “special relationship” that the U.S. has developed with the Jewwish state.

In 2015 Feldman published his first book, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America, wherein, as the author puts it, he “analyze[s] 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.” Specifically, the book draws an analogy between American race relations and the Arab-Israeli conflict―portraying African Americans and Palestinian Arabs as oppressed victims of whites and Israelis, respectively.  “American ghettos,” said Feldman in a book-tour lecture, “are like … Warsaws, Palestinian refugee camps, or like prison, or like occupied territory. Israeli sovereigns are like Western Europeans or American pioneers, while Palestinians are like African-Americans.”

In a September 2015 lecture sponsored by UC Berkeley’s Center for Race & Gender, Feldman gave special praise to the Center’s “Islamophobia project,” directed by Hatem Bazian and rooted in the premise that “Muslims in the U.S., parts of Europe, and around the world have been transformed into a demonized and feared global ‘other,’ subjected to legal, social, and political discrimination.” Asserting that both America’s and Israel’s “racialized practices of threat production” are outgrowths of “white supremacy and settler sovereignty” mindsets, Feldman charged that “Israel since 1948 [its founding] has been in a state of perpetual war,” while “U.S. imperialism”  has likewise been “animated by a seemingly permanent war-making structure.” Referencing the “artists, intellectuals, state agents, [and] scholars” who have “written through Palestine solidarity,” Feldman lauded Palestinians for having successfully adopted the “politics of black liberation” for their own purposes: “In the early 1960s, race was already a well-developed heuristic through which the project of Palestinian liberation advanced its analysis of power and history.”

In addition to his teaching and writing, Feldman also pursues numerous related research projects. One is called “Patterns of Life: Raciality, Visuality, Global War,” which “analyzes the post-1980 interface between the racial and the visual.” This project, says Feldman, “investigates how visuality structures practices of surveillance, bordering, and incarceration that inform perceptions of threat and modalities of incapacitation….” In short, Feldman seeks to document the ways in which the unfounded prejudices of both American and Israeli law-enforcement authorities cause them to unjustifiably limit the freedoms of blacks and Palestinians, respectively.

In a separate endeavor, which Feldman describes as a “collaboration with several scholars across the United States,” the professor examines “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 yet another undertaking — pursued collaboratively with “scholars in New Media and Performance” — Feldman in 2015 helped edit the book #identity: Twitter and Difference, which examined “how people express, perform and define difference on Twitter, and how Twitter as a platform articulates, mediates, and reproduces understandings of difference and diversity.”

In addition to his full-time appointment in UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies program, Feldman is 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 principal investigator for the Carceral Geographies Undergraduate Course Thread. For the 2015-16 academic year, Feldman was appointed to serve as assistant director of Berkeley Connect for Ethnic Studies/African American Studies, a program offering students a forum wherein they can “become part of a community of like-minded faculty, mentors, and students that will provide a supportive environment in which to exchange and discuss ideas and goals.”

Feldman’s writings have appeared in a variety of venues, including CR: New Centennial Review; Comparative American Studies; MELUS: Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States; ALIF: Journal of Comparative Poetics; Comparative Literature Studies; Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography; Theory & Event; Jadaliyya; and Al Jazeera English. For a bibliography of his major writings, click here.

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