Clinical Associate Professor
Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: BA American University of Beirut; MPhil Cambridge University; PhD Columbia University
Research Areas: War, ecologies, resistance, Landscape, oil, theory from the south, ethnographic writing
Munira Khayyat is an anthropologist whose research revolves around life in war, intimate genealogies of empire, and theory from the South. Her first book, A Landscape of War: Ecologies of Resistance and Survival in South Lebanon (University of California Press 2022) examines resistant ecologies in a world of perennial warfare. Drawing on long-term fieldwork in frontline villages along Lebanon’s southern border with Israel, she examines war not only as a place of death and destruction, but also necessarily, as an environment of living.
Khayyat is currently working on a second book that fleshes out the complex heart of empire in Saudi Arabia. Heart of Black Gold draws on a personal archive meticulously created by her maternal grandfather, who was among the first Arabian employees of ARAMCO, the Arab American Oil Company. How has oil — its extractive, shiny infrastructures, camps, big men, politics and corporations, its global ecologies — shaped lived environments? Insisting on a feminist and multidisciplinary rearranging of the archive, the book inhabits history-in-the-making as it unfolds in domestic scenes, lived quarters, the affective terrains of oil.
Khayyat’s research has been supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Arab Council for the Social Sciences, the Rachel Carson Center. Her writing has appeared in American Ethnologist, Public Culture, JMEWS, Cultural Anthropology, Anthropology News, HAU, and a number of edited volumes. Khayyat was a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (2018-2019). Before joining NYUAD, she taught at the American University in Cairo (2013-2023) and the American University of Beirut (2011-2013). She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University (2013), an MPhil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University (1998) and a BA in history (1997) from the American University of Beirut.