Critical SWANA Studies Research Cluster


The Critical SWANA (Southwest Asian/North African) Studies Research Cluster is interested in how the field of Ethnic Studies can reflect the histories and current realities of people from the SWANA region, and center them in the development of the field. As such participants explore questions of racialization, gender and sexuality, the national security state, surveillance, imperialism, media representations, migration, refugees, militarism, and settler colonialism. We highlight the innovative and intersectional scholarship and activism of those confronting anti-Muslim racism, settler colonialism, and Zionism.


We use SWANA as opposed to Arab or Middle Eastern/North African to be inclusive of Arab and non-Arab (e.g. Iranian, Copts, Afghans, etc.) identities and to move away from normalizing colonizing language. In addition to the study of transnational SWANA communities and the circulation of ideas, products, and discourses in the US, we are also interested in the Americas more broadly. We use “critical” in our name to signal our investment in Critical Race Studies and in thinking about the relationship between SWANA Studies and Critical Muslim Studies as well as established Ethnic Studies fields, such as Asian American/Transpacific Studies, Black Studies, Native/Indigenous American Studies, and Latinx Studies. We aim to create an intellectual community that supports graduate students and faculty in developing their research through meetings, workshops, and engaging with guest speakers.



Evelyn Alsultany

Sarah Gualtieri


Graduate Students

Megan Awwad

Rojeen Harsini

Deena Naime

Samia Saliba

Zaina Ujayli

Layla Zbinden