Exeter Education Incubator grant
Dr Katie Natanel
Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies
I am an educator, researcher, editor and organiser whose work engages with gender, power, violence, decolonisation, creativity and everyday life. My academic interests span three areas: gender and sexuality in Palestine/Israel; decolonial and anticolonial feminist pedagogies; and ecology.
I joined the Institute as a Lecturer in Gender Studies in 2016, focusing on gender in the Middle East. My academic research in this area explores how gender and sexuality shape – and are shaped by – political participation and mobilisation, conflict and political violence, and political emotions, primarily in the context of Palestine/Israel. I am particularly interested in micro-politics, or the politics of everyday life, and psycho-social dynamics. These themes are reflected in my first book project, Sustaining Conflict: Apathy and Domination in Israel-Palestine (2016, University of California Press), which was awarded the 2017 Feminist and Women's Studies Association (UK & Ireland) Book Prize.
As an ethnographer I work with feminist research methods, as well as feminist, queer and gender theory more broadly. My research and teaching emphasise creative methods, from visual ethnography and digital storytelling to participatory action research. I continue to develop this approach through collaboration on decolonial and anticolonial feminist pedagogies. Since 2017, I have worked closely with students and comrades to challenge what ‘counts’ as knowledge, insisting on the significance of aesthetic and embodied expression – as ways of knowing that reach and move people. Examples of our praxis can be seen in my most recent publications ‘Toward a Liberation Pedagogy’ (in Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, special issue on 'Anticolonial Feminist Imaginaries') and ‘Steps toward a decolonial feminist ecology’ (forthcoming in Creative Ruptions for Emergent Educational Futures, Palgrave Macmillan).
My work on pedagogies is part of a larger shift to focusing on decolonisation – as a material practice and knowledge project oriented toward justice, liberation and self-determination. I am currently developing a research project on decolonial feminist ecologies, which is grounded in local land-based initiatives. As of autumn 2023, I also work with Radical Ecology as the coordinator of the Black Atlantic Innovation Network (BAIN). In spring 2024 we will launch ‘A Framework for Environmental Justice’, developed with the UCL Sarah Parker Remond Centre and other Network partners.
Beyond these activities, I am a founding member of the Exeter Decolonising Network, which brings together staff and students at the University of Exeter whose intellectual, creative and political work focuses on decoloniality and antiracism. I am also the Executive Editor for Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) – an organisation that publishes critical alternative reporting and analysis of the Middle East and North Africa.
Research group links
- Centre for Middle East Politics
- Centre for Political Thought
- Creativity and Emergent Educational-futures Network
- European Centre for Palestine Studies
- Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies
My research interests include decolonisation and anti-colonial movements; ecology; feminist and gender theory; political participation and mobilisation; conflict and political violence; political emotions and sensation; feminist research methods; and gender and sexuality in the Middle East.
I am also interested in critical and creative pedagogies, particularly those that foster political engagement within Higher Education classrooms. In 2018-19 I was awarded an Education Incubator fellowship for a research project with Dr. Kerry Chappell (GSE), which explores the intra-action between digital technology, creative pedagogies and project-based learning. During 2020-21, I undertook a second Incubator Fellowship to explore 'Decolonial Knowledge Production and Antiracist Pedagogies' with fellow members of the Exeter Decolonising Network.
Please feel free to get in touch about superivison if your work falls within any of my broad research interests:
- political participation and mobilisation
- feminist and gender theory
- conflict and political violence
- affect and political emotions
- decolonisation and anti-colonial movements
- decolonial ecology
- decolonial and anticolonial pedagogies
- feminist research methods
- gender and sexuality in the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas
I am particularly interested in working with students on projects that engage with feminist decolonial theory and praxis; decolonial ecologies; and transnational or internationliaist solidarity.
I am involved in supervising the following current PhD research projects:
- Venla Koivuluhta 'The everyday impossibility: Women living without ID-cards in Egypt'. Co-supervised with Marc Valeri (IAIS).
- Rami Rmeileh 'A new look at Sumud: The case of Burj Barajneh and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon'. Co-supervised with Ilan Pappé (IAIS).
- Lucy Barkley 'Cooking up a sense of togetherness: Food and the (re)construction of homes and communities among Palestinians living in the UK'. Jointly supervised with Ilan Pappe (IAIS) and Jason Hart (University of Bath).
- Jeanine Hourani 'Mental health, settler colonial violence & women's resistance in Palestine.' Co-supervised with Sabiha Allouche (IAIS).
- Hamza Albakri 'Stateless masculinities in the Occupied West Bank: Violence, resilience and resistance'. Co-supervised with Sabiha Allouche (IAIS).
- Liam Hilton 'Jumping the wall: Negotiations and resistance of bodies and borders by queer Palestinians between the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Israel'. Supervised with Chris Rossdale (University of Bristol).
- Asha Ali 'Resisting erasure: Black Muslim women's agency and belonging in the ummah in Britain'. Co-supervised with Ross Porter (IAIS).
I previously supervised the following projects to completion:
- Roba Al-Salibi 'Affective Geographies: Borders, Home, Belonging and Futurity in Palestinian, Syrian and Iraqi Exile Literature' [PhD awarded September 2022]. Co-supervised with Clemence Scalbert-Yucel (IAIS).
- Francesco Amoruso 'Neoliberal Urbanity, Indigenous Futures: The Production of Space under Settler Colonialism in Rawabi, Palestine' [PhD awarded January 2022]. Co-supervised with Ilan Pappe (IAIS).
- Schluwa Sama 'Making a Living in Rural Iraqi Kurdistan: A Political Economy of Kurdistan and Iraq' [PhD awarded March 2021]. Co-supervised with Clemence Scalbert-Yucel (IAIS).
- Charlotte Sanders 'Making Space for Living: Mapping Sudanese Women's Im/possible Inhabitations of Late Colonial Portsmouth' [PhD awarded April 2019]. Co-supervised with William Gallois (IAIS).
I received my PhD in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London, where I also earned an MA in Near and Middle Eastern Studies. Prior to this, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA) with a BA in Women's Studies, and concentrations in Eastern Religions and African-American History. I joined the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies as a Lecturer in Gender Studies in 2016.