Munira Khayyat

Anthropology Global South Visiting Scholar
Aaron Burr Hall 121

Munira Khayyat teaches anthropology at New York University Abu Dhabi. Her 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 Oil 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). She taught at the American University in Cairo (2013-2023) and the American University of Beirut (2011-2013) before joining NYUAD. She holds a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University (2013), an MPhil in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University and a BA in history from the American University of Beirut.