Munira Khayyat

Position
Anthropology Global South Visiting Scholar
Office
Aaron Burr Hall 121
Bio/Description

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.