Thea Renda Abu El-Haj

Barnard College, Columbia University

Thea Renda Abu El-Haj is Professor and Chair of Education at Barnard College, Columbia University. Grounded by her experiences as a teacher, parent, and painter, and her academic training as an anthropologist, her research explores questions about belonging, rights, citizenship, and justice raised by globalization, transnational migration, and conflict. In a recent publication, Fifi the punishing cat and other civic lessons from a Lebanese public kindergarten (Journal of Education in Emergencies) she and her colleagues write about their study of public kindergartens in Beirut, Lebanon, that focuses on civic education in conflict affected contexts. With the support of a Spencer Foundation grant, she is PI of a US national interview study exploring the civic identities and civic practices of youth from Muslim immigrant communities. Her second book, Unsettled Belonging: Educating Palestinian American Youth after 9/11 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2015), won the 2016 AESA Critics Choice Award.

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