Smadar Lavie

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Smadar Lavie (1955-) is a cultural anthropologist. She was born in Jaffa to a Yemenite mother, Shoshana Gamliel, and a Lithuanian father, Salman Levinson. She regards herself as a Mizrahi (Hebrew: "Easterner"), an Arab-Jew.

Lavie specializes in the anthropology of Egypt, Israel and Palestine, with special emphasis on issues of race, gender and religion. She has written a classic, The Poetics of Military Occupation (Univ. of Calif. Press, 1990), on the resistance theatre of the Mzeina Bedouin of the South Sinai in Egypt, whom she has been studying from 1975 to the present. Since 1989 she has been studying the Mizrahim. She co-edited with Ted Swedenburg the oft-quoted Displacement, Diaspora, and Geographies of Identity (Duke Univ. Press, 1996).

Lavie received her doctorate in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. In 1990, she became an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Critical Theory at the University of California, Davis, where she was promoted to an Associate Professorship in 1994. In 1999, for family reasons, she moved back to Israel, and taught at the Anthropology and Women's Studies departments of Beit Berl College.

In 2007-2009, she held the Hubert H. Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professorship of Islam and the Middle East at Macalester College, St. Paul, Minnesota. Lavie was awarded the 2009 Gloria Anzaldua Prize from the American Studies Association for her paper Staying Put: Crossing the Palestine/Israel Border with Gloria Anzaldua. In 2009-2010, she was an Associate Professor at the Department for Studies in Women and Gender at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville -- see this March 2010 article about her in UVa Today. Currently (2011) she is a fellow at the Centro Incontri Umani in Ascona.

While in Israel, Lavie was on the board of directors of Ahoti (Hebrew: "Sistah"), the movement of Israeli feminists of colour, and served on the advisory board of Israel's Women's Parliament. She was one of the Mizrahi Democratic Rainbow representatives in Israel's NGO Coalition Against Racism. With Esther Hertzog she co-founded the Women's NGO Coalition for Mothers and Children.

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Rachel Gamliel   • Shoshana Gamliel

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