Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Humanitarian Innovation Initiative (HI2)

Rawan Arar

Rawan Arar

Postdoctoral Fellow in International and Public Affairs, Brown University

Rawan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California San Diego, M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas, Austin, and B.A. in sociology from the University of Texas, San Antonio. After completing her fellowship at the Watson Institute, Rawan will begin her appointment as an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Law, Societies, and Justice department. Her scholarship has been published in Annual Review of SociologyJournal of Middle East Law and Governance, Nations and Nationalism, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. Rawan has also written for other academic, policy-oriented, and generalist outlets including the Middle East Institute, the Scholars Strategy Network, and the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog.

Rawan's research program begins with the refugee as a central figure of analysis. Refugee displacement is the manifestation of the breakdown of borders and citizenship rights while refugee status, as a legal construct, is delimited by the principle of sovereignty. Refugees’ lives and life chances are inextricably tied to national and global policies, which create or impede access to basic needs, education, rights, and mobility. Her research lies at the intersection of these issues and pushes forward debates about states, rights, and theories of international migration. With a particular emphasis on the Middle East, she critiques global inequality and the interrelated politics between states. She has employed qualitative methods including ethnography, participant observation, in-depth interviews, and archival research to study societies in Jordan, Syria, Gaza, the United States, Northern Ireland, Australia, and Western Europe.