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Randa Serhan

Assistant Professor Department of Sociology

Randa Serhan is a political sociologist who is interested in immigrant communities, nationalism, and citizenship. She began graduate school in Canada where she was interested in gender and law. Since then she has worked on PTSD in post-conflict Lebanon, meanings of refugeeness,and more recently second generation Palestinian-Americans. The latter was an ethnographic study of a Palestinian-American community for her PhD dissertation.
Randa has taught courses on democratization, immigration to the United States, political and classical theory, sociology of exclusion, and social movements.
Her publications include "Palestinian Weddings: Inventing Palestine in New Jersey," and a co-edited book titled, "American Democracy and the Pursuit of Equality."
She is currently working on turning her PhD dissertation, titled "Suspended Community" into a book. She also is studying NYPD surveillance of Arab Americans and was recently awarded a grant to conduct the first national survey of Palestinian Americans.

Randa also assumed the position of director of Arab Studies upon joining AU in 2011, which since she has turned into a major degree granting program.

Broader Interests: Qualitative methods, sociological and political theory, race and ethnicity, nation-state formation and citizenship. 


PhD, MPhil, MA, Sociology, Columbia University
MA, Sociology, University of Windsor
BA, Sociology, American University of Beirut
HS, American School of Kuwait

CAS - Sociology
Watkins - 113
Tuesdays-Fridays: 2:30-4 pm or by appointment
Contact Info
(202) 885-3383 (Office)
(202) 885-3383

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For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.
See Also
What does it mean to be a refugee?

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Randa Serhan's research interests include: Citizenship and Nationalism, Political Theory, Immigrant Communities, Assimilation and transnationalism, and Gender and Law.    

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

  • School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, Cordier Fellow, 2007-2009
  • Palestinian-American Research Center, Villanova University Grant: 2005-2006
  • Columbia University, Summer Grant: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
  • Columbia University, Lazarsfeld Fellow: 2002 -2007
  • New School University, Graduate Faculty Scholarship: 2001
  • Saeed Khoury Scholarship: 2001
  • Oxford University, Swedish Government Grant for Refugee Studies Program, 1999
  • University of Windsor, International Student Fee Waiver: 1996
  • Abdulaziz Shakhshir Scholarship: 1995
  • University of Windsor, Graduate Fellowship: 1994-1995
  • American University of Beirut, Undergraduate Scholarship: 1992-1994


Selected Publications

  • “Palestinian weddings: Inventing Palestine in Jersey,” Journal of Palestine Studies, UC-Berkley Press, Summer 2008.  Peer reviewed.
  • “Palestinian and Jordanian Migration to the United States,” Multicultural America: An Encyclopedia of the Newest Americans. ABC-CLIO Publishers, July 2011
  • Co-editor, Democracy and Public Participation in American Life, Paradigm Publishers,May 2011.
  • Manuscript, Suspended Community: Palestinian exile through American ethnicity(proposal preparation)

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Identity politics, citizenship, Palestinian Americans, Arab societies, Arab youth membership

Additional Information: Randa B. Serhan
arrived at American University in August to assume a post as an assistant professor in sociology and the director of the Arab Studies program. She comes from the American University of Beirut where she had been teaching a course on nation-state building and democratization. This course grew into another course on social movements in answer to her students' frustration with the lack of evidence of nation-state building in the Arab world. Her original research was on Palestinian American youth and the sense of belonging or lack thereof in the American polity, but upon returning to the Arab world, she realized the same dilemmas existed for Arab youth and accordingly switched her field site. Serhan has published on Palestinian-American weddings as an expression of nationalism. She also taught at the School of International and Public Affairs, where she developed an appreciation for policy-oriented questions, while still intent on finding sociological explanations and answers.

Media Relations
To request an interview please call AU Media Relations at 202-885-5950 or submit an interview request form.

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