Michael Vincente Perez, CAORC Senior Fellow at ACOR, Fall 2016

Dr. Michael Vincente Perez is a professor of anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle and in the fall of 2016 he is an ACOR-CAORC Senior Fellow. His research project, titled “Surviving Statelessness: Gaza Refugees and the Politics of Living in Jordan,” is focused on the community of Gaza refugees and their descendants in Jordan.  Displaced since 1967, this particular Palestinian refugee community in Jordan struggles to overcome the limitations created by their statelessness.

Gaza refugees are concentrated in “Jerash Camp.” This photo shows the corrugated metal rooftops of the houses and an open sewer line along the road. Photo courtesy of M. V. Perez.

Visiting camps and urban neighborhoods that the Gaza refugee community has created in Jordan, Perez seeks to grasp how they encounter, challenge. and survive the limitations of statelessness. As non-citizens, Gaza refugees’ lives are shaped by their limited access to social, political, and economic resources. He is interested not only in the impact of limited resources on Gazans’ everyday life but also in how they actively fight for agency and create resilient social networks.

Perez’s interest in Palestine has roots in his dissertation fieldwork that focused on Palestinian refugee identities in camps and the cities in Jordan. At that time, he conducted preliminary research on the relationship between human rights and statelessness for Gazan refugees.

A sizable body of literature already exists on Palestinian refugees, yet Perez hopes his research on Gazan refugees in Jordan will shed new light on their unique history and on the complicated legal framework that their descendants in Jordan must live within until today.

Michael Vincente Perez earned his Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology (2011) and his M.A. in Anthropology (2005) from Michigan State University.  He received his B.A. in Anthropology and Philosophy (2000) from the University of Florida.

To learn more about Dr. Perez and his work visit his faculty web page at https://anthropology.washington.edu/people/michael-vicente-perez.

Written by Sarah Schweyen, a student at St. Olaf College who is studying abroad in the fall 2016 semester in Amman, Jordan with the Amideast program.

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