Kareem Rabie is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The University of Illinois, Chicago. His work focuses on privatization, urban development, and the state-building project in the West Bank.

Previously he was Assistant Professor of Anthropology at American University in Washington, DC; Harper-Schmidt Fellow at the University of Chicago; and Marie Curie Fellow/Senior Researcher at the University of Oxford Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society (COMPAS).

Kareem spent 2020-2021 on research leave supported by the ACLS, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the Graham Foundation for Advancement in the Fine Arts, and was a visiting fellow at CUNY’s Center for Place, Culture, and Politics; and Committee on Globalization and Social Change.

His first book, Palestine is Throwing a Party and the Whole World is Invited came out in summer 2021 from Duke University Press.

Here is a list of upcoming talks and events. If you are interested in doing an event or having Kareem come to your class, please reach out!

Here are some press clippings and recorded talks.

Kareem’s current research focuses on the new human geographies of Palestine/China trade.

And you can find some recent writing here.

You can order the book from Duke (or, outside of North America, from CAP) for 30% off with code E21RABIE.

It is also available at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Bookshop.orgAmazon, and elsewhere books are sold.

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Out now from Duke University Press

In 2008, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad invited international investors to the first ever Palestine Investment Conference, which was designed to jumpstart the process of integrating Palestine into the global economy. Or as Fayyad described the conference: Palestine is “throwing a party, and the whole world is invited.” In this book, Kareem Rabie examines how the conference and Fayyad's rhetoric represented a wider shift in economic and political practice in ways that oriented state-scale Palestinian politics toward neoliberal globalization rather than a diplomatic two-state solution. Rabie demonstrates that private firms, international aid organizations, and the Palestinian government in the West Bank focused on large-scale private housing development in an effort toward state-scale economic stability and market building. This approach reflected the belief that a thriving private economy would lead to a free and functioning Palestinian state. Yet, as Rabie contends, these investment-based policies have maintained the status quo of occupation and Palestine's subordinate and suspended political economic relationship with Israel.

Palestine Is Throwing a Party is a brilliant, carefully researched, and thoughtful book. Kareem Rabie uses the lens of urban planning and development to show us how global processes of unequal capital accumulation, racialized labor and property regimes within Israel/Palestine, and the managerial rule of Palestinian technocrats and capitalists collaborating with Israel all persistently reproduce the violent systems of settler colonial expropriation in Israel/Palestine since 1948.”

— Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula

“Drawing on his exceptional knowledge and understanding of Palestine along with a considerable amount of original, innovative, and detailed fieldwork, Kareem Rabie presents thought-provoking insights on the question of urbanism in Palestine. This extremely interesting study makes an important contribution.”

— Adam Hanieh, author of Money, Markets, and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Contemporary Middle East

“Anthropologist Kareem Rabie turns our gaze to the role of neoliberal capitalism in changing the literal, physical landscape as well as the landscape of future possibilities—or lack thereof—for Palestinian autonomy and self-rule. Palestine Is Throwing a Party exemplifies the best of what ethnography can do: theoretically nuanced analysis derived from the specificities of social life rather than imposed on them.”

— Lisa Rofel, Journal of Palestine Studies

"The capitalist concept of Palestine, despite its exclusion, is part of the normalised state-building process, which in turn normalises dealings with Israel. Rabie's book is a pragmatic approach that does not necessarily condone the alteration of Palestinian territory, but takes a dispassionate look at the facts."

— Ramona Wadi, Middle East Monitor

"By applying the analytic of settler colonialism without essentializing indigenous identity, and by theorizing the effects of global capitalism on Palestinian class formation, Palestine is Throwing a Party shows the way forward. Though there is nothing optimistic about its portrayal of relations between Palestinians and Israelis as a dark, distorting mirror, its reminder that the two groups are forever shaping one another against a backdrop of steep global inequalities will be crucial for any politics of democratic decolonization."

— Matan Kaminer, +972 Magazine (also available in Hebrew)

“A detailed, often dense but intellectually penetrating look at... a significant change in both economic and political strategy” in the West Bank.

— Ian Black, Tel Aviv Review of Books

“The book’s arguments regarding the free market and urban development complement its most important and provocative scholarly intervention: Occupation, Rabie contends, no longer offers an adequate framework for understanding Palestine. Instead, it contributes to the formation of the present situation by creating a particular orientation toward time and space. In particular, it fosters a sense of temporal deferral, as people see the occupation as an obstacle that must be lifted before life can truly start in the West Bank... He contributes to both activist and scholarly perspectives on Palestine by expanding an occupation-centered analytical perspective to include neoliberal capitalist development. In sum, Palestine Is Throwing a Party and the Whole World Is Invited is a wonderful piece of scholarship and ideal reading for scholars and students interested in contemporary Palestine or the relationship between states and markets.”

— Nazli Azergun, Economic Anthropology


Monday 24 January 2022
1-2:15pm EST, noon-1:15 CST
Book talk with Wassim Ghantous
Columbia University Center for Palestine Studies
Register here


Building on preliminary fieldwork undertaken in 2015 and 2017, Kareem has recently begun sustained research on the complex social, economic, and imaginative geographies between the West Bank and China. This work is centered on the circulation in between, on economic geographies, and the routes and travels of people, capital, and objects. The hope is that an online archive of data visualizations, collaborative research material, including close readings and object biographies of circulating commodities, will complement a book of speculative engagements and public programs, actions, and conversations within the West Bank, Israel, and China.


Housing and Generality in Palestine Studies
Jerusalem Quarterly 83, Autumn 2020

Promissory Note, with Mike Crane
Triple Canopy 25, Resentment, 2018-2019

Remaking Ramallah
New Left Review 111, May-June 2018