He may be a newly-minted PhD, but a recently-named program director at Eastern Mennonite University is no newcomer to distinguished scholarship.
This fall Professor Timothy Seidel received the 2017 Dissertation Award at the annual Peace and Justice Studies Association (PJSA) conference in Birmingham, Alabama. Previous accomplishments include winning the Edward Said Award in 2016, and the publication of several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.
The recent award came as Seidel assumed the directorship of EMU’s Center for Interfaith Engagement. The center promotes collaboration among scholars and practitioners to build a more just and peaceful world through interreligious and intercultural understanding.
Seidel’s dissertation, completed at the culmination of his international relations doctoral studies at American University, was titled “‘Where Is the Palestinian Gandhi?’: Power and Resistance in Late Modernity.” In it, he explores how certain forms of nonviolent resistance in Palestine are recognized while other forms are overlooked, and argues that giving greater attention to marginalized communities as they narrate nonviolence helps to identify overlooked and everyday practices.
The dissertation “offered new insights into the theory and practice of nonviolence as well as ways to think about justice in Palestine,” said Dr. Emily Welty, a PJSA board member and the director of peace and justice studies at Pace University in New York City. “His thesis demonstrated his strength as a scholar, and we look forward to helping him share his work with a wider audience.”
“It was a privilege and an honor to receive this award,” Seidel said. “I am very grateful to PJSA, to Dr. Mohammed Abu-Nimer at American University who nominated me for this award, and to the many Palestinian and Israeli friends, neighbors, and colleagues who welcomed me and opened up their homes and lives to me.”
In addition to his PhD, Seidel holds a Masters in Theological Studies from Wesley Theological Seminary. Before coming to EMU, he worked in various development and peacebuilding contexts in North America and the Middle East, including serving for several years with Mennonite Central Committee.
In 2016, he won the Edward Said Award with “‘Occupied territory is occupied territory’: James Baldwin, Palestine and the possibilities of transnational solidarity,” a paper exploring “the shared experiences of racism, colonialism, military occupation and dispossession that separate and divide, and the possibilities for transnational solidarities that defy those separations.”
That award is an annual recognition of “emerging scholarship in the politics of global development” by Third World Quarterly and the Global Development Studies Section of the International Studies Association.
Seidel, who will also continue as assistant professor of community and international development in EMU’s Department of Applied Social Sciences and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, fills the position held by interim director Trina Trotter Nussbaum, who will continue as associate director.