Professor of Religion, Conflict and Peace Studies
Areas of expertise: Religion, nationalism, and peacebuilding; diasporas and conflict transformation and peace; multiculturalism, conflict transformation and justice; theories and methods in the study of religion
Atalia Omer is Professor of Religion, Conflict, and Peace Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. She earned her PhD in Religion, Ethics, and Politics (November 2008) from the Committee on the Study of Religion at Harvard University. Her research focuses on religion, violence, and peacebuilding as well as theories and methods in the study of religion. She is a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellow working on a book tentatively titled Tweeter Prophets & The Harmony Business: Religion and the Violent Legacy of Peace.
Omer’s first book, When Peace is Not Enough: How the Israeli Peace Camp Thinks about Religion, Nationalism, and Justice (University of Chicago Press, 2015) examines the way the Israeli peace camp addresses interrelationships between religion, ethnicity, and nationality, and how it interprets justice vis-à-vis the Palestinian conflict. This work scrutinizes the “visions of peace” and the “visions of citizenship” articulated by a wide spectrum of groups, ranging from Zionist to non-Zionist and secular to religious orientations.
Omer’s second solo-authored book project, Days of Awe: Reimagining Jewishness in Solidarity with Palestinians (University of Chicago Press, 2019) explores why divergences in conceptions of national identity between “homeland” and “diasporas” could facilitate the proliferation of loci of analysis and foci of peacebuilding efforts which are yet under-explored both in peace studies and specific scholarship addressing the relations between diasporas and conflict.
As a locally situated, distant issue movement, Jewish Palestine solidarity offers a grassroots critique and a transformative agenda for the local Jewish-American landscape while also critiquing Israeli policies and Zionist interpretations of Jewish identity. This book examines the intentional participation of this movement in intra-traditional work that seeks to provincialize Zion from Jewish identity and inter-traditional work that seeks to undo the intersections between Islamophobia in the U.S. and the marginalizing and silencing of lives in Palestine.
Inter-traditional work is also examined as pivotal to the movement’s efforts to deconstruct the conflation of critique of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism. Likewise, the movement participates in a broader, intersectional solidarity analysis that connects Palestinian struggles with other sites of injustice, both locally and globally, from #BlackLivesMatter to protests against the wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
Omer has published articles in, among other venues, the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the Journal of Religious Ethics; Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal; the Journal of Political Theology, the Study of Nationalism and Ethnicity, the International Journal of Peace Studies, Critical Sociology, Critical Theory of Religion, The Review of Faith and International Affairs, and Method & Theory in the Study of Religion.
Omer was awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2017. She is also a Senior Fellow at Harvard Divinity School’s Religious Literacy Program’s Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative. She was the recipient of a research fellowship from the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Studies (Fall 2011), Charlotte W. Newcombe’s Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (2007), and Harvard University Merit Fellowship (2006). She was a doctoral fellow at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard University (2002-2004) and a Graduate Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University (2006-2008).
- News: Atalia Omer Awarded Andrew Carnegie Fellowship
- Book Review: An Explosive Issue: On Atalia Omer’s “Days of Awe”
- Book Review: "A New Generation of Jewish Activists Is Transforming Judaism Itself"
- Journal Article: "Decentering Europe: Thinking Beyond 'Parting Ways' ad Jewish Arab Nostalgia" in Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Politics (Spring 2021): 72-76 https://jmepp.hkspublications.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/17/2021/04/JMEPP-2021-Full-2.pdf
- Book chapter: Omer, Atalia. 2021. “Nationalism, Religion, Ideology.” In The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Politics and Ideology, edited by Jeffrey Haynes, Routledge.
- Book chapter: Atalia Omer, "Religion, Gender, Justice, Violence, and Peace" The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Gender, and Society eds. Emma Tomalin and Caroline Starkey (Routledge 2022)