Photo of Nahla Abdo

Nahla Abdo


Degrees:PhD (Toronto)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 3569
Office:C767 Loeb Building

Areas of Interest

Professor Abdo’s research deals with the binary relationship between settler colonialism and indigenousness. Using a historical-comparative analysis, Professor Abdo’s current research focuses on comparing the structure and culture of the state in North America, originally (Turtle Island) and Israel, originally (Palestine) in terms of the role they play in the elimination/genocide of the indigenous peoples of the land. Patrick Wolfe’s “Colonialism Speaks Race” is used to delineate the myriad ways in which the state is racialized and racializing. Genocide, Elimination and Disappearing, on the one hand, and Slavery, Racism, and Incarceration, on the other, are highlighted as primary constituents of the settler-colonial state.

Professor Abdo uses an anti-colonial anti-imperialist feminist approach to highlight the deeply gendered nature of colonialism. With a focus on Palestine and Palestinian women, Professor Abdo’s research underlines the intersectionality of gender, race, class, sexuality, and the state. Anti-colonial feminism, it is argued, is the way to challenge and resist settler colonialism.

Research Methods

Professor Abdo’s qualitative research methods focus on Oral History, Narratives, and women’s (especially colonized, marginalized) voices. Such research methods, including social media, are central in illuminating the experiences of the colonized/marginalized, especially women. Moreover, these research methods are crucial for developing decolonial epistemology and anti-colonial ontology. It is worth noting that Professor Abdo’s books were translated into different languages, including Arabic, Kurdish, and French. For example, her Captive Revolution (2014) was out in French, October 2019, while her Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba (2018) is under translation.

Graduate Supervision

Professor Abdo will be on Sabbatical beginning January 2022. Upon her return, she will be willing to accept graduate students interested in anti-colonialism, settler-colonial states and indigenousness, and Muslim/Arab women, especially within the context of the Middle East. Palestine studies and especially Palestinian women. She also welcomes inquiries about specific areas of supervision. Professor Abdo is currently supervising and advising several graduate students with topics ranging from the Rohingya and Myanmar case; to the law in settler colonialism in Canada; Comparing settler colonialism, Israel-Canada, and women and land grab in Canada.

Professional Honours and Scholarships

2017-20: CSA John Porter Committee Members.

2012-18: Status Professor, University of Toronto/OISE.

2016-present: Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University.

2014-15: Marston La-France Research Award (presented the Marston La-France Lecture in March 2015)

2013-14: FASS Research Award

Publications (Books Only)

2021-22: An Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba (forthcoming in Arabic).

2019: La Revolution Captive: la lutte anticoloniale des femmes palestiniens et le system carceral israelien, editions blast: Paris.

2018: An Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba. Co-edited with Nur Masalha. Zed Books

2014: Captive Revolution: Palestinian women’s Anti-Colonial Struggle Within the Israeli Prison System. Pluto Press.

2011: Women in Israel: Gender, Race and Citizenship. Zed Books.

2009: Women and Citizenship in Israel: Comparing Palestinian Mizrahi and Ashkenazi Women. MADAR: Centre for Israeli Studies/Ramallah (Arabic, 185).

2007: Women and Poverty in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Some Conceptual and Methodological Notes. UNESCO. Ramallah: Palestine (English and Arabic).

2006: Acknowledging the Displaced: Palestinian Women’s Ordeals in East Jerusalem. Co-authored. Women Studies Center. Ramallah: Palestine (English and Arabic).

2004: Violence in the Name of Honour: Theoretical and Political Challenges. Co-edited. Bilgi University Press: Istanbul. (translated into Kurdish).

2002: Women and the Politics of Military Confrontation: Palestinian and Israeli Gendered Narratives of Dislocation. Co-edited with Ronit Lentin. London: Berghahn Books.

1996: Sociological Thought: Beyond Eurocentric Theory. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

1987: Family, Women and Social Change in the Middle East. Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press.


Professor Abdo has published a large number of articles in international refereed journals. Since 2019, Professor Abdo published over 10 feature articles in reputed Arabic journals such as Al-Adab (Beirut) and Al-Akhbar (Beirut) and gave a large number of interviews to Canadian and International news outlets.