How do regular people respond and adapt to “major structural changes that upend normal social processes?” This question is at the heart of Rana B. Khoury’s work, which explores the new “normal” that civilians in Syria have created in response to the Syrian civil war. Inspired to “tell the stories of individuals and communities experiencing major structural changes that upend normal social processes,” Rana’s work will shed light on not only the experiences of Syrian refugees but will also create an understanding of the impact of civil war on the restructuring of governance.
Rana grew up in the U.S.A. in a family that is originally from Syria and they traveled to the Middle East periodically to visit relatives. After college, she studied Arabic in Damascus for a year, and traveled to 13 of the 14 provinces of Syria, and volunteered as an English instructor at a Palestinian refugee camp. These experiences developed her interest in the region and in displacement. As a scholar, her interests lie in misunderstood and underrepresented issues. Through her research, she hopes to expand scholarly knowledge on the experiences of everyday Syrian people in the face of civil war.
Rana is conducting pre-doctoral research in Amman during the fall of 2016 as part of a project titled “Activist Refugees, Local Authorities, and External Actors: Civilians in and around Wartime Syria.” For the last two summers, she lived with Syrian refugee families in Jordan and conducted exploratory work, developing her ideas about activism and the roles of civilians in governance in wartime. Her dissertation will examine the external and internal forces that shape political and social dynamics in the refugee community and inside the civil war state.
Rana Khoury is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. She has an M.A. in Arab Studies (2012) from Georgetown University and B.A. in Political Science (2008) from American University. Her recent book, As Ohio Goes: Life in the Post-Recession Nation, explores the impact of the Great Recession and income inequality on regular Americans, placing their experiences in a political-economic context. To learn more about her work. please visit her website https://ranakhoury.com/.
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.