Visiting Doctoral Fellow
Jowel Choufani is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the George Washington University. Jowel was formerly trained as a nutritionist and dietitian and worked for several years in food security research. She has an MS in Public Health Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an MPhil in Anthropology from George Washington University. Jowel will be spending the 2022-2023 academic year conducting ethnographic research in Lebanon.
Obligation and Relationality in the Wake of Critical Events in Lebanon
Description Jowel Choufani’s dissertation project investigates how people’s sense of obligation to others comes to be defined, experienced, and materialized across a historical timescape marked by the layering of critical events. This project traces two modes of response— assistance and documentation —that people connected to Lebanon have drawn on to respond to the 2020 August 4 Beirut explosion. This multi-sited ethnography will encompass residents of Lebanon and its diaspora and will deploy a combination of semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and oral life history interviews to explore the factors that guide people’s responses to events, how sociality and community boundaries become (re)configured as a result of these responses, and how meanings of critical events change as they accrue over time. In doing so, this project theorizes how critical events present opportunities and impediments for dynamism in people’s sense and enactments of obligation towards others.