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Entered Program: 2012


MA, Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Magna Cum Laude)

BA, Sociology-Anthropology and Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Magna Cum Laude)

Research interests:

Medical Anthropology, Anthropology of Expertise, Borders, Medical Neutrality, Anthropology of the Middle East, Israel/Palestine

Statement of Interest:

With Palestinian citizens comprising approximately 12% of physicians working in Israel, the country’s public health system is one of the few arenas in which Arab and Jewish citizens collaborate in daily work, and in which Arab professionals assist Jewish clients, often saving their lives. My dissertation examines how medicine’s ethical framework of universality and political neutrality affects these social dynamics. Does the ideal of medical neutrality become a vehicle for establishing trust among people who may otherwise treat each other with suspicion, fear, or hostility? How is medical neutrality invoked, performed, and negotiated in daily interactions? How does this ethical framework get challenged, by whom, and with what consequences for professionals, patients, and the health care system more generally?

My study is based on 22-months of ethnographic-based research, including fieldwork in two hospital wards and a qualitative analysis of interviews and media content. It demonstrates how Palestinian physicians navigate a delicate balance between ideals of medical neutrality and expressions of suspicion and hostility on the part of Jewish patients and colleagues. It provides an in-depth analysis of the ways Palestinian physicians in the Israeli health system understand, enact, and articulate medical, professional, and political neutrality as well as how Jewish health professionals, administrators, and patients/family members relate to these concepts as they navigate unfamiliar interactions often perceived as politically charged.

In making visible Palestinian citizens’ efforts to shape their individual and collective conditions of existence through medical practice, the dissertation illuminates how ideologies of the medical sphere shape their struggle in distinctive ways. It analyzes medicine and health care as spaces of micro-level struggle for equality and recognition, and demonstrates how ideas of neutrality serve as fungible political tools in the hands of both hegemonic elites and counter-hegemonic forces in a national conflict.


Shalev, Guy. 2016. A Doctor’s Testimony: Medical Neutrality and the Visibility of Palestinian Grievances in Jewish-Israeli Publics. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 40(2), 242-262. DOI 10.1007/s11013-015-9470-7.

Shalev, Guy. 2016. The ‘P’ Word: Hospital Ethics Committees and Palestinian National Identity. Somatosphere: Science, Medicine, and Anthropology.

Shalev, Guy. 2014. No One Is Neutral Here. Cosmologics: A magazine of Science, Religion, and Culture.

Book Reviews:

Shalev, Guy. 2017. Review of No Place for Grief: Martyrs, Prisoners, and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine [Lotte Buch Segal]. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. DOI 10.1111/maq.12360

Shalev, Guy. 2015. Review of Ethnographic Encounters in Israel: Poetics and Ethics of Fieldwork. Fran Markowitz (Ed.) Israeli Sociology 16(2):202-204.


UNC Graduate School, Dissertation Completion Grant (2016-2017)

National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (2014-2016)

Carolina Center for Jewish Studies, Silver Graduate Research Fellowship (2014-2015)

Academic Honors:

Middle East Section of the AAA, 2017 Student Paper Prize

Middle East Studies Association, 2017 Graduate Student Paper Prize of the Association of Middle East Anthropology (AMEA).

Society for Medical Anthropology, 2014 Hughes Graduate Student Paper Prize

Association for Political and Legal Anthropology, 2014 Graduate Student Paper Prize: Finalist.

Society for the Anthropology of Religion, 2013 Student Paper Prize

Israeli Sociological Society, 2013 Best MA Thesis Award

Nehemia Levtzion Center for Islamic Studies, 2011 Excellence Prize for Graduate Students: Honorable Mention