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Virginia Tilley

Virginia Tilley (1953 -) is an American political scientist specialising in the comparative study of ethnic and racial conflict and known especially for her work on a one-state solution in Israel-Palestine. In 2005, she moved to South Africa where she now resides.


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[edit] Background

Tilley holds a BA in Political Science from Antioch College (1985), an MA from the Centre for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown (1988) and an MA and PhD in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997),[1] where she studied under Professor M. Crawford Young.


After finishing her MA in Arab Studies at Georgetown, she served as Assistant Director of the International Organisation for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) in Washington DC, where she developed a second field in the politics of indigenous peoples.[2] This interest led her researching and writing her doctoral thesis on the politics of 'being Indian' or indigeneity in Latin America, published in 2005 as Seeing Indians: A Study of Race, Nation and Power in El Salvador (U. of New Mexico Press).[3]


In 1997, Tilley joined the department of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where she taught the core courses on Latin American politics, the politics of development, and Middle East politics, as well as introductory courses on international relations and comparative politics and senior seminars on comparative racial and ethnic conflict.[4] With Professor Kevin Dunne, she developed the International Relations Major and served as Co-coordinator, and for several years led the Development Studies minor.

She was appointed as Associate Professor in 2003[5] but in 2005 took leave to conduct research in South Africa, initially at the Centre for Policy Studies in Johannesburg.[6] She resigned from HWS in 2006 after moving to a senior post at the Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa).

[edit] Middle East Research

Tilley's work on the Middle East has primarily concerned options for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her early work included serving as Coordinator of the North American Committee of NGOs on the Question of Palestine in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s, as well as her work for EAFORD, where she published a series of briefing brochures on Israeli policies, particularly settlement policy.

Through the 1990s, she adhered to the two-state paradigm while cautioning that, if not halted, Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank would eradicate the geographic basis for it. In 2003 she broke ground by arguing that conditions for a two-state solution had indeed been over-ridden by facts on the ground, first in her London Review of Books article, "The One-State Solution". Her 2005 book for the U. of Michigan Press, The One-State Solution: A Breakthrough for Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, fleshed out the argument and the likely parameters of related debate.[7] Her subsequent academic work in the field has sustained this analysis, as have a series of essays in the on-line journal Counterpunch.[8]

At the Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa) (HSRC), she led the two-year Middle East Project that, among other outputs, generated the international law study conducted by an international team of scholars, Occupation, Colonialism, Apartheid? A Reassessment of Israeli Practices in the Occupied Territories under International Law.[9]. The study has been the focus of three international conferences, in London, Cape Town and Ramallah.[10]

Tilley remains a frequent commentator on Middle East politics for South African radio and television news media. She continues to adopt a globalist approach, however, and in academe is known more for her writings and theory on comparative racial politics than Middle East area studies. In South Africa, she has conducted a series of studies of South Africa's transition from apartheid to democracy, especially regarding questions of national development strategy. While serving at the HSRC, her reports and research focussed principally on the politics and national strategies regarding poverty alleviation.[11]

[edit] Awards

  • Seeing Indians chosen as book of the year by the 2006 Congress of Central American Anthropologists
  • 1999 Prize from the Congress on Latin American History, with Prof. Erik Ching.[12]

[edit] Selected Articles

  • âLand, Settlements and the Middle East Peace Process.â In Hani Faris (ed.), One State for Palestine/Israel: A Country for All Its Citizens (forthcoming).
  • âA Palestinian Declaration of Independence: Implications for Peace.â Middle East Policy Vol. XVII, No. 1, March 2010.
  • âHas Palestine Passed the Tipping Point? Sovereignty and Settler Colonialism in South Africa and Israel-Palestine.â In Ilan Pappé, ed., Israel and Apartheid. London: I.B. Taurus, 2010.
  • âA Two-State Solution or Smoke and Mirrors? âLooking Awryâ at Israelâs State-building Agenda.â In Aslam Farouk, ed., The Future of Palestine and Israel: from colonial roots to postcolonial realities. Institute for Global Dialogue, 2007.
  • âIsrael in Lebanon: The Foreign Policy Logics of Jewish Statehood.â The MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies Vol. 6 (Summer), 2006. Reprinted in: Nuvar Hosvepian (ed.), The War on Lebanon: A Reader (Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2008)
  • âThe Secular Solution: Debating Israel-Palestine.â New Left Review 38, Mar-April 2006.
  • âFrom âJewish State and Arab Stateâ to âIsrael and Palestineâ: Arab World Geographerâs Forum/Le géographe du monde arabe, Vol. 8 No. 3 (2005).
  • âThe Politics of Racial Mixture: âBeing Indianâ in the Mestizo Nation.â In Paul Spickard (ed.) Race and Nation, Identity and Power: Ethnic Systems Around the World (Routledge, 2005).
  • âNew Help or New Hegemony? The Transnational Indigenous Peoples Movement and âBeing Indianâ in El Salvador.â Journal of Latin American Studies, Vol. 34, no. 3.
  • âThe Generation of Ethnic Conflict by the International System.â In Cris Toffolo, ed., Emancipating Cultural Pluralism, SUNY Press, 2002.
  • âThe International Construction of Domestic Ethnic Conflict: The Modern State and Indigenous Peoples.â In Dan Green, ed., Studies in Constructivist Comparative Politics, M.E. Sharpe, 2002.
  • âIndians, the Military and the 1932 Rebellion in El Salvador,â Journal of Latin American Studies Vol. 30 (January 1998) (with Erik Ching), 121-156.
  • âTerms of the Debate: Untangling Language on Ethnicity and Ethnic Movements,â Ethnic and Racial Studies Vol. 20 No. 3 (July 1997), 497â522.
  • âPost-Confucianism: The Culturalist Approach to Understanding the East Asian NICs,â Asian Thought and Society: An International Review, Vol. 21 No. 61 (1996), 67â80.

[edit] References

  1. ^ http://www.hws.edu/academics/pdf/catalog_directories-end0406.pdf
  2. ^ See under Publications, Without Prejudice Vol. 2, No. 2, at: [1].
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ [3]
  5. ^ [4]
  6. ^ [5]
  7. ^ Published by the U of Michigan Press and Manchester U Press, translated into Spanish as Palestina/Israel: Un Pais, Un Estado (Akal Press, [http://www.universidadnomada.net/spip.php?article136)
  8. ^ See, for example, her article in Middle East Policy comparing the South African "Homelands" strategy and provisions in the Oslo Accords for Palestinian self-government, cited under Selected Articles.
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ See al-Haq and Adalah, Symposium Proceedings, at [7].
  11. ^ For example, [8].
  12. ^ [9]


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