Student Spotlight: Adila Laïdi-Hanieh Defends her Dissertation

Adila Laïdi-Hanieh defended her dissertation entitled "Rearticulating the Aesthetic and the Nationalist: The Un-decidable Politics of Contemporary Palestinian Artistic Practices" and worked with Dr. Amal AmirehChristine Rosenfeld conducted a short interview with Adila in which she reflects on her time at Mason.


How have your research interests changed from the time you began the PhD program to now, and in which direction do you envision your work moving upon graduating?

Actually my interests went full circle. When I started this program, I was wanting to work on Palestinian culture, then it changed, and then I went back to work on Palestinian culture again. It is a hard thing to choose a topic considering the enormous widening of perspectives one gets throughout the program.  The best thing you can do is to stay focused.


What kinds of professional development did you pursue while a student and which do you think will best position you to get the job you want: publishing, presenting, teaching, service in the program, engagement in non-university service projects, or acquiring particular research skills?

I did a lot actually: I worked as a GTA in the Honors College, I spoke at academic conferences, and I published an article in an academic journal. I also wrote for exhibition catalogs and spoke at two international art biennales. Additionally, I edited and published a non-academic book and I gave lectures and talks at art centers on aspects of my work. Plus, I already had teaching experience at Birzeit University. There is no singular best way to prepare yourself to get the job you want but the key is to diversify your work while focusing on the academic side of things.


What is one of your best memories from your time in the PhD program in Cultural Studies?  

My best memories are the camaraderie with colleagues, getting new insights from classroom discussions & from talking with professors, and the excellent library & library services.