Nora Al-Aati

Doctoral Student


Nora is a Kuwait University Fellow pursuing an archaeology of the Arabian Peninsula. While her anthropological interests are vast, her primary focus in the program is cultural heritage, practices of social memory, national trauma, museum studies, and ethnographic fieldwork.  

Her main initiative at Penn is to participate in decolonizing and reframing anthropological practices to better fit the current lived communities directly affected by the discipline's research. Representation is critical in both her work and presence in the program, driving her passion for highlighting neglected identities and narratives in anthropology.

Nora graduated with a BA in Anthropology from the American University of Kuwait (2021), focusing on cultural anthropology, and an MA from North Carolina State University (2023), focusing on archaeology. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she is interested in the intersections of ethnographic and archaeological research, especially in the convergences of social memory and historical knowledge produced by personal experiences and sentiments tied to a national trauma. She is interested in establishing a multivocal research project that considers how memory is impacted by the past, present, and future while merging interdisciplinary methods of living memory with "dead" history. The goals of her research are to understand how nations define and produce their history, how changing political and emotional sentiments are reflected in citizens’ views of their history (as opposed to top-down political narratives), and the affective relationships between discourses (political, religious, etc.) and the production of historical memory. 




MA Anthropology, North Carolina State University (2023)

BA Anthropology, The American University of Kuwait (2021)


Research Interests

Cultural heritage, ethics in archaeological practice, national trauma, museum studies, historic knowledge production, and identity politics, West Asia 


Graduate Status