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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  People  /  Academic Staff  /  Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Dr Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh

Reader in Human Geography and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit; Coordinator of UCL's Refuge in a Moving World Research Network

PI of the 4-year (2016-2020) AHRC-ESRC project 'Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria', funded under the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF)

PI of the 5-year (2017-2022) European Research Council-funded project South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

Co-Editor of the Migration and Society journal

Co-Editor of the Religion and Global Migrations book series

UCL Department of Geography
26 Bedford Way
London
WC1H 0AP

E-Mail: e.fiddian-qasmiyeh@ucl.ac.uk

See Elena's Academia.edu page here

See Elena's ResearchGate page here

Twitter: @RefugeMvingWrld and @RefugeeHosts

Project website: www.refugeehosts.org

Elena's research focuses on the intersections between gender, generation and religion in experiences of and responses to conflict-induced displacement, with a particular regional focus on the Middle East. She has conducted extensive research in refugee camps and urban areas including in Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, France, Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Syria, Sweden, and the UK. Elena is the Co-Director of UCL's Migration Research Unit, and is the coordinator of the Refuge in a Moving World research network across UCL (@RefugeMvingWrld). She is the PI of a major 4-year AHRC-ESRC funded project, 'Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria', awarded through the Global Challenges Research Fund (see www.refugeehosts.org and @RefugeeHosts). In 2016 she was also awarded a further major European Research Council award for her 5-year project, South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which will run from 2017-2022.

Her recent publications include The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival (Syracuse University Press, 2014), South-South Educational Migration, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East, (Routledge, 2015, paperback published in 2017) and The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, (co-editor, Oxford University Press, 2014).

In 2015, Elena was awarded a 2015 Philip Leverhulme Prize in recognition of 'the achievement of outstanding researchers whose work has already attracted international recognition and whose future career is exceptionally promising.' In 2013, she was awarded the Lisa Gilad Prize by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) for 'the most innovative and thoughtful contribution to the advancement of refugee studies' in 2011 and 2012 (in recognition of her article 'The pragmatics of performance: putting 'faith' in aid in the Sahrawi refugee camps').

She is Co-Editor of the new journal, Migration and Society, is one of the Series Editors of the new Palgrave Religion and Global Migrations book series, and has been the Reviews Editor of the Journal of Refugee Studies since 2011.

See Elena's Academia.edu page here

See Elena's ResearchGate page here

Twitter: @RefugeMvingWrld and @RefugeeHosts

Website: www.refugeehosts.org

Professional History

2016 (1 Oct) - Reader in Human Geography, University College London

2014 (1 Sep) – 2016 (31 Sep) Lecturer in Human Geography, University College London

2014 (Jan – Aug), Senior Research Officer, Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford

2010 – 2013, Departmental Lecturer in Forced Migration, Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford

2010 – 2012, Director of the RSC International Summer School in Forced Migration, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford

2009 – 2010, Senior Teaching Fellow in Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

2008 – 2009, Research Fellow, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Education

2009, DPhil International Development, University of Oxford

2003, MA International Relations, University of New South Wales

2002, MSc Gender and Development, London School of Economics, University of London

2000, BA(Hons), MA Social and Political Sciences, King’s College, University of Cambridge

Sole-Authored Books

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015 and 2017) South-South Educational Migration, Humanitarianism and Development: Views from Cuba, North Africa and the Middle East, Oxford: Routledge. *Paperback published in 2017*

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2014) The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival, Syracuse NY: Syracuse University Press.

Edited Books and Journal Special Issues

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E., Loescher, G., Long, K. and Sigona, N. (eds) (2014 and 2016) The Oxford Handbook of Forced Migration and Refugee Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press. *Paperback published in 2016*

Saunders, J., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Snyder, S. (eds) (2016) Intersections of Religion and Migration: Issues at the Global Crossroads, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lacroix, T. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (eds) (2013) Special Issue on “Refugee and Diaspora Memories,” Journal of Intercultural Studies, 34(6), Dec. 2013.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (ed) (2011) Special Issue on “Faith Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Migration,” Journal of Refugee Studies, 24(3), Sep. 2011.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'Refugee-Refugee Relations in Contexts of Overlapping Displacement,' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Spotlight On "The Urban Refugee 'Crisis'"

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'On the Threshold of Statelessness: Palestinian narratives of loss and erasure,Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(2): 301-321.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'Repressentations of Displacement in the Middle East,' Public Culture, 28(3), doi:10.1215/08992363-3511586.

Gabiam, N. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) ‘Palestinians and the Arab Uprisings: Political Activism and Narratives of Home, Homeland and Home-Camp’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2016.1202750.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) ‘Embracing Transculturalism and Footnoting Islam in Accounts of Arab Migration to Cuba,’ Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, doi: 10.1080/1369801X.2014.998257.

Ager, J., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Ager, A. (2015) 'Local Faith Communities and the Promotion of Resilience in Contexts of Humanitarian Crisis,' Journal of Refugee Studies, 28 (2): 202- 221.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2014) ‘Transnational Abductions and Transnational Jurisdictions? The politics of “protecting” female Muslim refugees in Spain,’ Gender, Place and Culture, 21(2): 174-194.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) ‘The Inter-generational Politics of “Travelling Memories”: Sahrawi refugee youth remembering home-land and home-camp,’ Journal of Intercultural Studies, 34(6): 631-649. [One of 11 articles selected as an “example of outstanding research recently published in the Journal of Intercultural Studies” and included in a special Journal of Intercultural Studies Editors’ Choice Collection.]

Lacroix, T. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) ‘Refugee and Diaspora Memories: The Politics of Remembering and Forgetting,’ Journal of Intercultural Studies, 34(6): 684-696.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) ‘Transnational Childhood and Adolescence: Mobilising Sahrawi identity and politics across time and space,’ Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, 36(5): 875-895.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) ‘Invisible Refugees and/or Overlapping Refugeedom? Protecting Sahrawis and Palestinians Displaced by the 2011 Libyan Uprising,’ International Journal of Refugee Law, 24(2): 263-293.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) ‘The Pragmatics of Performance: Putting ‘faith’ in aid in the Sahrawi refugee camps,’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 24(3): 533-547. [Awarded the Lisa Gilad Prize in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM); recognised as “the most innovative and thoughtful contribution to the advancement of refugee studies” in 2011 and 2012.]

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) 'Faith-Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement,' Journal of Refugee Studies, 24(3): 429-439.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) ‘Paradoxes of Refugees’ Educational Migration: Promoting self-sufficiency or renewing dependency?’ Comparative Education, 47(4): 433-447.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) ‘Histories of Displacement: Intersections between ethnicity, gender and class,’ Journal of North African Studies, 16(1): 31-48. [Selected as one of 18 articles published across 11 journals “to showcase the research published by the Taylor & Francis Group highlighting historical perspectives relating to the continent of Africa” as part of the 2011 Africa Day.]

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Qasmiyeh, Y.M. (2010) ‘Muslim Asylum-Seekers and Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa: Negotiating politics, religion and identity in the UK,’ Journal of Refugee Studies, 23(3): 294-314. [identified as a seminal piece on Islam, religious identity and asylum, and reprinted in Beckford, J. (ed.) Migration and Religion, Edward Elgar, May 2015]

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2010) ‘Education, Migration and Internationalism: Situating Muslim Middle Eastern and North African students in Cuba,’ The Journal of North African Studies, 15(2): 137-155.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2010) ‘“Ideal” Refugee Women and Gender Equality Mainstreaming: “Good Practice” for Whom?Refugee Survey Quarterly, 29(2): 64-84.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2009) ‘Representing Sahrawi Refugees’ ‘Educational Displacement’ to Cuba: Self-sufficient agents or manipulated victims in conflict?Journal of Refugee Studies, 22(3): 323-350.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2006) ‘Relocating: The Asylum Experience in Cairo,Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 8(2): 295-318.

Chapters

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E., Lewis, C. and Cole, G. (2017) "'Faithing' Gender and Responses to Violence in Refugee Communities: Insights from the Sahrawi Refugee Camps and the Democratic Republic of Congo," in Krause, U. and Buckley-Zistel, S. (eds) Gender, Violence and Forced Migration. Oxford: Berghahn Books.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2018) "Ideal women, invisible girls? The challenges of/to feminist solidarity in the Sahrawi Refugee Camps," in Rosen, R. and Twamley, K. (eds) Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?, London: UCL Press. (in print)

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Pacitto, J. (forthcoming) “Southern-led faith-based responses to refugees: insights for the global North,” in Schewel, B. and Wilson, E. (eds) Religion and European Society, Oxford: Wiley. (in print)

Saunders, J., Snyder, S. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) "Introduction: Articulating Intersections at the Global Crossroads of Religion and Migration," in Saunders, J., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Snyder, S. (eds) Intersections of Religion and Migration: Issues at the Global Crossroads, New York: Palgrave.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) “The faith-gender-asylum nexus: an intersectionalist analysis of representations of the ‘Refugee Crisis'," in Mavelli, L. and Wilson, E. K. (eds) The Refugee Crisis and Religion. Rowland and Littlefield.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) “The Veiling of Religious Markers in the Sahrawi Diaspora,” in J. Garnett and S. Hale (eds) Religion in Diaspora: Cultures of Citizenship, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 181-201.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Pacitto, J. (2015) “Writing the Other into Humanitarianism: A conversation between ‘South-South’ and ‘faith-based’ humanitarianisms,” in Z. Sezgin and D. Dijkzeul (eds) The New Humanitarianisms in International Practice: Emerging actors and contested principles, Oxford: Routledge, November 2015.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) '(Re)Conceptualising 'Stateless Diasporas' in the European Union,' in R. Cohen and J. Storey with N. Moon (eds) The Impact of Diasporas, Oxford Diasporas Programme and The Impact of Diasporas Programme: pp. 38-44.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) “The Stateless Talk Back: Palestinian narratives of home(land)” in The Oxford Diasporas Programme Collection, Oxford: Oxford Diaspora Programme.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) “Conflicting Missions? The politics of Evangelical humanitarianism in the Sahrawi and Palestinian protracted refugee situations,” in A. Horstmann and J-H. Jung (eds) Building Noah’s Ark: Refugee, Migrant and Religious Communities, London: Palgrave Macmillan: pp. 157-179.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Y.M. Qasmiyeh (2015) “Muslim Asylum-Seekers and Refugees from the Middle East and North Africa: Negotiating politics, religion and identity in the UK,” reprinted in J. Beckford (ed.) Migration and Religion, Edward Elgar.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) “Engendering Understandings of Faith-Based Organisations: Intersections between religion and gender in development and humanitarian interventions,” in A. Coles, L. Gray, and J. Momsen (eds) Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development, London: Routledge. pp. 560-570.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2014) “Gender and Forced Migration,” in E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, G. Loescher, K. Long and N. Sigona (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E., Loescher, G., Long, K. and Sigona, N. (2014) ‘"Introduction: Refugee and Forced Migration Studies in Transition,” in E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, G. Loescher, K. Long and N. Sigona (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) “Inter-Generational Negotiations of Religious Identity, Belief and Practice: Child, youth and adult perspectives from three cities,” in J. Garnett and Harris, A. (eds) Rescripting Religion in the City: Migration and Religious Identity in the Modern Metropolis, Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 163-176

Qasmiyeh, Y.M. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) “Refugee Camps and Cities in Conversation,” in J. Garnett and Harris, A. (eds) Rescripting Religion in the City: Migration and Religious Identity in the Modern Metropolis, Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 131-143.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) "Enhancing Community-Based Responses," in Zetter, R. (ed.) World Disasters Report 2012: Focus on Forced Migration and Displacement, Geneva: IFRC.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) “Human Rights, Activism and Migration,” The Encyclopaedia of Global Human Migration, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) “Diaspora,” The Encyclopaedia of Globalization, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) “Nomads,” The Encyclopaedia of Globalization, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2010) When the Self becomes Other: Representations of gender, Islam and the politics of survival in the Sahrawi refugee camps,” in D. Chatty and B. Findlay (Eds.) Dispossession and Displacement: Forced Migration in the Middle East and North Africa. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 171-196.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2010) “Concealing Violence Against Women in the Sahrawi Refugee Camps: The politicisation of victimhood,” in H. Bradby and G. Lewando-Hundt (Eds.) Global Perspectives on War, Gender and Health: The Sociology and Anthropology of Suffering. Farnham: Ashgate. pp. 99-110.

Crivello, G. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2010) “The Ties that Bind: Sahrawi Children and the Mediation of Aid in Exile,” in D. Chatty (Ed.) Deterritorialised Afghan and Sahrawi Youth: Refugees from the Margins of the Middle East. Oxford: Berghahn Books. pp. 85-118..

Chatty, D., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Crivello, G. (2010) “Identity With/out Territory: Sahrawi Refugee Youth in Transnational Space,” in D. Chatty (Ed.) Deterritorialised Afghan and Sahrawi Youth: Refugees from the Margins of the Middle East. Oxford: Berghahn Books. pp. 37-84.

Research Monographs and Policy Briefs

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (ed) (2016) Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees, MRU Policy Brief.

Pacitto, J. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2013) Writing the 'Other' into humanitarian discourse: Framing theory and practice in South-South humanitarian responses to forced displacement. UNHCR New Issues in Refugee Research, Research Paper No. 257, July 2013.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Ager, A. (eds) Local Faith Communities and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations, RSC/JLI Working Paper 90, Oxford: Refugee Studies Centre, February 2013.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2012) Conflicting missions? The Politics of Evangelical Humanitarianism in the Western Sahara and Palestine-Israel, Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, April 2012.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) Invisible Refugees: protecting Sahrawis and Palestinians displaced by the 2011 Libyan uprising. UNHCR New Issues in Refugee Research, Research Paper no. 225.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2011) Protracted Sahrawi Displacement: Challenges and Opportunities Beyond Encampment, RSC Policy Briefing Series No. 7, Oxford University (published in Arabic, English and Spanish).

Other Publications

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) ‘Representations of Displacement: Introducing the Series,' Refugee Hosts, 1 Sep. 2017.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) 'Invisible (at) Night: Space, Time and Photography in a Refugee Camp,' Refugee Hosts, 1 Sep. 2017.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Qasmiyeh, Y.M. (2017) 'Refugee-Refugee Solidarity in Death and Dying,' 2017 Venice Bienalle Tunisian Pavillion: The Absence of Paths, May 2017.

Greatrick, A and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) ''Travelling Fear' in Global Context: Exploring Everyday Dynamics of In/Security and Im/Mobility, Refugee Hosts, March 2017.

Greatrick, A and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017) 'The Roles of Performance and Creative Writing Workshops in Refugee-Related Research,' Refugee Hosts, March 2017.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2017)  ‘Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon face an uncertain 2017’, The Conversation, 3 January 2017 (+14900 readers by October 2017)

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'Palestinian and Syrian Refugees in Lebanon: Sharing Space, Electricity and the Sky,' Refugee History, 21 December 2016

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) ‘Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees,’ LSE Religion and the Public Sphere, 19 October 2016.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'Refugees hosting refugees,' Forced Migration Review, September 2016

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'The Intersection between Gender and Religion in Humanitarian Responses to Refugees,'The Berkley Forum (The Berkley Centre for Religion, Peace and World Affairs), 23 September 2016.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2016) 'Europe's migrant children: between belonging, happiness and discrimination,' OpenDemocracy, 22 February 2016.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Qasmiyeh, Y. M. (2016) ‘Refugee Neighbours and Hostipitality: Exploring the complexities of refugee-refugee humanitarianism,’ The Critique, 5 January 2016.

Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) 'Refugees helping refugees: how a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon is welcoming Syrians,' The Conversation, 4 November 2015. (+15000 readers by Oct. 2017)

Eliassi, B. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) 'How likely is civil war in Turkey? More rights than borders could satisfy many Kurds,' OXPOL, 16 October 2015.

Eliassi, B. and Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. (2015) 'How likely is civil war in Turkey?' OpenDemocracy, 15 October 2015.

My research focuses on the intersections between gender, generation and religion in contexts of conflict-induced displacement and statelessness with a particular regional focus on the Middle East and North Africa. Drawing on a critical theoretical perspective my work contributes to key debates surrounding refugees’ and local host community members' experiences of and responses to conflict-induced displacement; the nature of refugee-host-donor relations, and both North-South and South-South humanitarian responses to forced migration. My current research - supported by major grants and research awards from the Leverhulme Trust, AHRC-ESRC and the European Research Council - examines experiences of and responses to displacement from Syria through multi-sited research in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. At UCL, I direct the Refuge in a Moving World interdisciplinary research network - you can follow the events and activities of the Refuge in a Moving World research network on @RefugeMvingWrld.

Follow Elena's research and publications here.

* Local Community Experiences of and Responses to Displacement from Syria: Views from Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey (Sep. 2016 - Aug. 2020)

Over 4,4 million refugees have sought safety across Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey from the on-going Syrian conflict, with local communities, civil society groups, established refugee communities, and faith-based organisations providing essential assistance, solidarity and support to refugees. However, little is known regarding the motivations, nature and impacts of such responses to international refugee flows from conflict. This interdisciplinary and participatory research project is supported by a Large PaCCS Grant (£800,000) awarded by the AHRC-ESRC through the Global Challenges Research Fund project, and aims to improve our understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise in local responses to displacement, both for refugees from Syria and for the members of the communities that are hosting them in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. This project will reframe debates about the roles and experiences of local communities and refugees in contexts of conflict-induced displacement in the global South. In so doing, the research aims to inform the development of policy, practice and service provision at local, national and international levels. The project team includes Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (PI), Co-Is Prof. Alastair Ager, Dr Anna Rowlands and Prof Lyndsey Stonebridge, and 9 local researchers in the Middle East. Follow the project on www.refugeehosts.org and through @RefugeeHosts.

* South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement from Syria (July 2017 - June 2022)

With the support of a major European Research Council grant, between 2017 and 2022 I will be leading a major multi-sited research project Analysing South-South Humanitarian Responses to Displacement from Syria, through fieldwork in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. This project examines how, why and with what effect Southern actors - states, civil society networks, and refugees themselves - have responded to displacement from Syria. Overall, the project aims to purposefully centralise refugees’ own experiences of and perspectives on these Southern-led initiatives. Indeed, by bringing refugees’ voices to the forefront, I aim to shed a unique light on refugees’ understandings of humanitarianism, and the extent to which they consider that diverse Southern-led responses to conflict-induced displacement can or should be conceptualised as ‘humanitarian’ programmes. In so doing, the project makes a particularly significant contribution to debates regarding the desirability and/or tensions of ‘alternative’ forms of humanitarianism which have, until now, been monopolised by Northern academic and policy perspectives

This ongoing ERC-funded project builds upon long-standing research into this topic, which resulted in my second monograph, South-South Educational Migration and Development: Views from the Caribbean, North Africa and the Middle East, (2015). Through multi-sited fieldwork with and about Sahrawi and Palestinian refugee students in Cuba and Libya, and following their return to the desert-based Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria and the urban Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, the book investigates the experiences of Sahrawi and Palestinian refugees during and after their time in Cuba and Libya both as a form of international migration, and as an example of South-South cooperation.

 

Completed Projects: Faith-Based Humanitarianism; Stateless Diasporas; and Gender, Islam and Displacement

* Faith-Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement (2010-2016)

This research project examines how, why and to what effect faith-based actors – including international networks, major humanitarian organisations and local faith communities – provide assistance and protection to individuals and communities displaced by conflict. In 2011, a Special Issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies was published on “Faith Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Migration” (24(3), Sep. 2011), and more recent research funded by the Henry Luce Foundation explored the intersections between gender and faith-based responses to forced migration, with a particular focus on the gendered nature and implications of local faith communities’ responses to displacement from Syria. Between 2014-2016, field research was conducted with refugees and local faith communities in Lebanon, and an international workshop was held in 2016 to provide a space for debate and mutual learning between academics, policy-makers, practitioners and displaced persons themselves.

* (Re)Conceptualising Stateless Diasporas (2011 - 2015)

This Leverhulme-funded explored the experiences of members of two Middle Eastern stateless diasporas in four countries in the European Union: France, Italy, Sweden and the UK. In particular, it examined how Palestinians and Kurds negotiate, mobilise and/or resist notions of shared belonging in the EU, and analyses how Palestinians and Kurds who hold diverse socio-legal statuses conceptualise connections with other members of ‘their’ communities across time and space, and socio-political commitments to ‘their’ respective homelands and nationalist projects in the contemporary Middle East. Academic outputs included a Special Issue on “Refugee and Diaspora Memories,”Journal of Intercultural Studies, 34(6) (Dec. 2013), and a series of articles including 'On the Threshold of Statelessness: Palestinian narratives of loss and erasure’ (Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, 2016) and 'Palestinians and the Arab Uprisings: Political activism, and narratives of home, homeland and home-camp' (Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2016).

* Gender, Islam and Displacement (2010 - 2014)

Drawing upon multi-sited research in the Sahrawi refugee camps (Algeria), Cuba, South Africa, Spain and Syria, this ESRC-funded research developed a postcolonial and intersectionalist analysis to investigate the roles of gender, ethnicity and Islam in performances of the Sahrawi refugee Self and Other ‘on’ and ‘off-stage’ during interactions with secular, Christian and Muslim audiences in the refugee camps and in the international arena. In particular, it examines how, why and to what effect young Sahrawi refugees in the diaspora ‘inherit’ and reproduce an ‘official discourse’ which represents, and consequently constitutes, the Sahrawi refugee camps as ‘ideal’ spaces inhabited by ‘ideal refugees’: secular, democratic and gender equal. My book, The Ideal Refugees: Gender, Islam and the Sahrawi Politics of Survival was published by Syracuse University Press in January 2014.

Throughout my research into experiences of and responses conflict-induced displacement, I regularly engage with different academic and non-academic audiences. For instance, I have been interviewed by the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, my research has been cited by The Guardian, and I regularly contribute to evaluations and assessments by humanitarian organisations and agencies such as Oxfam and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Faith-Based Humanitarianism

As part of this project, between 2011 and 2014, I collaborated with a 'Joint Learning Initiative' on Local Faith Communities and Resilience involving academics, policy makers, practitioners and representatives from a diversity of faith communities to explore the nature and impacts of initiatives developed by local faith communities in humanitarian situations. In addition to co-editing a major scoping report with Alastair Ager (Columbia University), I oversaw the development of a policy note and an open-access Forced Migration Online resource summary page on local faith communities and humanitarianism which were launched in 2013. In 2016, Elena was subsequently appointed Academic Co-Chair of a new Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities focusing on Refugees and Forced Migration. Her recent publications on this matter include a piece in The Berkley Forum and an MRU Policy Brief on Gender, Religion and Humanitarian Responses to Refugees.

In 2014, the JLI scoping report was acknowledged in a new UNHCR Partnership Note on faith-based organisations as ‘important to the thinking behind all areas of the follow-up to the Dialogue on Faith and Protection.’ The Special Issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies which I edited in 2011 on ‘Faith-Based Humanitarianism in Contexts of Forced Displacement’ and the policy note ‘Local faith communities and resilience in humanitarian situations’ were cited as key resources in UNHCR’s report and, previously, at UNHCR’s 2012 Dialogue.

In May 2014, I participated in an expert panel discussion at the Westminster Faith Debates on ‘Engaging Religion for Development.’

In July 2013, I was invited to contribute to The Immanent Frame – a forum established by the SSRC (Social Science Research Council)– alongside other leading figures working on the intersections between religion, secularism and the public sphere. My contribution addresses the polemics of state-led 'religious engagement' in contexts of displacement and humanitarian crises: 'Engaging Religion at the Department of State'.

The Working Paper on Local Faith Communities and the promotion of resilience in humanitarian situations, and a blog posting on the report by JLI researcher Joey Ager were referenced in The Guardian article ‘Faith-based organisations: should dogma be left out of development?. I contributed to a debate on this subject on 23 May 2013, and some of my key insights were included in The Guardian’s debate roundup: 'Keep the Faith: 12 thoughts on dogma and development' .

In January 2013, I was awarded the Lisa Gilad Prize by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) for my 2011 article 'The pragmatics of performance: putting 'faith' in aid in the Sahrawi refugee camps.' Awarded at each biennial meeting of the IASFM, the prize is given for 'the most innovative and thoughtful contribution to the advancement of refugee studies’ published in one of the two immediately preceding volumes of the Journal of Refugee Studies.

Gender, Youth and Forced Migration

In 2011, I presented the findings of my research in and about the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. My Policy Briefing (Protracted Sahrawi Displacement: Challenges and opportunities beyond encampment) was launched at a policy roundtable at UNHCR-Geneva, leading to a number of changes in UN- and NGO-led projects and programmes for women and children in the Sahrawi refugee camps.

UNDERGRADUATE MODULES

  • GEOG3048: Migration and Transnationalism (on leave until 2022)

GRADUATE MODULES

  • GEOGG201: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Global Migration (Contributor)
  • GEOGG205: Gender, Generation and Forced Migration (Course Convenor)
  • GEOGG202: Issues in Global Migration (Contributor)

 

      Primary Supervisor:

      Katy Taylor-Helps: Motherland and Militancy, Giving and Taking Life: Female Perpetration of Proscribed Violence, and Gendered National Identity Construction in Lebanon and Palestine (2016 - present, ESRC-funded; primary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography)

      Claire Fletcher: The roles of faith-based organisations in supporting asylum-seekers in the UK (2016 – present; 1+3 ESRC Funded; primary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography )

      Khatereh Eghdamian: Rethinking Religion in Humanitarianism Beyond Identity Politics: Discursive representations of Syrian refugees and their effects on religious minorities in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey (2015 – present, ESRC-funded; primary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography)

      Suriyah Bi: The Feminisation of Marriage: Ghar Dhamads, Generational Shifts, and Global vs. Local in Birmingham’s British-Pakistani Community (2015 – present, GoK-funded; primary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography)

      Co-Supervisor

      Ceri Butler: The Integration of Refugee Doctors in the UK (2015 – present; co-supervisor, with Fiona Stevenson, UCL Medical School)

      Chloe Lewis: Rape as a Weapon of War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: Uncovering the Elusive Male ‘Victim’ (2011 – present, ESRC-funded; co-supervisor, with D. Chatty, University of Oxford)

      Second Supervisor

      Andrew Knight: Community-based humanitarianism: exploring refugee-to-refugee humanitarian initiatives in the context of the Syria crisis (2017 - present, DPU 60th Anniversary Scholarship, secondary supervisor, with Andrea Rigon, UCL-DPU)

      Tom Brocket: Between West Bank and East Coast: Making Palestinian heritage in and from the United States (2016 - present, ESRC-funded; secondary supervisor, with Caroline Bressey, UCL Geography)

      Diego Garcia Rodriguez: Queer Indonesian Muslims: Progressive Islam and the Negotiation of LGBT and Muslim Identities (2016 - present; secondary supervisor, with Richard Mole, CMII/SEESS)

      Shayan Moftizadeh: Exploring identities among the second generation Kurdish diaspora in the UK (2016 - present; secondary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography)

      Chia-Yuan Huang: Global Mobility of Talents and Taiwan's Youth Exodus: Young Skilled Workers from Taiwan in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore (2015 - present; secondary supervisor, with Claire Dwyer, UCL Geography)

      Tatianna Rodrigues: Guyana in Barbados: Regional Integration and Migration Policy in CARICOM (2014 - present; second supervisor, with Ben Page, UCL Geography)

      Completed

      Kerrie Thornhill: Reconstructed Meanings of Sexual Violence in Post-Conflict Liberia (2011 - 2016, Trudeau Foundation Scholar; co-supervisor with P. Daley, University of Oxford; DPhil awarded with no changes)

      European Research Council Grant (ref: ASSHURED 715582) (2017-2022)

      AHRC-ESRC Large PaCCS Project (ref: AH/P005438/1), funded as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund (2016-2020)

      Philip Leverhulme Prize awarded by the Leverhulme Trust (2015)

      Lisa Gilad Prize awarded by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (2013)

      The Henry Luce Foundation (2010-2011, and 2014-2016)

      Oxford University Press John Fell Fund (2012-2014)

      Leverhulme Trust (2011-2015)

      Joint Learning Initiative (2012-2014)

      Oxford Department for International Development, University of Oxford (2011-2013)

      United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2012)

      World Bank (2010-2011)

      UK Department for International Development (DfID) (2010-2011)

      Commonwealth Foundation (2010-2011)

      Economic and Social Research Council (2005-2009)