Joanne Laycock

Joanne Laycock


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am happy to hear from students interested in postgraduate study in refugee and migration history or in histories of the South Caucasus or, more broadly, late Russian imperial and Soviet history.

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Personal profile



After an undergraduate degree in History and Archaeology at Durham University, I came to Manchester to undertake an MA in Modern European History and completed an AHRC funded PhD here in 2005. Following this, I studied Russian language at Glasgow University and was the first Manoogian-Simone Postdoctoral Fellow in Armenian history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Prior to returning to Manchester as Senior Lecturer in Modern History in 2018, I was a member of the History Department at Sheffield Hallam University for six years.



My research approaches the history of Armenia and its diasporas from a transnational perspective. It sits at the boundary of histories of Europe, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union, examining movements and connections across imperial and national borders in the aftermath of conflict. In particular, my work examines the consequences of forced displacement in the short and long term; from humanitarianism, emergency relief and resettlement to collective memory and the challenges of refugee and diasporic ‘homecomings’.


Research interests

My first monograph, Imagining Armenia, was published by Manchester University Press in 2009 (paperback, 2016). This drew upon postcolonial theory and critiques of Orientalism to examine how European actors engaged with regions conceived of as ‘in-between’ East and West, and with what consequences. Subsequently, the focus of my research has shifted to displacement, diasporas and humanitarianism in the ‘peripheries’ of the Soviet Union in the aftermath of two World Wars.

My current project, which has been funded by a British Academy Small Grant and Rockefeller Grant-in-Aid examines how mass displacement and its aftermaths shaped the South Caucasus 1914-1928. It examines how Soviet authorities, the Armenian diaspora and international organisations responded to mass displacement through emergency relief measures, resettlement schemes and attempts to initiate co-operative schemes for the ‘development’ of the region. I am currently working on a monograph provisionally titled Unsettled States: Refugees, Relief and Development in Armenia and the South Caucasus.

I also recently co-edited a transnational history of humanitarian relief and international intervention in Armenia, Aid to Armenia, which was published by Manchester University Press.

My previous research has addressed the ‘repatriation’ of diaspora Armenians to the Soviet Union after the Second World War, examining the ambiguous ways that the Soviet Union related to its diaspora communities and demonstrating how diasporic constructions of ‘homeland’ were transformed through the process of ‘homecoming’. Articles based on this work have been published in Cultural and Social History, History and Memory and Kritika.

I am also interested in histories of conflict, displacement and memory in the wider South Caucasus region. I am a member of the editorial board of Caucasus Studies journal and co-convenor of the BASEES Eurasian Regions Study Group. I am also part of the editorial team for the Peripheral Histories? blog and welcome suggestions for articles, interviews or other contributions on the Caucasus region or on themes of displaccement and migration.


I am happy to hear from students interested in postgraduate study in refugee and migration history, histories of the modern South Caucasus or, more broadly, late Russian imperial and Soviet history. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • John Rylands Research Institute and Library


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