Personal profile

Biography

I (re)joined the Department of History in October 2022 as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow in Humanities and Social Science (2022-2025). Previously, I was (fixed-term) lecturer in Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow; from 2020-21, I was Research Associate in History at Manchester, working with Peter Gatrell's AHRC-funded Reckoning with Refugeedom: Refugee Voices in Modern History project. From 2018-2020, I was lecturer in Middle Eastern History in the Department of History at Yale; prior to that, from 2015-2018, I was the Postdoctoral Research Associate in Palestine/Israel Studies here at the University of Manchester in the Department of Arabic and Middle East Studies.
I received my PhD in Near and Middle East History from SOAS, University of London, where I also taught.

Overview

My Wellcome Trust Fellowship (Oct 2022-Oct 2025) project is titled 'Medical deportees: narrations and pathographies of health at the borders of Great Britain, Egypt, and Palestine, 1919-1949'. The fellowship is held in the Department of History with support from the Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) here at Manchester.

I am a social historian of the Middle East, namely Palestine prior to 1948, and of mobility, displacement, and borders. My scholarship is also oriented toward transimperial migration and transimperial connections, particularly as understood by the individuals, families, and communities deeply affected by colonial and imperial structures of power.

Qualifications

PhD, Near and Middle East History, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London

Research interests

My Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Humanities and Social Science, Medical Deportees: narrations and pathographies of health at the borders of Great Britain, Egypt, and Palestine offers new approaches to the history of 20th century medico-legal borders and puts (im)(e)migrants’ voices at its centre. Drawing on historical narratives of mental, emotional, and physical disorders as produced in accounts by arrivals to Britain, Egypt, and Palestine, the three-year project will analyse the varied ways in which migrants understood and negotiated infirmities and border controls. It engages with the conceptual framework of biocredibility together with a pathographical reading of precarious migrants’ historical sources. These migrants include the forcibly displaced, refugees, and labour migrants from across Asia and Africa who attempted to enter Great Britain by sea, and Palestine and Egypt overland. Focused on a period when imperial authorities accelerated the use of biopower as a tool to manage borders, including ports, the research will foreground the transnational circulation of knowledge among refugees, displaced persons, and low-waged labourers labeled as ‘medically undesirable’. The archival research will underscore how migrants’ experiences influenced colonial and postcolonial knowledge on the mental and physical impact of medicalised border control.

I am also concurrently working on my second monograph, Subverting the Documentary Regime: Licit and Illicit Mobility along the Borders of Palestine, 1920-1950. This is part of a longer research project, begun as a postdoctoral fellow in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies here at Manchester, which is a social history of clandestine, illicit, and undocumented immigration to and from Palestine between 1920 and 1950 and the consequences of this movement for the individuals, families, and communities involved in the migration process. It charts the social life of illicit mobilities, eg those not permitted by the state, and the shaping of deportable migrants through the interwar years and the half-decade that followed the end of the Second World War. The book project focuses on those persons subjected to Palestine’s border control regime who were neither European or North American nor affiliated with political Zionism. Rather, it is concerned with the subjective experiences, histories, and social interactions of migrants primarily from within the Middle East and North Africa, and those who traveled toward Palestine from Central Asia, sub-Saharan and East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. In terms of linguistic and ethnic affiliations, many were Arab or Arabic-speakers from across the Mashriq and the Maghreb, Armenian, Iranian, Kurdish, Afghani, Sudanese, and Greek. These include socio-economically precarious men, women, and children.

I am also part of the Reckoning with Refugeedom collaborative project focusing on the voices and archives of refugees in the 20th century across geographical and temporal contexts. 

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 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD-Near and Middle Eastern History , SOAS University of London

Award Date: 1 Jul 2014

Keywords

  • Middle East History
  • Palestine
  • Borders and migration
  • Refugees
  • Displacement
  • Social history
  • Citizenship

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