UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Dr Mezna Qato

Research Associate 

Research Summary

My research explores histories of social, economic, and political transformation amongst stateless populations in the Middle East. In particular, I examine the social history of Palestinians in exile. Through gendered and classed histories of everyday lives, and utilising diverse and new archival practices developed through a long and close relationship with archivists and Arabic archival collections across the Middle East, I expand the possibilities of what can be written about the exiled in transnational social histories in the region and across the global south.

I am currently completing a book on education for Palestinians. Future projects include a micro-historical study of the Palestinians of Haiti, and a social-economic study of the Kadoorie School, agrarian education and philanthropy in the Middle East.

I co-convene the ‘Archives of the Disappeared’ Research Initiative, and  have curated conversations, workshops, readings, and seminars on the problem of archival retrieval under and after mass violence and annihilation.

My collaborative artwork with A Future Collectivewas in the 16th Venice Architecture Biennials Bahrain Pavilion (2018) and Performance Space in New York (2018).

I am Margaret Anstee Fellow at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. I was previously a Spencer Fellow at the National Academy of Education, and Junior Research Fellow at Kings College, Cambridge. At Cambridge, I teach papers in histories of migration, the modern Middle East, historical argument and practice, development and internationalism, and twentieth century social and global histories.

As a Travelling Research Fellow in Takhayyul Project, I am developing a study of everyday socialities of imagination in the long century of Palestinian liberation work.