Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)



The Centre draws together scholars from a wide range of departments and disciplines, including Archeology, History, Geography, Hebrew and Jewish Studies, Law, and the Bartlett.

Market in Tehran, credit Farzad Mohsenvand via Unsplash
Director | Associated staffPhD students | Visiting Fellows

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The MERC Director is Seth Anziska (Hebrew and Jewish Studies). His research interests are Modern Middle Eastern history, Israeli and Palestinian society and culture, Lebanon, Jewish-Arab encounters in Europe and the Levant, archival practices, visual culture in the contemporary Middle East. 

Associated staff

  • Mark Altaweel (Institute of Archaeology): Ancient Near East Archaeology, Cultural Heritage, Environment and Society in the Near East, Data Science in Archaeology, Mesopotamian History, Connections between the ancient and modern Near East/Middle East.
  • Muzna Al Masri (Urban Lab): Political practices and clientelism, the intersection of conflict and politics with humanitarian aid and energy, and the production of ethnographic research in turbulent times.      
  • Feryal Awan (IOE - Culture, Communication & Media): The political, cultural and socioeconomic impact of colonialism on children in Palestine and the UK
  • Hanna Baumann (Institute for Global Prosperity, Bartlett): Urbanism, displacement, infrastructure, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon.
  • Beverley Butler (Institute of Archaeology): Cultural Heritage, Memory Studies, Heritage and Health.
  • Estella Carpi (Geography, Migration Research Unit): Human displacement, identity politics, humanitarianism, migrations, welfare.
  • Igor Cherstich (Thomas Coram Research Unit): asylum-seekers from North Africa, Anthropology of Islam, Local Articulations of Revolution, Sufism, Ritual Secrecy, Tribal Dynamics, State Surveillance.
  • Alinda Damsma (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): Semitic languages, especially Hebrew and Aramaic, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies.
  • Corisande Fenwick (Institute of Archaeology): Late Antique and Islamic archaeology, history and heritage of North Africa and Middle East. 
  • Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh (Geography): Forced migration and conflict-induced displacement; gender, generation and religion; statelessness in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • Rodrigo Garcia-Velasco (History): Research Fellow- Leverhulme ECF: Documentary Afterlives
  • Mark Geller (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): Ancient Near Eastern languages and texts.
  • Jacopo Gnisci (History of Art) Medieval art and architecture of Africa; Ethiopic, Syriac, Armenian, and Copto-Arabic illuminated manuscripts
  • Eleanore Hargreaves (IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment) Teacher professional development, children's wellbeing and social justice - experience in primarily Egypt, but also Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Qatar.
  • Christopher Harker (Institute for Global Prosperity): Spatial practices of debt and finance in Palestine.
  • Yağmur Heffron (History): Archaeology of Bronze Age Anatolia, archaeology and social history of religion in the ancient Middle East, integrating texts and archaeology, archaeological labour relations in Turkey.
  • Anne Irfan (Arts & Sciences BASc): Palestinian refugee history and politics, displacement and bordering, Lebanon, modern Middle Eastern history, UN and UNRWA, internationalism, colonialism and postcolonialism, archival suppression.
  • Lily Kahn (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): Hebrew, Yiddish, Jewish languages and linguistics. 
  • Neill Lochery (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East Politics, Israeli Politics,  Mediterranean history and politics (Portugal).
  • Ruth Mandel (Anthropology): Transnational migration, ethnicity and identity Turkey, Greece, Germany, Kazakhstan; Post-socialist societies in transition,  Media and International development; Memory and memorialisation in post-Holocaust Europe.
  • Eva Miller (History): ancient Middle East, the modern West, and the relationship between the two
  • Mai Abu Moghli (Institute of Education): Education in Emergencies, Refugee Education, Human Rights Education. 
  • Julie Norman (Political Science): conflict, conflict resolution, human rights, security, social movements, protests, nonviolence/civil resistance, political violence, gendered violence, prisons/detention, refugees, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq.
  • Sara Razai (Judicial Institute, Faculty of Laws):  socio-legal studies of the Middle-East, especially the role and significance of Middle East judiciaries. 
  • Maria Rubins (School of Slavonic and East European Studies): modernism, exile and diaspora, national and postnational cultural identities, the interaction between literature and other arts, bilingual and transnational writing, Russian-language literature in Israel, Israeli literature and culture.
  • Eleanor Robson (History): History of ancient and modern Iraq; the politics of heritage, culture and higher education in Iraq.
  • Fatemeh Sadeghi (Institute for Global Prosperity): cognitive historical procedures enabling individuals/groups to define their identities by collective fantasies, focusing mainly on Islam and Iran
  • Caroline Sandes (Institute for Sustainable Heritage): Archaeology and cultural heritage in (post-)conflict countries, working in Iraq on research & conservation projects for c. 4yrs, and co-director of Living Mesopatamia CIC.
  • Sertaç Sehlikoglu (Institute for Global Prosperity): Self-making, political and ethical imagination, intimacy, gender in the Middle East.
  • Ala’a Shehabi (Institute for Global Prosperity): Energy transitions, rethinking economics, post-oil futures, political economy.
  • Rachael Sparks (Institute of Archaeology): Archaeology of the Bronze and Iron Age Levant; cultural interactions between Egypt and the Southern Levant; materiality of texts; history of archaeological research in 20th century Israel, Palestine and Jordan; archaeological ethics.
  • Sacha Stern (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): The ancient, late antique and early medieval Near East, with a special interest in Jewish history, the history of science, and Hebrew and Aramaic literatures.
  • Ali Coşkun Tunçer (History): Economic History of the Middle East with a focus on the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey.
  • Tom Western (Geography): Sound, citizenship, activisms, anticolonialisms, creativities, migrations, and borders.
  • Haim Yacobi (Bartlett Development Planning Unit): (Post)colonial architecture, planning and development in Israel\Palestine, the Middle East and Africa.

PhD students

  • Jumana Al-Waeli (IOE): Refugee Education through the lens of Social Justice. Acculturation and Pedagogical Love
  • Nir Ben-Porat (Hebrew and Jewish Studies): The Case of Palestinians in Tel Aviv
  • Marwa Fakih (Anthropology): YouTube production, film industry, production cultures, nation branding, globalization, and neoliberalism. 
  • Nora Lessersohn (History): Social biography of one of the first Ottoman-Americans and the way in which he used mass media in the United States to further his political goals in the Otoman Empire between 1835 and 1895.
  • Hanadi Samhan (Bartlett Development Planning Unit): The politics of the Vertical in the camps of Palestinian Refugee camps in Lebanon
  • Joel Stokes(Hebrew and Jewish Studies): A Historical Study of Palestinian Archaeological Agency within the Contested Space 

MERC Visiting Research Fellows

Lerna K. Yanik (Visiting Research Fellow, UCL Middle East Research Centre): non-Western international relations theory, history of Turkish Foreign Policy, politics of space and time in international relations, critical geopolitics.