Affiliated Doctoral students

Alpha AbebeAlpha Abebe

Research title: Intersections of Diasporas and Development: Young Ethiopian Diasporans from the West and Their Relationships to Development in Ethiopia
Supervisor: Oliver Bakewell

Research: Alpha’s research will explore the intersection of diasporas and development, through the experiences of ‘the young Ethiopian diaspora’ in the West. Specifically, it will involve understanding the ways in which people of Ethiopian descent born and/or raised in Canada and the US build a diasporic identity and engage with Ethiopian development initiatives through a mutually constitutive process.

ODP project interest: African Diasporas Within Africa

Carolin Fischer

Research title: Conditions of Agency in a Transnational Context: Afghan Diasporas and their Engagement for Development and Change in Afghanistan
Supervisor: Oliver Bakewell

Research: In her research Carolin explores how Afghans based in Germany and Britain relate to social change, conflict and development in Afghanistan. She is particularly interested in questions of causality and interactions between structure and agency in diaspora formation and diaspora–home-country relations.

Tilmann Heil

Research title: Convivència and Cohabitation. Comparing Conviviality in Catalonia and the Casamance

Supervisors: Hélène-Neveu Kringelbach and Steven Vertovec

Research description: While the Catalan population itself is coming to terms with rapid diversification due to immigration, this research project investigates the perspective of migrants from the Casamance, Senegal. How do migrants themselves socially manage to make their way within new contexts of cultural complexity? Do their pre-migration experiences of ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity and their ongoing transnational connections enable them to deal effectively with the changing configurations of diversity that they encounter in Spain? How do ways of living together with difference change over time and through space in both the Casamance and Catalonia? Using a qualitative transnational comparison, I explore questions which are relevant to societies undergoing diversification by taking configurations, representations, and everyday social relations into account. Through the alternative lens of the Casamançais experience this project enhances our understanding of increasingly diverse societies both in Africa and Europe.

ODP project interest: Multinational Families, Creolized Practices and New Identities: Euro-Senegalese Cases

Nanor Karageozian

Research title: Diasporic Return in an Age of Transnationalism: Voluntary Repatriation and Development in the Case of Post-Soviet Armenia
Supervisors: Dawn Chatty and Oliver Bakewell

Research: Nanor is particularly interested in (ethnic) return migration and repatriation, and their implications for development. Her research interests also include diaspora policies and politics, diaspora engagement, forced migration and refugee studies, as well as ethnic conflicts and nationalism in post-Soviet countries, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean Basin.

Emma Lochery

Supervisor: Jonny Steinberg

Research: Emma Lochery is a doctoral student in the Department of Politics researching state collapse, transnational economic networks, and the politics of identity and citizenship, with a regional focus on the Horn of Africa. Her doctoral project, 'Business and State-Making in Somaliland's Utility Sector', examines how negotiations and conflicts over the lines between public and private, state and market, and informal and formal have affected the provision of utility services in post-conflict Somaliland, a self-declared republic in the northwest of the former Somalia. Emma completed her Master’s in African Studies at Oxford, focusing on the political history of Kenyan Somalis. She subsequently spent a year as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at Addis Ababa University before moving to Kenya to work on a British Institute in Eastern Africa research project entitled ‘Trade and Trust in Northern Kenya’.

ODP project interest: Diasporas, Trade and Trust: Eastleigh, Nairobi's Little Mogadishu

Patrycja Stys

Research title: The Politics of Staying and Going: Resisting Repatriation in Africa’s Great Lakes Region
David Anderson

Research: Patrycja Stys is a doctoral candidate affiliated with the Department of Politics and Nuffield College. She completed her MPhil in Comparative Government at St. Antony’s College, where she began working on post-conflict state and social reconstruction, concentrating on the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and former combatants in Rwanda. Her current research remains firmly wedded to this concept, but extends the geographical focus to Africa’s western Rift Valley. Her doctoral thesis explores issues of nationalism, ethnicity and citizenship in exile, social networks and political activism of refugee communities across state borders, and the practicalities of mending broken nation-states through the return of expatriated populations. The project is based on a cumulative thirteen months of fieldwork in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda.

ODP project interest: Diasporas, Trade and Trust: Eastleigh, Nairobi's Little Mogadishu

Cameron Thibos

Research Title: Competitive Identity Formation in the Turkish Diaspora
Supervisors: Hein de Haas and Robin Cohen

Research: My current project is about identity, politics and discourse in the Turkish diaspora. The forces shaping diasporic Turkish identity are an important, but poorly understood, aspect of the social transformations affecting modern Turkey and expatriate Turkish populations. I examine the role public discourse plays in forming identities in the Turkish diaspora and the political effects of that process. I argue that the politics of Turkish groups in the diaspora should be analysed as a process of competitive identity formation. My analysis is based on two cases studies. My primary study concerns the struggle of Turkish activists in the United States to prevent official recognition of the Armenian genocide by the US Congress. My secondary study pertains to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Turkish labour migration to Germany. Both of these activities are intensely political, involve many competing actors, and provide ideal examples of nationalistic discourses in the diaspora. To make my arguments I draw on interviews and surveys conducted with Turkish activists and residents in Washington DC in 2010 as well as extensive analysis of the Turkish, German and American national presses.

Morwari Zafar

Supervisor: Nicholas Van Hear

Research: Morwari Zafar is a doctoral student at COMPAS/the School of Anthropology. Her doctoral research examines the development and commodification of cultural knowledge by the U.S. government through private-sector enterprises, and compels a reassessment of diasporic engagement. More specifically, her research project provides a novel perspective into the post-9/11 narratives of the Afghan-American diaspora that are co-opted by, packaged for, and sold to the U.S. military-industrial complex to advance counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. In the ongoing War on Terror, Afghan-Americans have become critical transnational brokers of language and cultural knowledge. As generations of Afghan-Americans define themselves and their roles in American society, the study explores how their identities, histories, and conceptions of “Afghanistan” and “Islam” have shaped the accounts that underpin U.S. foreign policy.

ODP project interest:  Diaspora engagement in war-torn societies


Ersa Kaytaz
Supervisor: Franck Duvell and Alison Shaw
Advisor: Nicholas van Hear

Research: Ersa Kaytaz is a doctoral student at COMPAS. Her doctoral thesis looks at how to account for diversity in migratory decisions among Afghan migrants who have recently arrived in Turkey. The variation in decisions she investigates pertains to issues such as the bureaucratic system, social lives, employment and health. Ersa argues that socio-cultural theories of risk provide a framework for accounting for heterogeneity of within-group decision-making processes. 

Her research relates to diaspora studies in three ways. Firstly, it looks at the relations between the irregular migrants and the Afghan diaspora in Istanbul. Secondly, as the opportunities for Afghans to leave Turkey have become more restricted—especially with regard to asylum seekers whose claims are not processed and who are no longer resettled to third countries— I have been working with a ‘diaspora in formation’. Finally, the research looks at relations between people who have been resettled in third countries and Afghan communities in Turkey and Iran.