Emerging Scholars Workshop: “Researching Forced Migration in the Middle East”

On 23–24 March 2023, the Council of British Research in the Levant co-sponsored an Emerging Scholars Workshop on “Researching Forced Migration in the Middle East” at the University of Glasgow. The workshop was co-organised by Gerasimos Tsourapas (University of Glasgow), Rawan Arar (University of Washington), and Benjamin Thomas-White (University of Glasgow). It aimed to highlight cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research on forced migration across the Middle East, while also empowering the next generation of refugee studies scholars.

Seventeen researchers participated, hailing from a range of countries across the Middle East, including Iraq, Jordan, and Egypt, as well as Europe and North America. They were selected out of a competitive pool of over ninety applicants. Participants presented empirically-rich work on a range of topics related to forced migration drawing on sociology, anthropology, history, demography, urban planning, film studies, as well as law and political science.

The workshop’s early-career researchers were joined by two senior scholars, who offered feedback and advice throughout the two days: Ibrahim Awad, a Professor of practice in global affairs and Director of Center for Migration and Refugee Studies, School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, at the American University in Cairo, and Laura Robson, the Oliver McCourtney Professor of History at Penn State University. In the evening of 23 March, Awad and Robson engaged in a lively public debate on “Forced Migration and the Middle East, Past and Present.”

The two-day event was capped by a public book talk by Rawan Arar, who presented her latest book (co-authored with David FitzGerald) entitled The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach (published by Polity Press, 2023). Judith Hoppermann, a first-year doctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow, served as a discussant.

Both public events were co-sponsored by the Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network (GRAMNet) and chaired by Benjamin Thomas-White. The organisers would also like to kindly acknowledge the support of the UKRI (Grant Reference No. EP/X019667/1), whose support made this workshop possible.