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Dr Estella Carpi
Room G16
26, Bedford Way
Department of Geography
Dr Estella Carpi profile picture
  • Rsearch Associate
  • Dept of Geography
  • Faculty of S&HS
  • Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies
  • Inst for Risk & Disaster Reduction
  • Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

I received my PhD in social anthropology from the University of Sydney (Australia), with a research project on humanitarianism in Lebanon.

I am presently a Research Associate in the Migration Research Unit (Department of Geography) at University College London, where I work on Southern-led humanitarian responses to displacement from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, a project funded by the European Research Council. I particularly focus on the displacement of religious authorities from Syria and the way they renegotiate faith leadership by undertaking humanitarian work in the countries of resettlement or temporary relocation. 

I am currently a 2020-25 Global Young Academy Member, involved in the At-Risk Scholars Initiative and Women in Science teams.

In 2016, I was awarded the “Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East” research grant from the Centre for International and Regional Studies (Georgetown University-Qatar), to undertake a study on the border politics of livelihoods in southeast Turkey and northern Lebanon.

I also own a background in Linguistic Anthropology: I carried out my MPhil research on the everyday speech in contemporary Lebanon in 2007, where I explored how the individual's political and social identification is related to linguistic code-switching and code-mixing (including Lebanese dialect, Standard Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, English and French) in Lebanon's multilingual settings.

I am author of Specchi Scomodi. Etnografia delle Migrazioni Forzate nel Libano Contemporaneo, published in Italian with Mimesis (Milan).

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

I am primarily concerned with the way in which societies respond to conflict-induced displacement and humanitarian assistance provision in the Arab Levant and Turkey. My work also revolves around identity politics in crisis-stricken settings, anthropology of the state, and sport and play activities in NGO programming.
In the past, I have conducted extensive research on humanitarian assistance, forced migration, and chronic vulnerabilities (Lebanon and Syria); social protection nets, poverty, and welfare (Egypt); family law and women's parity (Morocco); social services, statehood, and political order (UAE); and education in human displacement (Jordan).
After studying Arabic in Milan and Damascus (2002-2008), I worked in several academic and research institutions in the Middle Eastern region, such as the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Trends Research and Advisory (UAE), UN-Habitat Lebanon, the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon Support, UNDP-Egypt (Cairo), and the International Development Research Centre (Cairo).

Teaching Summary

I am presently Lecturer in Humanitarian Studies and Anthropology of the Middle East at Alta Scuola di Economia e Relazioni Internazionali, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan (Italy). 

I have also held lecturing positions in Conflict Analysis at Universita' degli Studi di Pisa (Italy) in the course of Peace Studies, and in Humanitarian Studies at Universita' degli Studi di Torino (Italy) in the course of Political Sciences during 2017-18. 

I have also been a teaching assistant and casual lecturer in the following undergraduate and postgraduate units of study:

Introduction to Sociology; Human Rights and Social Protest; Social Inequality; the Middle East and the International Law; Arabic and Islamic studies.

In particular, I have teaching experience in:

- Humanitarianism, transnational governance, and NGOs
- Transitional justice and reconciliation in conflict-ridden contexts
- Gender, political, and economic inequalities
- Religion and society
- International relations in the Middle East and North Africa region (war chronologies; water and territorial disputes; the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; the Iran's nuclear issue)
- Nationalism and identity in the Arab world
- Comic strips and humour in the Arab world

I have delivered guest lectures on humanitarianism primarily in Australia, Italy, and Lebanon.

I am particularly interested in supervising BA and MSc theses on humanitarianism and development in the Middle Eastern region, Australia, the Arab Gulf, and Brazil.

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