Photo of Dr Sophie Richter-Devroe

Dr Sophie Richter-Devroe

Honorary Research Fellow

I gained my BA (Hons) from Cambridge University in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies and my MSc from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Development Studies. My PhD research at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University, examined Palestinian women’s different types of political activism. It formed the basis of my recently published monograph "Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival" (2018) which won the National Women's Studies Association/University of Illinois Press First Book Prize. The book analyzes women’s creative and often informal everyday forms of political activism in Palestine after the Oslo Accords.

I have also conducted research and published on the oral histories, memories and narratives of women from the often forgotten Palestinian Naqab Bedouin population. Additionally, I have worked with Dr Ruba Salih (SOAS) in a joint research on Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank. More recently, I have led a research project on Syrian refugees in Italy and Greece. The project investigates the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on the family and family-making practices in a transnational context.

My research is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Greece.

My research interests broadly cover the following main fields:

  • Women, Gender and Politics in the Middle East (in particular women’s informal, everyday forms of activism and gendered approaches to war, peace, security, violence, conflict resolution and resistance)
  • Palestine Question (in particular Palestinian women, Palestinian refugees, Palestinian cultural production and the Palestinian Bedouin)
  • Oral History and Orality (in particular women’s oral histories, memories and narratives)
  • Refugees and Migration (in particular gendered approaches to migration with a focus on Palestinian and Syrian refugees)
  • Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity (in particular in the context of Palestine)

My current funded research projects are:

I am a member of the European Centre for Palestine Studies.

Research interests

My research interests broadly cover three main fields:

  • Women, Gender and Politics in the Middle East (in particular women’s informal, everyday forms of activism and gendered approaches to war, peace, security, violence, conflict resolution and resistance)
  • Palestine Question (in particular Palestinian women, Palestinian refugees, Palestinian cultural production and the Palestinian Bedouin)
  • Oral History and Orality (in particular women’s oral histories, memories and narratives)
  • Refugees and Migration (in particular gendered approaches to migration with a focus on Palestinian and Syrian refugees)
  • Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity (in particular in the context of Palestine)

My past and current research projects are:

1. Gender and Settler Colonialism: Women's Oral Histories in the Naqab

This project was funded by an AHRC Early Career Fellowship. The project contributes to re-writing the history of the Naqab Bedouins in Israel by proposing a gendered ‘history from below’ based on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork with women from this community. 

I published a co-edited volume on "The Naqab Bedouin and Colonialism" (2014, with M. Nsasra, R Ratclifee, S Abu-Rabia-Queder) and a special issue on “Israeli Settler-Colonialism and the Palestinian Naqab Bedouin” (2018, with M. Nsasra and R Ratcliffe) on this topic. We also organised a workshop on the Naqab Bedouin, at the University of Exeter in 2010, a workshop on “Representations of “Indigeneity” in Settler-Colonial Contexts: The Case of the Naqab Bedouin” at Columbia University in 2015, and a conference on Settler-Colonialism in Palestine, at the University of Exeter, in 2015.

2. Palestinian Refugees' Strategies of Conflict Resolution: Reconciling Citizenship Rights and Return

This is a joint research project with Dr Ruba Salih (SOAS). It was funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, and previously received funding from the Council for British Research in the Levant. The project investigates Palestinian refugees' different political cultures on citizenship rights and return in the West Bank, Jordan and Lebanon. It is based on extensive fieldwork in Palestinian refugee camps in and around Bethlehem, Amman and Beirut.

3. Cultures of Resistance - the Case of Palestine and Beyond

With Dr. Salih (SOAS) I have co-edited a special issue of the Arab Studies Journal on "Cultures of Resistance - the Case of Palestine and Beyond" (2014). This special issue stems from a workshop on Palestinian cultural production which I organised with Polly Withers at the University of Exeter in May 2012.

4. Women’s Political Activism in Palestine

 My monograph “Women’s Political Activism in Palestine: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival” was published in 2018 by the University of Illinois Press. It won the 2012 National Women's Studies Association/University of Illinois Press First Book Prize. The book analyzes women’s creative and often informal everyday forms of political activism in Palestine after the Oslo Accords and is based on extensive fieldwork in Palestine.

5. Syrian Refugees’ Transnational Solidarity and Kinship Networks

This project investigates the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on the family and family-making practices in a transnational context. This project is funded by the OSRA-QNRF Grant.

Research supervision

I have supervised students working on various topics related to my research interests.

  • Women, Gender and Politics in the Middle East (in particular women’s informal, everyday forms of activism and gendered approaches to war, peace, security, violence, conflict resolution and resistance)
  • Palestine Question (in particular Palestinian women, Palestinian refugees, Palestinian cultural production and the Palestinian Bedouin)
  • Oral History and Orality (in particular women’s oral histories, memories and narratives)
  • Refugees and Migration (in particular gendered approaches to migration with a focus on Palestinian and Syrian refugees)
  • Settler Colonialism and Indigeneity (in particular in the context of Palestine)

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