Photo of Professor Michael Dumper

Professor Michael Dumper



Professor in Middle East Politics

Formerly Middle East coordinator for Quaker Peace and Service, consultant to Welfare Association (Geneva), and Senior Researcher with the Institute for Palestine Studies (Washington, DC).

Since completing his PhD in 1993, under Nazih Ayubi, Professor Dumper has taught in the Politcs Department at Exeter University. As well as his academic research, he has participated in a number of academic and policy study groups involving Palestinian and Israeli academics and officials, ranging in subjects from Permanent Status Issues in the Middle East Peace Process, to planning issues for Jerusalem and to the future of Islamic waqfs in Palestine. These were funded, amongst others, by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (USA), International Development Research Centre (Canada), Olaf Palme International Centre(Sweden) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK). He has also conducted consultancies with the European Commission, International Development and Research Centre (Canada)and the Adam Smith Institute International Division on aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In 2002, Professor Dumper was awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellowship to work on issues concerning the future of Palestinian refugees. In 2003 and 2005, he received two awards in conjunction with Dr Wendy Pullan of Cambridge University, from the Economic Social Research Council, to work on a project entitled: Conflict in Cities: Architecture and the Urban Order in Divided Jerusalem. In 2007, he and Dr Pullan, together with Professors James Anderson and Liam O'Dowd of Queen's University , Belfast, were awarded a 5-year ESRC grant to work on a comparative project entitled Conflict in Cities and the Contested State: Everyday Life and the Possibilities of Transformation in Belfast, Jerusalem and Other Divided cities.

At the same time Professor Dumper has collaborated with the International Research and Development Centre, Ottawa on issues concerning Palestinian refugees and rights-based approaches to the Middle East conflict leading to two IDRC funded workshops at Exeter. One entitled Transferring Best Practice: The comparative study of refugee return programme with reference to the Palestinian case. The other : International Law and Middle East peace: A Rights-based approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (See publications) He also contributed to a project with the University of Windsor, Ontario, entitled the Jerusalem Old City Initiative. In 2011 he collaborated with the Toledo International Center for Peace to produce recommendations for developing the role of the Council for Religous Institutions in the Holy Land. Currently he also convenes a experts forum in conjuction with the Office of the Commissioner-General of UNRWA.

 Latest Book:


Jerusalem Unbound: Geography, History, and the Future of the Holy City

Michael Dumper

Columbia University Press

June, 2014
Cloth, 336 pages, B&W Photos: 12, , Maps: 15, , Graphs: 10,
ISBN: 978-0-231-16196-1
$35.00 / £24.00

Jerusalem’s formal political borders reveal neither the dynamics of power in the city nor the underlying factors that make an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians so difficult. The lines delineating Israeli authority are frequently different from those delineating segregated housing or areas of uneven service provision or parallel national electoral districts of competing educational jurisdictions. In particular, the city’s large number of holy sites and restricted religious compounds create enclaves that continually threaten to undermine the Israeli state’s authority and control over the city. This lack of congruity between political control and the actual spatial organization and everyday use of the city leaves many areas of occupied East Jerusalem in a kind of twilight zone where citizenship, property rights, and the enforcement of the rule of law are ambiguously applied.

Michael Dumper plots a history of Jerusalem that examines this intersecting and multileveled matrix and in so doing is able to portray the constraints on Israeli control over the city and the resilience of Palestinian enclaves after forty-five years of Israeli occupation. Adding to this complex mix is the role of numerous external influences—religious, political, financial, and cultural—so that the city is also a crucible for broader contestation. While the Palestinians may not return to their previous preeminence in the city, neither will Israel be able to assert a total and irreversible dominance. His conclusion is that the city will not only have to be shared, but that the sharing will be based upon these many borders and the interplay between history, geography, and religion.