I am an academic who takes a comparative-historical and sociological approach to understanding politics in the Middle East. I mainly focus on Syria, where I lived for five years between the late 1990s and 2012, and the countries of the Arab East in general. (I lived in Jordan for 18 months, spent long periods in Lebanon, and have travelled widely in the region). My next research project will expand my area of interest to Turkey and Kurdistan.
My career experience includes universities, thinktanks, and research centers in the Middle East, Europe, and North America. I have previously held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Andrew L. Mellon Foundation, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, and Brandeis University. I have taught classes on comparative politics, the politics of Syria, and social science approaches to studying the Arab world at Georgetown University, School of Oriental & African Studies, London School of Economics, and the University of Exeter.
I am currently working on a second book project, The Nation Belongs to All: the Making of Modern Syria, to be published in the U.K. by Allen Lane.
I have worked as a consultant providing politics & security analysis for Jane’s Information Group, BBC Monitoring, and Menas Associates, and have provided numerous expert reports for refugee resettlement cases. I have had extensive broadcast experience on television and radio with the BBC World Service, BBC News 24, CNN International, and Sky News. I regularly give talks to universities, diplomats, policymakers, and the general public.
I have a PhD in Politics and a MA in Middle East Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a BA in Arabic and French from St John’s College, Oxford University.