Striking from the Margins, Phase II Core Team

Nadia Al-Bagdadi

Professor at the Department of History at CEU & SFM Co-Director

Prof Al-Bagdadi is a historian of modern Islamic history, thought, literature and culture. She studied at the Freie Universität in Berlin, in Cairo and Tunis. She examines in-depth the various actors, structures and relationships of Late Ottoman Modernity and Muslim Reformism in the Arab East.  She connects Arab and Ottoman history with European history. One of her current research projects relocates the entangled connections of European and Arab borders of faith and the role of religion, scholarship and modernity between Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean. Prof Al-Bagdadi deals sistematically with the question of gender, religion and modernity in nineteenth-century Middle East.

Aziz Al-Azmeh

University Professor Emeritus & SFM Founding Director

Prof Al-Azmeh received a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from the University of Oxford having previously attended university in Beirut and Tübingen. He has been a long-term fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin, and fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study and the Collegium Budapest as well as of the Humboldt Foundation. He was resident scholar at the Rockefeller Foundation Center for Scholars in Bellagio. He is presently CEU University Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the Central European University, which he joined in 2002. He has been Visiting Professor at Yale University, Columbia University, the University of California, Berkeley, Georgetown University, and more recently at the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations of the Aga Khan University (London) and SciencesPo Paris. His most recent books in English are The Emergence of Islam in Late Antiquity (Cambridge University Press) and Secularism in the Arab World: Contexts, Ideas and Consequences (Edinburgh University Press).


Former Post-Doctoral and Research Fellows 

Harout Akdedian 

SFM Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow

Harout Akdedian holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of New England. His research interests lie at the intersection of political science and political anthropology with a particular focus on institutional and socio-cultural formulations of state atrophy and state-society relations in Syria. He was a research fellow at the Human Rights Center in Costa Rica and worked as research consultant at the United Nations - Economic and Social Commission of Western Asia (ESCWA), Carnegie Middle East Centre, and other organizations. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Political Science and International Law and he has taught and written on Middle East Politics, Islamic Studies, Peace and Conflict studies and International Law. He is currently Carnegie SFM senior post-doctoral fellow at the Central European University and a visiting scholar at Portland State University’s Middle East Studies Centre.

Valentina Zagaria 

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Valentina Zagaria has recently submitted her PhD in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her thesis, entitled "Burning borders: migration, death and dignity in a Tunisian coastal town", was based on two years ethnographic research, and examines how responsibility and belonging are shaped and curtailed by different migratory projects and gendered expectations in south-eastern Tunisia. As part of the SFTM team, Valentina will begin a new research project on the intimately political aspects of Libyan women’s lives while in long-term or intermittent exile in Tunisia.

Haian Dukhan 

Post-Doctoral Fellow

Haian Dukhan holds a PhD in International Relations from the University in St Andrews. His research interests revolve around issues of identity and political violence with a specific focus on tribal communities in relation to the Syrian state.  He is the author of "State and Tribes in Syria: Informal Alliances and Conflict Patterns" (Routledge, 2019). 

Abdullah Al-Jabassini

Associate Fellow

Abdullah Al-Jabassini holds a PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent in Canterbury. Based on years of fieldwork and access to private archives of unpublished documents and footage issued by civilian and rebel actors, his doctoral dissertation combines insights from conflict studies, anthropology and sociology to explain the dynamics of insurgency formation and the creation of wartime social order in the predominantly clan-based region of Daraa governorate, southern Syria (from 2011 to 2018). He is presently a Research Fellow for the ‘Wartime and Post-Conflict in Syria’ project at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute in Florence, and a Non-Resident Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. His current research relies heavily on primary data and focuses on reconciliation and relapse into violence, rebel-military integration, local governance and institutions, and the Russian and Iranian roles in southern Syria. 

O. Bahadir Dinçer

Associate Fellow

O. Bahadir Dinçer holds a Ph.D. in political science from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He is currently a Senior Researcher at Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) in Germany. Before joining the BICC team, he was a Research Excellence Fellow at Central European University (CEU), where he worked as an associated post-doctoral research fellow in the first phase of the project SFM in 2018. Engaged in research at the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), an Ankara-based think-tank, between 2005 and 2016, Dr. Dincer acted as the director of USAK’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies after 2012. Dinçer’s research focuses on Middle Eastern politics with particular reference to the state, social and political movements, democratization, and Turkish foreign policy. At BICC, he is currently researching two of the de facto regimes in the Middle East, namely Islamic State (2014-2017) in Syria and Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq. This research seeks to investigate informal governance and de facto regimes' mode of operation and identify factors conducive to their survival or consolidation.