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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Dr Amelia Kuch

Dr Amelia Kuch
Dr Amelia Kuch
International Development School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Refugee studies, Migration, durable solutions, Citizenship, Mobility, Borderlands, Land Tenure Systems, Land governance, Urban development, International development, ethnography, Qualitative Research Methods, Tanzania, Burundi, Colombia

PhD Title

Citizenship and Displacement: Naturalisation of Burundian refugees in Tanzania (2010-2017)

Research Project Description

Between 2010-2017, 150,000 of Burundian refugees, whose families fled to Tanzania in the 1970s, received citizenship in Tanzania. This thesis explores how the experience of naturalisation shaped Burundian refugees’ views of citizenship, and considers how this can help develop understanding of citizenship more broadly, especially in a displacement context. My research traces the implementation and aftermath of naturalisation in Ulyankulu settlement and the city of Dar es Salaam between 2014 and 2017, focusing on and foregrounding former refugees’ experiences and narratives of citizenship and displacement.  

The thesis builds on the existing literature on citizenship, displacement and their nexus (Arendt 1973; Malkki 1995; Kibreab 1999; Warner 1999; Kelly 2006; Long, 2013a; Bakewell 2011; Brun 2015; Grabska 2015; Hammar 2014, 2018), contributing new empirical and conceptual insights on the complexity of evolving citizenship for those who are long-term displacees. Drawing on former refugees’ experiences and narratives, the thesis puts forward a new concept of ‘probational citizenship’ which aims to capture the temporality, uncertainty, and ongoing struggles for recognition in displacement. Former refugees living with ‘probational citizenship’ experience a paradoxical interplay of both safety and uncertainty about their status, which dominates their lives and shapes their actions post-naturalisation.

I published the findings and conclusions from my PhD research in the Journal of Refugee Studies, Critical African Studies, Forced Migration Review, and various non-academic outlets.


2015-2019: Ph.D., International Development and Anthropology, University of Edinburgh & Aarhus University (joint degree) 

2014-2015: MSc, International Development, University of Edinburgh [distinction]

2013-2014: MSc, African Studies, Oxford University [distinction]

2009-2012: BA Hons, Liberal Arts, University College Utrecht


Amelia Kuch (2018) Land and exile: revisiting the case of Burundian refugees in Tanzania, Critical African Studies,10:1, 108-125 

Amelia Kuch. 2018. Lessons from Tanzania’s Historic Bid to Turn Refugees to Citizens, News Deeply.

(Co-author) Katy Long, Elisa Mosler Vidal, Amelia Kuch and Jessica Hagen-Zanker. 2017. Citizenship, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Briefing paper. Overseas Development Institute.

Amelia Kuch. 2017. Naturalization of Burundian Refugees in Tanzania: The Debates on Local Integration and the Meaning of Citizenship Revisited. Journal of Refugee Studies, 30(3), 468-487.

Amelia Kuch. 2016. Naturalization of Burundian refugees in TanzaniaForced Migration Review, (52), 63-64.

(Co-author) James Milner and Amelia Kuch. 2016. Naturalization in Tanzania: Lessons from the ebb and flow of the process. RefLAW. The University of Michigan Law School


2018, American Anthropological Association (AAA) San Jose, California, Paper title: 'From Refugees to Probational Citizens: becoming 'stated' in Tanzania'


2017-2018: Tutor for Research Design and Practice (PG course), Edinburgh University

2018: Designing and delivering teaching on Migration and Displacement for a UG Social Anthropology course, Aarhus University 

Related Work in International Development and Social Policy:

2018- present: Social Researcher, Scottish Government, Edinburgh 

2017- present: Research and Partnership, Wayair Foundation, International

2017: Consultant, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London

2017: Consultant, International Growth Centre (IGC), Dar es Salaam 

2016-2017: Consultant, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Dar es Salaam

2012: Grants& Collaborations, Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam

Academic Awards:

2018 - President Fund Award - Edinburgh Association of University Women 

2015-2018: Awarded Excellence in European Doctoral Training (ExEDE): a joint PhD scholarship award between the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) and Aarhus University (Denmark)

2014: Terence Ranger Prize for the Best Dissertation, Oxford University

Other Awards:

2018: Won an award of 85,000£ from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs under the Polish Humanitarian Fund 2018 for Wayair Foundation's work in Tanzania 

Dr Katy Long, Stanford University

Dr Andrew Bowman & Dr Hazel Gray, University of Edinburgh

Dr Lotte Meinart, Aarhus University

Non-Academic Achievements
Certified yoga and meditation teacher.