Laura Jeffery

Laura Jeffery
Dr Laura Jeffery
Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology
Social AnthropologySchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
5.20 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (131) 651 3860
Research Interests
Forced displacement, Migration studies, Environmental anthropology, Indian Ocean studies, Anthropology of Britain, Mauritius, Chagos islanders, Critical heritage studies, Environment and society, Conservation and development, Human-environment relations, Maldives, Seychelles, Ethnomusicology, Migration and development, intangible cultural heritage, roads and connective infrastructure

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • By appointment


I am a social anthropologist specialising in forced displacement, migration studies, intangible cultural heritage, human/environment relations, and conservation and development. My projects include:

  1. Two recent Chagos projects with Dr Rebecca Rotter: an AHRC Impact and Engagement project, "CHAGOS: Cultural Heritage Across Generations" (2017-18) in collaboration with Chagossian groups, Professor Vinesh Hookoomsing, Saradha Soobrayen, and Crawley Museum; and an associated ESRC Impact Accelerator Award (2018-19). Visit to browse our virtual exhibits, download Chagossian recipe cards, and listen to the new Chagos Tambour Group album. Our work on Chagossian cultural heritage builds upon my longstanding engagement with the Chagossian community: my ESRC postgraduate research (2001-06) on the politics of victimhood among forcibly displaced Chagos islanders in Mauritius and Seychelles; my Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2006-08) on Chagossian onward migration to the UK; and my ESRC Research Fellowship (2009-15) exploring debates about environmental knowledge in the context of the controversial Chagos Marine Protected Area and the UK government’s policy review on resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago.
  2. Two Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) projects with Dr Mariangela Palladino and Dr Sébastien Bachelet: the ESRC-AHRC GCRF Forced Displacement project "Arts for Advocacy: Creative Engagement with Forced Displacement in Morocco" (2016-18) in collaboration with GADEM in Rabat; and the follow on AHRC Impact and Engagement project "MARAM: Mobilising Access to Rights for Artists in Morocco" (2019-20) in collaboration with Racines in Casablanca. Visit our project website to view our virtual exhibitions and to download our creative arts, migration, and advocacy toolkit.
  3. A work package on the development of connective infrastructure – roads, bridges, inter-island link roads, causeways, and harbours – in Maldives, working with Dr Luke Heslop as part of Professor Edward Simpson’s ERC Consolidator Grant, "Roads and the politics of thought: Ethnographic approaches to infrastructure development in South Asia" (2015-20). For more information, see the Roads project website.



Edited Collections

  • 2019 forthcoming (with M. Palladino, R. Rotter, & A. Woolley). Creative engagement with migration. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture 10, 1.
  • 2011 (with J. Murison). Return and onward migration. Population, Space and Place 17, 2.
  • 2006 (with M. Candea, Z.O. Biner, & M.S. de Magalhães). The politics of victimhood. History and Anthropology 17, 4.

Journal Articles

Please email me for a PDF if you do not have library access to these journals.

Selected Book Chapters

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome enquiries about supervision relating to my research interests in: anthropology of displacement and migration studies; critical heritage studies; intangible cultural heritage; ethnomusicology; environment and society; human-environment relations; conservation and development; roads and connective infrastructure; political and legal anthropology; islands of the Western Indian Ocean, especially Mauritius, Chagos, Rodrigues, Agalega, Seychelles, Maldives, and Réunion; anthropology of Britain

If you are interested in being supervised by Laura Jeffery, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Social Anthropology