- Dr Laura Jeffery
- Lecturer; ESRC Research Fellow
- Social AnthropologySchool of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of Edinburgh
- 3.20 (third floor, right-hand flat) 18 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK EH8 9LN
- +44 (131) 651 3860
- Research Interests
- Forced displacement, Migration studies, Refugee studies, Human rights, Indigenous Peoples, Political anthropology, Legal anthropology, Environmental anthropology, Environmental Sociology, African studies, Indian Ocean studies, Anthropology of Britain, Mauritius, Chagos islanders, Digital ethnography, Critical heritage studies, Conservation and development
On research leave until May 2015
- Anthropology and sociology of environmental knowledge
- Politics of conservation and development
- Forced displacement, migration studies, refugee studies
- Political and legal anthropology
- Human rights and indigenous rights
- Critical heritage studies
- Digital ethnography
- Chagos islanders
- Mauritius and Seychelles
- Indian Ocean and African studies
- Anthropology of Britain
My research focuses on the Chagos islanders, who were forcibly removed from the Chagos Archipelago by the UK Government between 1965 and 1973 in order to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. My doctoral fieldwork in Mauritius and Seychelles focused on Chagossian narratives of exclusion and belonging, the politics of victimhood, changing representations of the homeland, collective identification and community mobilisation, and political and legal struggles for compensation and the right to return. My postdoctoral fieldwork in Crawley (West Sussex) focused on reformulations of 'home' and the 'homeland' in relation to strategies of migration, integration and non-integration amongst Chagossians who have moved to the UK since being granted UK citizenship in 2002.
I currently hold an ESRC Research Fellowship to explore debates between conflicting stakeholders - indigenous peoples, conservation groups, and governing bodies - about climate change, environmental conservation, sustainable development, eco-tourism, military security, and the feasibility of human (re)settlement. This research takes place in the context of disputes between the UK and Mauritius about the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago and the legality of the controversial Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA) unilaterally declared by the UK Government in 2010, which is being challenged by the Mauritian Government under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- Jeffery, L. 2011. Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK: Forced Displacement and Onward Migration. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
- Jeffery, L. & J. Murison (eds.) 2011. Special Issue: Return and Onward Migration. Population, Space and Place 17, 2: 131-192.
- Jeffery, L. & M. Candea (eds.) with Z.O. Biner & M.S. de Magalhaes. 2006. Special Issue: The Politics of Victimhood. History and Anthropology 17, 4: 287-395.
- Jeffery, L. 2014. Ecological restoration in a cultural landscape: conservationist and Chagossian approaches to controlling the 'coconut chaos' on the Chagos Archipelago. Human Ecology
- Jeffery, L. 2014. Neither confirm nor deny: WikiLeaks evidence and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations in the judicial review of the Chagos Marine Protected Area. Anthropology Today 30, 3: 9-13. [See also Global Justice Academy Blog on WikiLeaks Evidence in Court.]
- Jeffery, L. 2013. 'We are the true guardians of the environment': human-environment relations and debates about the future of the Chagos Archipelago. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19, 2: 300-318. [See also Response and Reply in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 19, 4: 876-881.]
- Jeffery, L. 2011. 'Unusual immigrants', or, Chagos islanders and their confrontations with British citizenship. Anthropology in Action 18, 2: 33-44.
- Jeffery, L. & S. Johannessen. 2011. Reflections on the life and art of the Chagossian painter Clement Siatous. Wasafiri 26, 2: 72-77.
- Jeffery, L. & J. Murison. 2011. Guest Editorial: The temporal, social, spatial and legal dimensions of return and onward migration. Population, Space and Place 17, 2: 131-139.
- Jeffery, L. 2010. Forced displacement, onward migration, and reformulations of 'home' by Chagossians in Crawley, West Sussex. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36, 7: 1099-1117.
- Jeffery, L. 2010. Creole festivals and Afro-Creole cosmopolitanisms in Mauritius. Social Anthropology 18, 4: 425-432.
- Jeffery, L. 2009. Chagossians refused right to return home. Anthropology Today 25, 1: 24-26.
- Jeffery, L. 2007. How a plantation became paradise: changing representations of the homeland among displaced Chagos islanders. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 13, 4: 951-968.
- Jeffery, L. 2006. Historical narrative and legal evidence: judging Chagossians' High Court testimonies. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 29, 2: 228-253. [Selected for Open Access rerelease with a new Postscript in 2014.]
- Jeffery, L. & M. Candea. 2006. Introduction: The politics of victimhood. History and Anthropology 17, 4: 287-296.
- Jeffery, L. 2006. Victims and patrons: strategic alliances and the anti-politics of victimhood among displaced Chagossians and their supporters. History and Anthropology 17, 4: 297-312.
- Jeffery, L. & N. Konopinski. 2013. Planning your research project. In N. Konopinski (ed.) Doing Anthropological Research: A Practical Guide. London: Routledge, pp.21-36.
- Jeffery, L. & D. Vine. 2011. Sorrow, sadness, and impoverishment: the lives of Chagossians in Mauritius. In S. Evers & M. Kooy (eds.) Eviction from the Chagos Islands: Displacement and Struggle for Identity against two World Powers. Leiden: Brill, pp.83-102.
- Jeffery, L. 2011. 'A lost people'? Chagossian onward migration and echoes of marginalisation in Crawley. In S. Evers & M. Kooy (eds.) Eviction from the Chagos Islands: Displacement and Struggle for Identity against two World Powers. Leiden: Brill, pp.219-238.
- Vine, D. & L. Jeffery. 2009. 'Give us back Diego Garcia': unity and division among activists in the Indian Ocean. In C. Lutz (ed.) The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle against US Military Posts. London: Pluto Press, pp.181-217.
- Jeffery, L. 2007. 'Our right is our land': The Chagos Archipelago and discourses on rights to land in the Indian Ocean. In S. Bunwaree & R. Kasenally (eds.) Rights and Development in Mauritius. Reduit: OSSREA Mauritius Chapter / University of Mauritius, pp.31-58.
- Jeffery, L. 2013. Debates about the feasibility of human resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago. Recommendations submitted to FCO during consultation process.
- Jeffery, L. 2011. Chagos: Sustainable Archipelago. Report of ESRC Knowledge Exchange Workshop.
Topics interested in supervising
I welcome enquiries about supervision on a range of topics including displacement and migration and the anthropology of environmental knowledge. Recent and current postgraduate student research topics under my supervision include: social remittances and social renaissance in Seychelles; changing weather in the North Indian Himalayas; multilingualism and mental healthcare in Mauritius; climate change vulnerability and adaptation capacity in Mauritius; and gifts and islandness among Seychellois migrants in London.
If you are interested in being supervised by Laura Jeffery, please see the links below for more information: