Staff Profiles

Laura Jeffery

Laura Jeffery
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

Research Interests

  • 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).



Edited Collections

Journal Articles

Book Chapters


  • 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:

PhD In African Studies; PhD in Social Anthropology; PhD in South Asian Studies; MSc (R) Social Anthropology