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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Laura Jeffery

Laura Jeffery
Dr Laura Jeffery
Lecturer in Social Anthropology; SSPS Deputy Director of Research
5.20 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (131) 651 3860
Research Interests
Forced displacement, Migration studies, Political anthropology, Legal anthropology, Environmental anthropology, Environmental Sociology, Indian Ocean studies, Anthropology of Britain, Mauritius, Chagos islanders, Digital ethnography, Critical heritage studies, Environment and society, Conservation and development, Human-environment relations, Maldives, Seychelles, Roads and infrastructure

Guidance and feedback

During Semester 1 (2015/16) my open drop-in office hours for students are on Wednesdays from 11am-1pm. Or email for an appointment outwith this time.


I am a social anthropologist specialising in environment, conservation, development, displacement, and migration studies, with ethnographic experience in several Indian Ocean islands and in the UK. I am currently embarking on a new role as Senior Researcher for Maldives on a project on roads and infrastructure development in South Asia, funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant awarded to Professor Edward Simpson at SOAS (2015-2020).

My previous research focused on the Chagos islanders, who were forcibly removed from the Chagos Archipelago by the UK Government in the late 1960s and early 1970s to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. As an ESRC Postgraduate Student (2001-2005) and ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow (2005-2006), my research 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. As a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2006-2008), I worked on reformulations of 'home' and the 'homeland' amongst Chagossians who have migrated to the UK since being granted UK citizenship in 2002. As an ESRC Research Fellow (2009-2015), I explored debates about environmental knowledge in the context of a) the UK Government's policy review on the Chagos Archipelago and feasibility study for the resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago, and b) disputes between the UK and Mauritius about the sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago and the legality of the controversial Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA).



Edited Special Issues

Journal Articles

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

Selected Book Chapters

Research Groups

Edinburgh Marine Network

Global Environment and Society Academy

Migration and Citizenship Research Group

Postgraduate Supervision

PhD Student Projects

  • Dr László Lajtai: multilingualism, social inequality, and mental healthcare in Mauritius
  • Heid Jerstad: changing weather in the North Indian Himalayas
  • Adaoma Wosu: women's intertidal resource use, Ibo island, northern Mozambique
  • Mairi O'Gorman: social remittances and the 'social renaissance' in Seychelles
  • Dustie Spencer: transnational Kashmiri activism in the UK and online
  • Hiu Yan Yu: Chinese migration and citizenship in the UK

Topics interested in supervising

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

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