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, 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

On research leave until May 2015


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

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

Book Chapters

Research Interests

  • environment and society
  • politics of conservation and development
  • human-environment relations
  • displacement and migration studies
  • political and legal anthropology
  • critical heritage studies
  • digital ethnography
  • islands of the Western Indian Ocean
  • Mauritius, Rodrigues, Agalega, Chagos, Seychelles, Maldives
  • anthropology of Britain

Postgraduate supervision

PhD student projects

  • Dr László Lajtai: multilingualism, social inequalities, and mental health care in Mauritius
  • Heid Jerstad: changing weather in the North Indian Himalayas
  • Mairi O'Gorman: social remittances and the 'social renaissance' in Seychelles

Topics interested in supervising

I welcome enquiries about supervision relating to my research interests, particularly the anthropology of displacement, migration studies, conservation and development, and human-environment relations.

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