School of Social and Political Science

Dr Ann-Christin Zuntz

Job Title

British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

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Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


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Research interests

Research interests

Return / transnational migration,Refugee studies, Transnational labour migration, Reproductive Health, Research ethics, Iraq and Middle East, East Africa, North Africa, Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods

Topics interested in supervising

Migrations in the Middle East and North Africa; refugee livelihoods; agricultural labour; food security; faith-based humanitarianism

If you are interested in being supervised by Ann-Christin Zuntz , please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:


My name is Ann-Christin Zuntz. I am an economic anthropologist: my research looks at the nexus of labour and different forms of migrations in global economies, particularly in the Middle East, and in the context of the Syrian conflict. I am also interested in rethinking research ethics for fieldworkers "beyond do no harm".

Between 2022 and 2025, I will be a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow. For my project "BROKERS OF DISPLACEMENT – An ethnography of the infrastructure of Syrian refugees’ circulations throughout the Mediterranean" (2022-25), I will do ethnographic research in Tunisia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Jordan, and the UK.

In 2023/ 2024, I am also the principal investigator of the project “Make them count! Supporting civil society action to improve refugees’ and migrants’ livelihoods in Sousse, Tunisia” (2023-2024), a collaboration with policy experts and humanitarian practitioners from the Mixed Migration Centre in Tunis and Association Tunisienne Awledna in Sousse. This project is funded by the Maghreb Action on Displacement and Rights Network Plus.

Between 2019 and 2022, I was a lecturer in Anthropology of Development at the University of Edinburgh. In 2025, I will start a permanent lectureship in Edinburgh's Social Anthropology department.


Previous research

Before my PhD, I worked with the International Organization for Migration in Geneva. For my doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, I did fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Mafraq, northern Jordan, in 2016/17. In 2019, I conducted postdoctoral research with Syrian and Congolese youth in urban areas in Uganda and Jordan as part of a pilot study on adolescent refugees’ reproductive health.

Since 2019, I have been involved in the University of Edinburgh's interdisciplinary OneHealth FIELD Network, conducting fieldwork together with Syrian colleagues supported by the Council for At-Risk Academics. Learn more about my research about Syrian refugee labour in agriculture, food security and intangible cultural heritage in the Middle East here:


Artistic outputs

I am very interested in creative and non-academic forms of engagement that can reach local policymakers and displaced people themselves.

For the "Refugee Labour under Lockdown" project, we used remote ethnographic research to document how working conditions and relationships with agricultural intermediaries and employers have changed for displaced Syrians in agriculture during the pandemic. One of the outputs of this project is the graphic novel "May God Bless the Hand that Works".

For the FIELD SONGS project, we produced a documentary, entitled "With the Sickle and Songs". Watch it here:


Publications with an * appeared under my former name Ann-Christin Wagner.


NEW: Zuntz, Ann-Christin (2023). "Human Routers: How Syrian Refugee Brokers Build the Infrastructure of Displacement." Cultural Anthropology 38(4): 517-540.

NEW: Zuntz, Ann-Christin, and Marina Kaneti (2023). "In the Skies Over Sofia: Place(s) in Displacement for Syrian Women in Bulgaria." Mashriq & Mahjar 10(1): 44-78. 

Palattiyil, George, Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Nair, Harish, Bukuluki, Paul, and Kalyango Ronald Sebba (2022). ""How to Live a Good Life”. Self-managing Reproductive Health for Adolescent Refugees in Kampala." Conflict and Society: Advances in Research 8 (2022): 38–56.

Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Klema, Mackenzie, Abdullateef, Shaher, Almashhor, Esraa, Alnabolsi, Salim Faisal, Akay, Sinem Sefa, Akbulut, Bürge, Ayaes, Selin, Karabiyik, Ertan, and Lisa Boden (2022). “Syrians’ only option – Rethinking unfree labour through the study of displaced agricultural workers in the Middle East.” Journal of Modern Slavery 7(2): 10-32.

Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Klema, Mackenzie, Abdullateef, Shaher, Mazeri, Stella, Alnabolsim, Salim Faisal, Alfadel, Abdulellah, Abi-habib, Joy, Azar, Maria, Calia, Clara, Burke, Joseph, Grant, Liz, and Lisa Boden. 2022. "Syrian refugee labour and food insecurity in Middle Eastern agriculture during the early COVID-19 pandemic." International Labour Review 161(2): 245-266. 

Zuntz, Ann-Christin. 2021. “Refugees’ transnational livelihoods and remittances: Syrian mobilities in the Middle East before and after 2011.” Journal of Refugee Studies 34(2): 1400–1422. Winner of the 2021 Best Article Prize of the Syrian Studies Association.

Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Palattiyil, George, Amawi, Abla, Al Akash, Ruba, Nashwan, Ayat, Al Majali, Areej, and Harish Nair. 2021. “Early marriage and displacement – a conversation: How Syrian daughters, mothers and mothers-in-law in Jordan understand marital decision-making.” Journal of the British Academy 9: 179-212.

Sidhva, Dina, Zuntz, Ann-Christin, Al Akash, Ruba, Nashwan, Ayat, and Areej Al Majali. 2021. “’In exile, the woman became everything’ – Middle-aged Syrian women’s contributions to family livelihoods during protracted displacement in Jordan.Journal of Humanitarian Affairs 3(1): 41-15.

Wagner, A.*, Abdullateef, S. & L. Boden (2020). " COVID-19 may not have reached Syrian communities in the Middle East, but its domino effects have." Routed #10 " Epidemics, labour and mobility".

Wagner, A.* (2020). "Candid discussions about fieldwork - The New Ethnographer pre-field training workshop." Anthropology Today 36(3): 29.

Wagner, A. *(2018). "Giving Aid Inside the Home – Humanitarian House Visits, Performative Refugeehood and Social Control for Syrians in Jordan." Migration and Society 1: 36-50.

Wagner, A.* (2018). "Remapping the Holy Land from the margins: how a Jordanian Evangelical church juggles the ‘local’ and the ‘global’ in the Syrian refugee response." Contemporary Levant 3(2): 95-109. Winner of the CBRL 2018 Best Prize Article.

Wagner, A.* (2017). "Frantic Waiting. NGO Anti-Politics and “Timepass” for Young Syrian Refugees in Jordan.Middle East – Topics and Arguments (META) 9: 107-121.

Book chapters:

NEW: Musmar, Aya, and Ann-Christin Zuntz (2023). “Hospitality and violence. Writing for irresolution.” In: N. Weiss, E. Grassiani, and L. Green (eds.), The Entanglements of Ethnographic Fieldwork in a Violent WorldLondon: Routledge, 150-166.

Wagner, A.* (2019). "Acts of ‘homing’ in the Eastern Desert – How Syrian refugees make temporary homes in a village outside Zaatari Camp, Jordan." In: J. Lenhard & F. Samanani (eds.), Home - Ethnographic Encounters. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 175-188.

Gertel, J. & Wagner, A.* (2018). “Mobility, migration and flight.” In: J. Gertel & R. Hexel (eds.), Coping with Uncertainty: Youth in the Middle East and North Africa. London: Saqi Books, 198-222.

Blog posts:

Zuntz, A. (2022). "Shayma’s story – Early marriage among Syrian refugee women from rural backgrounds." 16 Days Blogathon, 1 Dec.

Zuntz, A., Zuntz, J., Ben Hadj Hassen, A. & M. Bouneb (2022). "Syrian refugees’ journeys in and out of Tunisia: Non-linear displacement trajectories through family networks." Heinrich Boell Foundation Tunisia, 15 Nov. 

Zuntz, A. & M. Klema (2021). “The pandemic through the eyes of Syrian agricultural workers in Lebanon.” COVID-19 Perspectives, 12 April.

Boden, L., Wagner, A.*, Abdullateef, S. & A. Al Kaddour (2020). “Community-led responses to COVID-19 are a matter of urgency in Syria.” COVID-19 Perspectives, 21 May.

Wagner, A.*, Al Kaddour, A., Abdullateef, S. & L. Boden (2020). "Covid-19 and displaced Syrians' livelihoods along the Turkey-Syria border." Corona Times, 11 May.

Dieng, R. & A. Wagner* (2020). "Teaching Development - How can we translate ethically sound practice in development-focused research into good teaching?" The Futureproof Collective, 23 January.

Wagner, A.* (2019). ““There are no missionaries here!” – How a local church took the lead in the refugee response in northern Jordan.” Southern Responses to Displacement, 14 Jan.

Wagner, A.* (2018). "In praise of the scaffolding." Allegra Lab, 12 July.

Wagner, A.* (2016). "Tiptoeing Across The Doorstep – Becoming The Daughter Of A Bedouin Family In The Jordanian Province." Abwab, CBRL British Institute in Amman, 7 Nov.

Wagner, A.* (2016). "Bad guests? On the role of house visits in aid delivery in urban Jordan." LSE Middle East Centre Blog, 13 June.

Policy reports:

Zuntz, A., Ben Hadj Hassen, A., Bouneb, M. & J. Zuntz (2022). Destination North Africa – Syrians’ displacement trajectories to Tunisia. Mixed Migration Centre, Tunis.

Zuntz, A., Klema, M., Boden, L., Akay, S., Akbulut, B., Karabiyik, E., Abdullateef, S., Almashhor, E. & S. Alnabolsi. (2021). Precarious Labour under Lockdown. Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Displaced Syrian Agricultural Workers in the Middle East. Situation Analysis Report. Ankara: One Health FIELD Network, Development Workshop and Syrian Academic Expertise. Available in English, Arabic, and Turkish.

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