School of Social and Political Science

Laura Jeffery

Job Title

Professor of Anthropology of Migration; Dean of Research

Laura Jeffery profile picture

Building (Address)

5.20 Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

15a George Square

City (Address)

Edinburgh UK

Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

I am a social anthropologist specialising in:

  1. Healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement.
  2. Participatory arts methods and creative engagement with migration and displacement.
  3. Intangible cultural heritage and human–environment relations in protracted displacement contexts.
  4. Indian Ocean islands (particularly Chagos, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Maldives).


I am Dean of Research in the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS) and Professor of Anthropology of Migration in the School of Social and Political Science (SSPS), where:

  1. I led an ESRC project on Improving healthcare at the intersection of gender and protracted displacement amongst Somali and Congolese IDPs and refugees in Somalia, Eastern DRC, Kenya, and South Africa. Our website is at
  2. My ongoing work on participatory arts methods and creative engagement with migration and displacement includes co-direction of an AHRC Network Plus MADAR: Maghreb action on displacement and rights. Our website is at MADAR builds upon an AHRC project MARAM: mobilising access to rights for artists in Morocco, which generated a virtual exhibition and downloadable guide for artists in Morocco. MARAM built upon an ESRC/AHRC project on Arts for Advocacy: creative engagement with forced displacement in Morocco, which generated a series of exhibitions and a downloadable creative arts, migration, and advocacy toolkit.
  3. My long-term ethnographic engagement with the displaced Chagossian community culminated in the inscription of Chagossian sega tambour music on the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. The nomination file drew on my AHRC project CHAGOS: cultural heritage across generations. Visit to browse virtual exhibits, download recipes, and listen to the Chagos Tambour Group album. This work built upon: my ESRC project on debates about sustainable resettlement and environmental conservation in the context of the Chagos Marine Protected Area (MPA) and the UK government's policy review on resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago, my Leverhulme project on Chagossian onward migration to the UK, and my ESRC project on the politics of victimhood amongst forcibly displaced Chagos islanders in Mauritius. My inaugural professorial lecture focused on the challenges of reclaiming Chagos after displacement.
  4. I have a longstanding ethnographic interest in Indian Ocean islands, particularly Chagos, Mauritius, and Seychelles. I also led a work package on labour migration and connective infrastructure in Maldives as part of an ERC Consolidator Grant on roads and the politics of thought: ethnographic approaches to infrastructure development in South Asia.

Research supervision

I welcome PhD in Social Anthropology supervision enquiries relating to my current research interests.

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

If you would like to book an appointment with me, please email the College Research Office Administrator, Yvonne Chau, on

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Ghafoerkhan R, Lowe L, Nieuwe Weme D, Griede E, Jeffery L. Concerning ‘neglect’: Perspectives on the prioritisation of mental health conditions in protracted displacement contexts. Medicine Anthropology Theory. 2024 Apr 29;11(2):1-26. doi: 10.17157/mat.11.2.7725
Jeffery L. Written evidence submitted to Foreign Affairs Committee’s Sub-Committee on the Overseas Territories inquiry on the UK Government’s engagement regarding the British Indian Ocean Territory. 2024. 4 p.
Palladino M, Jeffery L, Benslimane D, Arfaoui O. Compromise and complicity: Partnership and interdependence in a global challenges research collaboration. Global Social Challenges Journal. 2023 Dec;2(2):127-145. Epub 2023 Sept 7. doi: 10.1332/27523349Y2023D000000001
Ghafoerkhan R, Griede E, Jeffery L, Lowe L, Nieuwe Weme D. “It’s not just the war that displaces these people”: Care and containment for displaced survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. 2022.
Jeffery L. Chagos Islands: Chagossians in exile are fighting to keep their culture alive. The Conversation. 2022 Mar 17.
Jeffery L. Transmitting, safeguarding, and promoting ICH in protracted displacement contexts. 2022.
Heslop L, Jeffery L. Encountering Chinese development in the Maldives: Gifts, hospitality, and rumours. In Heslop L, Murton G, editors, Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. 2021. p. 175-196. (New Mobilities in Asia). doi: 10.1017/9789048552511.008
Rotter R, Jeffery L, Heslop L. Navigating interdisciplinarity: Negotiating discipline, embodiment, and materiality on a field methods training course. Teaching Anthropology. 2021 Jan 8;10(3):1-13. doi: 10.22582/ta.v10i3.578
Jeffery L, Rotter R. CHAGOS: Cultural Heritage Across Generations. 2021.
Heslop L, Jeffery L. Roadwork: Expertise at work building roads in the Maldives. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2020 Jun 30;26(2):284-301. Epub 2020 Mar 23. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.13236
Jeffery L (Other), Palladino M (Other), Bachelet S (Other). Step Free 2020.
Jeffery L, Rotter R. Safeguarding sega: Transmission, inscription, and appropriation of Chagossian intangible cultural heritage. International Journal of Heritage Studies. 2019 Oct 31;25(10):1020-1033. Epub 2018 Dec 16. doi: 10.1080/13527258.2018.1555671
Jeffery L. Sustainable Mauritius? Environmental change, energy efficiency, and sustainable development in a small island state in the Indian Ocean. In Halterman I, Tischler J, editors, Environmental Change and African Societies. Brill. 2019. p. 177-198. (Climate and Culture). Epub 2019 Oct 7. doi: 10.1163/9789004410848_009
Jeffery L. The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on the Chagos Archipelago. Anthropology Today (AT). 2019 Jun;35(3):24-27. Epub 2019 Jun 2. doi: 10.1111/1467-8322.12508
Jeffery L, (ed.), Palladino M, (ed.), Rotter R, (ed.), Woolley A, (ed.). Creative Engagement with Migration. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture. 2019 Apr 1;10(1).
Jeffery L, Palladino M, Rotter R, Woolley A. Creative engagement with migration. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture. 2019 Apr 1;10(1):3-17. doi: 10.1386/cjmc.10.1.3_1
Bachelet S, Jeffery L. Creative engagement with migration in Morocco: An ethnographic exploration of photographic encounters. Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture. 2019 Apr 1;10(1):25-42. doi: 10.1386/cjmc.10.1.25_1
Rotter R (Author), Jeffery L (Author). Transmitting, safeguarding and promoting Chagossian cultural heritage in the context of protracted displacement Online: 2019.
Jeffery L (Other), Palladino M (Other), Bachelet S (Other). Arts for Advocacy: Creative Engagement with Forced Displacement 2019.
Jeffery L, Rotter R. Protecting the loss of cultural heritage to help address exploitation and injustice. 2019.
Jeffery L. Development and forced displacement. In Callan H, editor, International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 2018 doi: 10.1002/9781118924396.wbiea1698
Jeffery L (Other), Rotter R (Other). Group Tanbour Chagos - Leritaz Kiltir Chagossien 2018.
Jeffery L. ‘For Mauritians, joy; for Chagossians, sadness’: Mauritian independence, the sacrifice of the Chagos Archipelago, and the suffering of the Chagos islanders. In Ramtohul R, Eriksen TH, editors, The Mauritian Paradox: Fifty years of development, diversity and democracy. Reduit: University of Mauritius Press. 2018. p. 245-259
Jeffery L (Other), Rotter R (Other). CHAGOS: Cultural Heritage Across Generations 2018.
Jeffery L. “We don’t want to be sent back and forth all the time”: ethnographic encounters with displacement, migration, and Britain beyond the British Isles. Sociological Review Monographs. 2017 Mar 27;65(1):71-87. doi: 10.1177/0081176917693526
Rotter R, Jeffery L. ‘We no longer have faith and trust in anyone’: Misadventures in community consultation on the future of the Chagos Archipelago . International Development Planning Review (IDPR). 2016 Oct 1;38(4):383-403. doi: 10.3828/idpr.2016.22
Jeffery L, Rotter R. Sustenance, nourishment, and cultivation: Plants as living cultural heritage for dispersed Chagossians in Mauritius, Seychelles, and the UK. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2016 Jun 30;22(2):296-313. Epub 2016 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12402
Jeffery LR. Erratum: Ecological restoration in a cultural landscape: Conservationist and Chagossian approaches to controlling the 'coconut chaos' on the Chagos Archipelago (Human Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s10745-014-9696-y). Human Ecology. 2015 Mar 7;43(1):185–185. doi: 10.1007/s10745-014-9716-y
Jeffery L. [Review of] Fabinyi, Michael. Fishing for fairness: Poverty, morality and marine resource regulation in the Philippines. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2015 Mar;21(1):218-219. Epub 2015 Jan 29. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12157_8
Jeffery L. Controversies surrounding mega Marine Protected Area. 2014.
Jeffery LR. Ecological restoration in a cultural landscape: conservationist and Chagossian approaches to controlling the 'coconut chaos' on the Chagos Archipelago. Human Ecology. 2014 Aug 23. doi: 10.1007/s10745-014-9696-y
Jeffery L. WikiLeaks Evidence in Court. 2014.
Jeffery L. 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 (AT). 2014 Jun;30(3):9-13. Epub 2014 Jan 2. doi: 10.1111/1467-8322.12109
Jeffery L. Reply to Simon Hughes. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute . 2013 Dec 1;19(4):879-881. Epub 2013 Nov 4. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12070
Jeffery L, Konopinski N. Planning your research project. In Konopinski N, editor, Doing Anthropological Research: A Practical Guide. London: Routledge. 2013. p. 21-35
Jeffery L. ‘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. 2013 Jun;19(2):300-318. Epub 2013 May 1. doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12034
Jeffery L. Debates about the feasibility of human resettlement of the Chagos Archipelago. 2013.
Jeffery L. 'A lost people'? Chagossian onward migration and echoes of marginalisation in Crawley. In Evans SJTM, Kooy M, editors, Eviction from the Chagos Islands : displacement and struggle for identity against two world powers . Leiden, netherlands: Brill. 2011. p. 219-238. (African History). doi: 10.1163/ej.9789004202603.i-293
Jeffery L, (ed.), Murison J, (ed.). Return and Onward Migration. Population, Space and Place. 2011;17(2):131-192. doi: 10.1002/psp.669
Jeffery L. Chagos: Sustainable Archipelago. 2011.
Jeffery L. Chagos Islanders in Mauritius and the UK: Forced Displacement and Onward Migration. Manchester University Press, 2011. 224 p. (New Ethnographies).
Jeffery L. ‘Unusual Immigrants’, or, Chagos Islanders and their Confrontations with British Citizenship. Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice. 2011;18(2):33-44. doi: 10.3167/aia.2011.180205
Jeffery L, Johannessen S. Reflections on the Life and Art of the Chagossian Painter Clément Siatous. Wasafiri. 2011;66(2):72-77. doi: 10.1080/02690055.2011.557553
Jeffery L, Murison J. The temporal, social, spatial and legal dimensions of return and onward migration. Population, Space and Place. 2011;17(2):131-139. doi: 10.1002/psp.606
Jeffery L, Vine D. Sorrow, sadness, and impoverishment: The lives of Chagossians in Mauritius. In Evers S, Kooy M, editors, Eviction from the Chagos Islands. Leiden: Brill. 2011. p. 83-102 doi: 10.1163/ej.9789004202603.i-293.45
Jeffery L. Creole festivals and Afro-Creole cosmopolitanisms in Mauritius. Social Anthropology. 2010 Nov 1;18(4):425-432. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8676.2010.00126.x
Jeffery L. Forced Displacement, Onward Migration and Reformulations of 'Home' by Chagossians in Crawley, UK. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 2010;36(7):1099-1117. doi: 10.1080/13691830903517511
Jeffery L. Chagossians refused right to return home: A sequel to Vine (AT 24[4]). Anthropology Today (AT). 2009 Feb;25(1):24-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00644.x
Vine D, Jeffery L. "Give Us Back Diego Garcia": Unity and Division among Activists in the Indian Ocean. In Lutz C, editor, The Bases of Empire: The Global Struggle Against U.S. Military Posts. Pluto Press. 2008. p. 181-217
Jeffery L. How a plantation became paradise: Changing representations of the homeland among displaced Chagos islanders. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 2007 Dec;13(4):951–968. Epub 2007 Nov 16. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9655.2007.00466.x
Jeffery L. [Review of] Rosabelle Boswell, Le Malaise Créole: Ethnic identity in Mauritius. Africa. 2007 Nov;77(4):611-612. doi: 10.1353/afr.2007.0086
Jeffery L. ‘Our right is our land’: The Chagos Archipelago and discourses on rights to land in the Indian Ocean. In Bunwaree S, Kasenally R, editors, Rights and Development in Mauritius. Mauritius: OSSREA Mauritius Chapter and University of Mauritius. 2007. p. 31–58
Jeffery L. Historical narrative and legal evidence: Judging Chagossians’ High Court testimonies. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. 2006 Nov;29(2):228–253. doi: 10.1525/pol.2006.29.2.228
Jeffery L. Victims and patrons: Strategic alliances and the anti-politics of victimhood among displaced Chagossians and their supporters. History and Anthropology. 2006;17(4):297–312. Epub 2006 Nov 29. doi: 10.1080/02757200600914060
Jeffery L, Candea M. The politics of victimhood. History and Anthropology. 2006;17(4):287–296. doi: 10.1080/02757200600914037
Jeffery L, (ed.), Candea M, (ed.). The Politics of Victimhood. History and Anthropology. 2006;17(4):287–395.
Jeffery L. Report on the Seychelles Chagos Social Committee (CSC) for the Ilois Support Trust (IST). 2004.
Clements A, Jeffery L. Strengthening civil society amongst the Ilois population of Mauritius. 2003.