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School of Government & International Affairs

Staff Profiles

Dr Christopher Davidson, BA & MA (Cambridge); M.Litt & Ph.D (St. Andrews); FHEA

Personal web page

Reader in Middle East Politics in the School of Government and International Affairs

(email at christopher.davidson@durham.ac.uk)

Before coming to Durham, Christopher was an assistant professor at Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates and a visiting associate professor at Kyoto University in Japan. Currently, he is also an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, a visiting fellow at Leiden University College, and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He holds degrees from the University of Cambridge (BA, MA), and the University of St. Andrews (M.Litt, PhD).

He has published five single-authored books, two edited volumes works, and a number of scholarly journal articles and chapters in other edited collections. His last book, After the Sheikhs (New York: OUP, 2013), was translated into both Arabic and Farsi and was reviewed by the Economist, the Guardian, and the Independent. His next book will be published on 6 October 2016.

He is the principal investigator on a three year-long project, employing a full-time postdoctoral researcher. He has supervised seven doctorates to completion, with his advisees having taken up postdoctoral fellowships at Georgetown University, University of Pennsylvania ("UPenn"), University of Tubingen, and Durham University (in Government and Geography departments); and assistant professorships at Kings College London and Qatar University. He has externally examined a number of doctorates internationally across a range of universities including Australian National University, Tel Aviv, Oxford, St. Andrews, Leeds, Exeter, and Queens University Belfast.

He has held a number of departmental management portfolios, inter alia, acting deputy head of school, director of undergraduate studies, director of postgraduate studies (taught), and admissions tutor.

He has served as an expert witness on more than a dozen occasions, with his evidence having played a leading role in determining the outcome of Britain's longest running extradition case. His legal work formed the basis of a REF2014 impact case study.

He has delivered a number of invited guest lectures at universities around the world (usually 60 minute presentations followed by 30 minute Q&A sessions). These include Stanford, Yale, George Washington, Kyoto, Otago, Amsterdam, American University of Beirut, Sciences-Po, Oxford, LSE, SOAS, St. Andrews, Exeter, Leeds, Bath, and Aberdeen.


In addition to academic work, he has also published with the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Guardian, the Times Higher Education, and BBC Online.

He has delivered seminars and provided consultancies to a range of organizations and companies including NATO Intelligence, GCHQ, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Foreign Services Institute (US), the New Zealand intelligence services, the New Zealand and Netherlands Ministries for Foreign Affairs, British Petroleum, and the Guggenheim Foundation.

He tweets on Middle East politics, international security, intelligence, and other related issues at @dr_davidson 

Research Groups

  • Politics of the Muslim World

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

Journal papers: academic

Reports: official

Show all publications

Supervises