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Durham University

School of Government & International Affairs

Staff Profile

Dr May Darwich, BA, MA, PhD

Personal web page

Assistant Professor in the International Relations of the Middle East in the School of Government and International Affairs
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 45672
Room number: IM201a, Al-Qasimi Building

(email at


I am an Assistant Professor in International Relations of the Middle East in the School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA) at Durham University, in the United Kingdom. I hold a PhD in Politics and International Relations from the University of Edinburgh (2015), an MA in International Politics from SciencePo Bordeaux (2010), and a BA in Political Science from Cairo University (2009). I held a Research Fellowship at GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, within the IDCAR-Network ‘The International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes’ (2014-2016). I was a Teaching Assistant at the University of Edinburgh (2012-2014) and Cairo University (2010-2011). 

My research has appeared in internationally renowned journals, namely Foreign Policy Analysis, the Journal of Global Security Studies, Democratization, Mediterranean Politics, Global Discourse and in volumes on the international relations of the Middle East. My research attempts to bring Middle East cases to debates within IR theory while surmounting the challenge to the study of state behaviour in the Middle East through theoretical lenses. My current research projects focus on regional military interventions in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen since 2015, the diffusion of sectarianism in not so sectarian societies in the Middle East, and the concept of 'shame' in international relations and its impact on state identity formation.

I have taught a wide range of modules on International Relations Theory and the Middle East, including IR and Security in the Middle East, Introduction to International Relations, Global Regions in the International System, International Organisations. I am also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I am co-editor of the APSA (American Political Science Association) MENA Newsletter.


PhD, University of Edinburgh (2015)

MA, SciencePo Bordeaux (2010)

BA, Cairo University (2009)

Research Interests

  • International Relations of the Middle East
  • IR Theory
  • Foreign Policies of Middle Eastern States
  • Security Studies
  • Identity Politics

Teaching Areas

  • SGIA 1081 Global Regions in International Relations

  • SGIA 41115: IR and Security in the Middle East

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2018: Guest Researcher, GIGA German Institute for Global and Area Studies, Germany.:
  • 2018: Visiting Professor, University of Bari Aldo Mora, Italy.:
  • 2018-19 Visiting Fellow at The Centre of International Studies at the London School of Economics:
  • Director of the Arab Political Science Network (APSN):

    APSN is a scholarly collaborative initiative that seeks to support, enhance, and increase scholars’ research and teaching outputs in the study of Political Science in the Arab World.

  • Member of the Steering Committee on the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS):

    POMEPS a collaborative network designed to enhance the broader field of Middle East political science.

  • Trustee, The Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL):

    The Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) is a research organisation and grant-awarding body that conducts, supports and promotes research in the history, culture, society and archaeology of the Levant, and which is affiliated to the British Academy as one of the British International Research Institutes.


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Working Paper

Selected Grants

  • 2019: British Academy/Leverhulme Small Research Grants. Amount: £9,953
  • 2019: Christopherson Knott Fellowship, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University
  • 2016: APSA MENA Collaborative Grant (2016-2018): $15,000
  • 2015: DAAD fund for fieldwork. Amount: €1,500
  • 2012: The Arab-British Chamber Commerce Grant. Amount: £2,000
  • 2011: Bernard Crick Fellowship, University of Edinburgh. Amount: £3,000
  • 2011: Global Supplementary Grant, the Open Society Foundation. Amount: US$5000.
  • 2009: Master scholarship of the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie
  • 2005: Undergraduate Scholarship of Mohamed Farid Khamis Foundation