Sofya is an IDS Research Fellow in Power and Popular Politics and an AHRC/DCMS Policy Fellow in International Cultural Heritage Protection. She holds a PhD from Deakin University, Melbourne and has a background in in Cultural Anthropology and Critical Heritage Studies.
Working alongside young people and ethno-religious minorities, her research employs anthropological approaches to understand the lived experiences of conflict, violence, migration and oppression in the Middle East and Central Asia, predominantly Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Afghanistan. This has involved exploring different forms and experiences of violence and the impacts and implications this has on targeted populations – as well as possibilities for peace – particularly in relation to cultural heritage.
Through this research, she has contributed to understandings of how social and physical landscapes are created and utilised in campaigns of terror and resistance, the role of emotion in political conflicts and the consequences this has for people’s sense of place, belonging and security. Expanding on this, as the PI on the AHRC network grant ‘Embodying Peace, Navigating Violence’, she is accompanying researchers in Iraq to produce auto-ethnographies investigating the residual affects of violence against places and what it would mean for political processes and peacebuilding initiatives if we approached peace as a bodily practice.
Sofya also has a further 10 years of experience working across the humanitarian/development nexus specialising in the project design, monitoring and evaluation of programmes most directly related to livelihoods, PSS, youth agency and women’s empowerment in the MENA region.
Sofya co-convenes with Gauthier Marchais the MA module Governance of Violence Conflict.