Ali Hamdan

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Ali Hamdan, 2015–2016 CAORC Pre-Doctoral Fellow

Ali Hamdan at ACOR in October, 2015. Photo by Firas Bqa'in.
Ali Hamdan at ACOR in October, 2015. Photo by Firas Bqa’in.

Ali Hamdan is an ACOR-CAORC pre-doctorate Fellow conducting research in Jordan in the fall of 2015 until January 2016. He is completing his PhD. in the Department of Geography at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).  Before coming to Jordan, Ali lived and conducted research in Beirut, Lebanon for a number of years. He has always been interested in studying the Middle East and through the lens of geography he has found a distinct way to approach his research.

Ali studies political geography of the Syrian Civil War. This means its sectarian dynamics, but also its “transnationalization” – how it has been connected to events and places outside its borders. His dissertation accordingly examines how opposition networks have changed and adapted after relocating to places outside of Syria. This undertaking is informed by his ethnographic research based on a multitude of personal interviews which he conducts in and around Amman. New insights gleaned from his studies here are building upon findings he gathered from previous fieldwork in Gaziantep, Turkey.

During his time at ACOR, he plans on delving deeper into the impact of exile on Syrian political activists, journalists, and aid-workers, hoping to better understand how new connections and relations are transforming the political geography of the Middle East. These kind of insights apply not only to Syria’s ongoing civil war, but to conflicts in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, and Turkey.

Ali earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography and Middle Eastern Studies from Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT. He acquired a Master’s in Geography over the course of his doctoral program, where he studies political geography and Middle East Studies under John Agnew, Adam Moore, and James Gelvin.

To learn more about Ali Hamdan’s research in Jordan, read the blogpost “Understanding the New Urban Geographies of the Syrian Conflict” written in 2015 by Ali for the ACOR Blog.