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About Us

The four researchers study how diasporas mobilize when a specific aspect of state sovereignty is contested in the original homeland:

Maria KoinovaDr. Maria Koinova

Reader in International Relations, Principal Investigator of the
ERC Starting Grant "Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty"
Before joining Warwick University in 2012, Dr. Maria Koinova held research fellowships and visiting scholar positions at Harvard, Cornell, Dartmouth, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., the European University Institute, and Uppsala University, among other academic institutions. Koinova is the author of Ethnonationalist Conflict in Postcommunist States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), positively reviewed in Foreign Affairs and the Choice Magazine. Since 2006 Koinova has worked on topics related to diasporas, conflicts, post-conflict reconstruction and democratization, and has conducted multi-sited fieldwork among the Albanian, Armenian, Bosnian, Croatian, Lebanese, Palestinian, Serbian, and Ukrainian diasporas in the US and/or in Europe. Results were published in the European Journal of International of International Relations, Foreign Policy Analysis, Review of International Studies, Communist and Postcommunist Studies, and Ethnic and Racial Studies, among other academic outlets. Besides leading the ERC Project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty,” Koinova has a research agenda seeking to explain patterns of diaspora mobilization in local, national and global contexts, and how emerging states – such as Kosovo, Palestine and Nagorno-Karabakh – seek to engage their diasporas abroad for state-building purposes. In 2012-2013 Koinova conducted more than 140 interviews among diaspora members in the Netherlands, Sweden, and Kosovo, and other field work is scheduled to follow in 2014. Koinova argues that current scholarship needs to consider diaspora positionality in different contexts when analyzing patterns of diaspora mobilization and states' engagement with their diasporas abroad, in addition to factoring utilitarian, identity-based, and governability logics.


Dzeneta KarabegovicDženeta Karabegović

Ph.D. Researcher

Dženeta’s research project analyzes diaspora influence on a weak state in a post-conflict environment, explaining how diaspora mobilize transnationally and how host land and homeland contexts influence diaspora engagement. She integrates diaspora academic debates into the study of transitional justice. Empirically, the research focuses on Bosnian diaspora mobilization in Europe around issues of transitional justice, genocide remembrance, and political participation. The research methods include semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and process tracing with multi-sited fieldwork (Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Sweden, and Germany). The thesis brings causal logic to diaspora mobilization with a typological theory approach. Dženeta is a Visiting Scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University during the 2016 spring semester. She holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the Hugo Valentin Centre at Uppsala University and holds a B.A. (Hons) at the University of Vermont in Political Science and German with a Holocaust Studies minor.Besides her work with the ERC Project “Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty,” Dženeta teaches on the Contemporary Themes in Comparative Politics Module.Dženeta’s work has been published in Global Networks and Nationalism and Ethnic Politics.


o.kadhum.jpgOula Kadhum

Ph.D. Researcher

Oula Kadhum’s research investigates in a comparative perspective diaspora mobilisation for state-building following the 2003 intervention in Iraq. Her work explores how the diaspora in the UK and Sweden mobilised towards this end and why there were differences in their approaches to building the state. Oula’s research shows how both agent and structural variables can affect the types of state-building that diaspora can engage in. Furthermore her work emphasizes how homeland contexts significantly impact which diaspora engage in their homelands and why others are limited or obstructed from doing so. Her work also stresses how homeland politics shape the type of engagement that diaspora have with their countries of origin. Beyond her PhD work Oula has been an American Political Science Association MENA workshop fellow and has taught on Warwick University’s Contemporary Themes in Comparative Politics Module. Prior to commencing her PhD at Warwick, Oula completed her Masters degree at the School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London, where she wrote her dissertation on the gender impact of British security policy in Iraq following the 2003 intervention. She also completed a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Kings College London and a Bachelors degree in French and Hispanic Studies at Queen Mary, University of London.


ben_margulies_1.jpgDr. Ben Margulies

Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Ben’s research background is primarily in comparative and European politics, especially the quantitative analysis of trends across countries. He is also interested in the ways that nations and party systems respond to migration and globalisation. His doctoral work made much use of the Comparative Manifesto Project, which codes party manifestoes into quantitative data sets. His PhD, “Liberal Parties and Party Systems,” used data taken from European party manifestos to track when parties moved left or right, and showed how these movements affected the vote shares that liberal parties received. He obtained his PhD from the University of Essex in 2014, and has published articles in Comparative European Politics, the Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica and the Australian Journal of Political Science. Ben is joining the project to help develop a large-scale survey of 25 groups of conflict-generated diasporas in Europe. Ben earned a master’s in comparative politics at the London School of Economics in 2007, and did his undergraduate work at New York University. He is originally from Dallas, Texas.


Inter-coder Tests Team


From left to right:

Kedesha Vassel

Graduated in International Relations at the University of the West Indies, Mona in Jamaica. She studies for MA in International Development at the University of Warwick. She participated in the pilot inter-coder discussions and is currently supporting research on the refugee crisis in Europe in comparative perspective.

Prathima Ravindra Appaji

Graduated in Law LLB from National University of Juridical Sciences in India. She studies for MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick. She has participated in pilot inter-coder tests in preparation for the large scale project survey, and is currently assisting on papers on transnational social movements and refugees in Europe in comparative perspective.

Gerard Schuett

Graduated in Political in Political Science at Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. He studies for MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick. He has been involved as a coder in the inter-coder discussions aiming to prepare the grounds for a large-scale survey, has co-written a blog post with Dr. Koinova, contributed to project research on weak states, and is further supporting research on the refugee crisis in Europe in comparative perspective.

Bettina Szucs

Graduated in Arts in International and Diplomatic studies at the University of Trieste. She studies for MA in International Relations at the University of Warwick. She participated in the pilot coding for the inter-coder discussions, and is currently engaged in supporting research on the refugee crisis in Europe in comparative perspective.

Pia Strunz

Graduated in Political Science as well as Media and Communication Science from the University of Zurich. She studies for MA in International Political Economy at the University of Warwick. She is currently working as a coder in the inter-coder discussions and tests aiming to prepare for a cross-national survey, and is involved in research on migration trajectories in weak states.

 Bahar BaserDr. Bahar Baser

Post-doctoral Research Fellow, (September 2012- August 2014)

During her post-doctoral fellowship Dr. Bahar Baser worked on the transnational
mobilisation of the Kurdish diaspora in Europe.

Contact Us

Diasporas and Contested Sovereignty (DcS)
University of Warwick
Department of Politics and International Studies
Social Sciences Building
Coventry CV4 7AL
Tel: +44 (0)24 765 24632
Email: info.diasporacontest[at]