Dr Sara Fregonese BA, MA, PhD

Dr Sara Fregonese

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Birmingham Fellow and Lecturer in Political Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Fregonese’s research focuses on the relationship between geopolitics, conflict and everyday urban life. She is specialised in the geography of urban conflict in Lebanon. Her wider research includes social polarisation, urban warfare, post-terror situations, and historical geographies of sectarianism. She has published, together with Ralf Brand, The radicals' city. Urban environment, polarisation, cohesion (Routledge 2013). 


BA Oriental Languages and Cultures (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
MA Cross-Mediterranean Cooperation (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)
PhD Geography (Newcastle)

Postgraduate supervision

I would be glad to hear from potential PhD students with proposals on both contemporary and historical aspects of the following areas:

Political geography, geopolitics
Urban geopolitics, urban conflict, sectarianism
The Middle East and Lebanon


PhD Geography (Newcastle)
MA Mediterranean Cooperation(Ca' Foscari University, Venice)
BA Oriental Languages and Cultures (Ca' Foscari University, Venice)


 I am a political geographer with a background in Middle Eastern studies and a research focus on cities and conflict, particularly Lebanon.


My research is structured along three themes:

1.   Urban geopolitics and hybrid sovereignty

2.   More-than-human approaches to urban conflict

3.   Historical geographies of sectarianism (Ottoman Levant)


My past research has been supported by: 

2011-2012: British Academy Small Research Grant
Views from the Holiday Inn. War, urban landscape, and memory in Beirut

2009-2012: British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Geographical Perspectives on War and Cities: the case of Beirut.

2004-2007: PhD Studentship, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University.



Other activities

  • 2016 -  Chair of the Political Geography Research Group, Royal Geographical Society
  • 2016 -   Member, Editorial Board, Fennia
  • 2015 -   Foreign member of the board of studies, Doctoral Programme in Geopolitics and Geoeconomics, Niccolò Cusano University, Rome, Italy 
  • 2014 -   Editorial board, Geopolitics journal
  • 2014 -   Editorial board, “Geopolitics, bodies, materials” book series, Rowman and Littlefield International 
  • 2012 -   Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers. 

Referee for:

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Italy's National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes (ANVUR) 

Peer review for:

Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Geographical Journal, Cultural Geographies, Journal of Urban Technology, Security Dialogue, Urban Geography, Geography Compass, Geopolitics, Progress in Planning, Political Geography.


Recent publications


Fregonese, S 2019, War and the city. Urban geopolitics in Lebanon. International Library of Human Geography, 1st edn, I.B. Tauris. <https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/war-and-the-city-9781780767147/>

Fregonese, S & Brand, R 2013, The Radical’s City: Urban environment, polarisation, cohesion. Ashgate, Aldershot.


Fregonese, S 2017, 'Affective atmospheres, urban geopolitics and conflict (de)escalation in Beirut', Political Geography, vol. 61, pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.04.009

Ramadan, A & Fregonese, S 2017, 'Hybrid sovereignty and the state of exception in the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon', Annals of the American Association of Geographers, vol. 107, no. 4, pp. 949-963. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2016.1270189

Fregonese, S & Ramadan, A 2015, 'Hotel Geopolitics: A Research Agenda', Geopolitics, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 793-813. https://doi.org/10.1080/14650045.2015.1062755

Fregonese, S 2013, 'Mediterranean geographies of protest', European Urban and Regional Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 109-114. https://doi.org/10.1177/0969776412460528

Fregonese, S 2012, 'Between a refuge and a battleground. Beirut’s discrepant cosmopolitanisms', The Geographical Review, vol. 102, no. 3, pp. 316–336. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1931-0846.2012.00154.x

Fregonese, S 2012, 'Beyond the ‘weak state’: hybrid sovereignties in Beirut', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 655-674. https://doi.org/10.1068/d11410


Fregonese, S 2019, “A demarcation in the hearts”: everyday urban frontiers in Beirut. in Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315625164-12

Fregonese, S 2015, Everyday political geographies. in V mamadouh, J Agnew, J Sharp & A Secor (eds), The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Geography. Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 493-506. <http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118725883.html>

Book/Film/Article review

Fregonese, S 2018, 'Holidays in the danger zone. Entanglements of war and tourism', Journal of Tourism History, vol. 10, no. 1. https://doi.org/10.1080/1755182X.2018.1452434


Fregonese, S 2017, 'English: lingua franca or disenfranchising?', Fennia, vol. 195, no. 2, pp. 194–196.. https://doi.org/10.11143/fennia.67662

Rokem, J, Fregonese, S, Ramadan, A, Pascucci, EA, Rosen, G, Charney, I, Paasche, TF & Sidaway, JD 2017, 'Interventions in Urban Geopolitics', Political Geography. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.04.004

Fregonese, S 2013, 'Waiting for the spillover. Why reinforcing borders and strengthening sovereignty won’t keep Lebanon out of conflict', Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. <http://societyandspace.com/material/commentaries/sara-fregonese-waiting-for-the-spillover-why-reinforcing-borders-wont-strengthen-lebanons-sovereignty-and-keep-it-out-of-conflict/>


Fregonese, S 2017, Foreword. in J Rokem & C Boano (eds), Urban Geopolitics: Rethinking Planning in Contested Cities. Routledge Studies in Urbanism and the City, Taylor & Francis, pp. xiii-xv. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315659275

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