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)


2013-   Birmingham Fellow in Urban Resilience, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham. 

2009-2012   British Academy Post-Doctoral Fellow (PDF/2009/428 - Geographical Perspectives on War and Cities: the case of Beirut), Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London.

2008 - 2009   Research Assistant (ESRC RES-181-25-0028 - The built environment: mirror and mediator of radicalisation), Manchester Architecture Research Centre, University of Manchester.

Postgraduate supervision

Ian Slesinger - Waging Safer War? Technology, risk and the shift towards post-network-centric warfare in Israel’s military conflicts 2002-2012 (ESRC Studentship, co-supervised with Dr Julian Clark) 

Sara is glad to hear from potential PhD applicants with proposals on: 

  • Urban geopolitics, urban security, urban conflict
  • Radicalisation, polarisation, social cohesion
  • Affective and atmospheric perspectives on urban geopolitics and conflict
  • Spaces of protest and uprising
  • The Middle East (and especially Lebanon)


Research funding

2017 - (Co-I) AHRC, AH/R004331/1: £59K, Research Networking grant (Highlight Notice for International Development
Humanities for resilience

2017 - (Co-I) Initiative d’Excellence Paris/Seine: €85K
Vivre en ville avec la terreur: quels effets du terrorisme   diffus sur les ambiances urbaines? 

2016-2017 - Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL) Pilot Study Award 
How a sectarian territory was made: (re) mapping the Dual Qaimaqamiyya of Mount Lebanon (1842-1860) 

2016 - GEES pump-priming fund 
Violent emergencies and the urban geopolitics of affect. Exploring the emotional mechanisms of urban lockdown in Paris and Brussels.

2013 - University of Birmingham, Institute for Advanced Studies, Workshop grant
Responding to Uprising: Urban Security Between Resilience and Resistance 

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

Research Identifiers

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.


Fregonese, S. and Trombetta, L. (2017). Cosi' nacquero le frontiere confessionali libanesi” Limes. Rivista italiana di geopolitica. August. http://www.limesonline.com/cartaceo/cosi-nacquero-le-frontiere-confessionali-libanesi.

Fregonese, S. (in press) ‘A demarcation in the hearts’: frontier urbanism and Beirut’s May 2008 clashes. In Yacobi H. & Nsasra M. eds. Routledge Handbook on Middle Eastern Cities.

Fregonese, S. (2017) English: lingua franca or disenfranchising? Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 195(2), 194-196.

Fregonese, S. (November 2017) “Affective atmospheres, urban geopolitics and conflict (de)-escalation in Beirut” Political Geography 61. ttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.04.009

Ramadan, A. and Fregonese, S. (2017) “Hybrid Sovereignty and the State of Exception in the Palestinian Refugee Camps in Lebanon” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107 (4): 949-963. 

Rokem, J., Fregonese,S., Ramadan, A., Pascucci, E. Rosen, G. Charney, I. Paasche,T.F. and Sidaway, J.D. (2017, in press, corrected proof). “Interventions in Urban Geopolitics.” Political Geography. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2017.04.004 

Fregonese, S. (2017) “Foreword”, in Rokem, J. and Boano, C. eds. Urban Geopolitics. Rethinking planning in contested cities. Routledge

Fregonese, S. and Ramadan, A. (2015) “Hotel Geopolitics. A research agenda” Geopolitics 20 (4): 793-813.

Fregonese, S. (2015) “Everyday political geographies”. In Agnew J., Mamadouh V., Secor A., Sharp J. (eds) The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Political Geography. London: Wiley-Blackwell. 

Brand, R. and Fregonese, S. (2013) The radical’s city. Urban environment, polarisation, cohesion. Ashgate. 

Fregonese, S. (2013) Mediterranean geographies of protest. European Urban and Regional Studies 20 (1): 109-114 

Fregonese, S. (2012) "Beyond the ‘weak state’: hybrid sovereignties in Beirut" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 30(4): 655-674. 

Fregonese, S. (2012) “Between a refuge and a battleground. Beirut’s discrepant cosmopolitanisms.” Geographical Review 102: 316–336 

Fregonese, S. (2012) “Urban geopolitics, 8 years on. Accounting for hybridity, the everyday, and peace”. Geography Compass 6 (5):290-303.

Fregonese, S. (2012) “Kousis, M., Selwyn, T. and Clark, D. (eds.) Contested Mediterranean spaces. Ethnographic essays in honour of Charles Tilly” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 

Fregonese, S. (2011) Beyond the domino. Transnational (in)security and the 2011 protests. Environment and Planning D blog.

Fregonese, S. (2010) “Coward M. ‘Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction’” Global Discourse, 1(II): 2-4. Book Review. 

Fregonese, S. (2009) “The urbicide of Beirut? Geopolitics and the built environment in the Lebanese civil war”, Political Geography 28 (5): 309-318. 

Fregonese, S. and Brand, R. (2009) “Polarisation as socio-technical phenomenon. A bibliographical review”, Journal of Urban Technology 16(2-3): 9-34. 

Fregonese, S., Martin, D. and Ramadan, A. (2009) The new geopolitics of responsibility in Barack Obama's Cairo speech, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 27(6): 951 – 955. 

View all publications in research portal