Dr Gerasimos Tsourapas

Dr Gerasimos Tsourapas

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Lecturer in Middle East Politics

Contact details

School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Gerasimos Tsourapas is a Lecturer in Middle East Politics, University of Birmingham. He was previously a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies, American University of Cairo and a Senior Teaching Fellow in International Relations at SOAS, University of London. His doctoral dissertation, “Trading People, Consolidating Power: Emigration and Authoritarianism in Modern Egypt,” received the 2016 Best Dissertation Prize of the American Political Science Association (Migration & Citizenship Section). His research on Egyptian labour migration as an instrument of soft power was awarded the 2015 Best Graduate Paper Prize at the Middle East Studies Association of North America. More recently, he received the 2017 Martin O. Heisler Award of the International Studies Association for work on the politics of migration interdependence in the Middle East (forthcoming, International Studies Quarterly). He is currently the Principal Investigator in two research projects: “The Politics of Forced Migration in the Mediterranean: Interstate Bargaining and Issue-Linkage in Greece and Jordan,” funded by a British Academy/Leverhulme grant, and “Migration Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean - Inter-State Politics of Population Mobility in the Middle East,” funded by the Council for British Research in the Levant.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, 2017
  • PhD in Politics (SOAS University of London), 2016
  • MSc in Middle East Politics (SOAS, University of London), 2012
  • MSc in International Political Economy (London School of Economics & Political Science), 2007
  • BA in Economics and Political Science (Yale University), 2006


Dr. Tsourapas joined POLSIS in 2016. His research interests include the determinants of authoritarian durability, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa context; emigration and diaspora politics, particularly in the Global South; and the interplay between population mobility and international relations, particularly with regard to forced migration and refugee politics.

Prior to the University of Birmingham, Dr. Tsourapas was a Senior Teaching Fellow in International Relations at SOAS, University of London (2015-16), where he was awarded the Annual Director’s Teaching Prize for excellence in teaching and the promotion of learning within the School. During the 2013-14 academic year he was a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies of the American University of Cairo, and a Guest Researcher at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute, Leiden University in Cairo.

His research has been funded by a three-year SOAS Research Studentship, an American University of Cairo Visiting Graduate Scholar Fellowship, and a number of smaller grants. He has pursued training in qualitative and quantitative methodologies at the Institute for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research (2013) and the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis (2015), respectively. He has also undertaken Arabic language training (Modern Standard Arabic & Egyptian Colloquial Arabic) in Cairo, London, as well as at the Middlebury College Arabic School as a Kathryn W. Davis Fellow for Peace.

Dr. Tsourapas attended Yale University (B.A., 2006, Political Science and Economics) on a four-year Charles F. Hunt scholarship, and the London School of Economics and Political Science (M.Sc., 2007, International Political Economy) on an Achillopoulos Foundation fellowship. He was also employed as a researcher for the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-11), and as a European Union elections observer, most recently at the Tunisian Constituent Assembly elections. During the latter he was deployed to Tunis and Brussels, where he participated in the European Union’s first attempt at monitoring out-of-country voting.


Currently teaching in 2016/17

  • Introduction to Problems of World History & End of Empire (First-Year Undergraduate Module)
  • International Relations Theory (Second-Year Undergraduate Module)
  • Global Capitalism and Migration (Third-Year Undergraduate Module)
  • Approaches to Research in Government and Society (Doctoral Research Training Module)

Teaching in 2017/18:

  • International Relations of the Middle East (Second-Year Undergraduate Module)
  • Politics of Migrants, Refugees, and Diasporas in the Middle East (Third-Year Undergraduate Module
  • Approaches to Research in Government and Society (Doctoral Research Training Module)

Postgraduate supervision

Dr. Tsourapas welcomes inquiries from potential Ph.D. students interested in conducting research on authoritarian regimes; migration, refugee, and diaspora politics; Middle East and North Africa politics.

Current doctoral supervision:

  • Ziad Abu Mustafa: "The Causes of Palestinian Disunity, 1993-2014" (with Dr Tim Haughton)
  • Ahmed AlFaez (with Professor Scott Lucas)


Current research projects

Gerasimos Tsourapas is currently the Principal Investigator for the following two research projects:

Migration Diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean - Inter-State Politics of Population Mobility in the Middle East (April 2017 - March 2018)
Funded by a Council for the British Research in the Levant pilot grant, this yearlong project investigates how migratory flows across national borders have affected states' diplomatic interaction. It focuses on the politics of Jordan's management of cross-border population mobility in its international relations on three levels: as a sending state (regarding emigrants in the Arab oil-producing states); as a transit state (regulating Egyptian migrants' transit to the Gulf); and as a host state (regarding its Palestinian population).

The Politics of Forced Migration in the Mediterranean: Interstate Bargaining and Issue-Linkage in Greece and Jordan (April 2017 - Sept 2018)
Funded by a British Academy / Leverhulme Small Grant, this 18-month long project aims to understand how post-2011 forced displacement has affected the behavior of two key states in the region towards international actors. Greece and Jordan, both heavily affected by an influx of refugee populations, have employed these population flows in diplomatic relations. I hypothesise that forced migration has independently influenced and shaped the two states' diplomatic behaviours, enabling novel interstate bargaining strategies and issue-linkage strategies with international actors. The comparative case-study will focus on the two states' post-2011 negotiations with the European Union. It will allow for an in-depth analysis of how, and under which conditions, forced migration affects the international relations of host states, while also informing policy on states’ strategies in managing refugee inflows

Research awards

  • Martin O. Heisler Award, International Studies Association (2016), for a research paper entitled "Labor Migrants as Political Leverage? Population Mobility and Coercion in the Arab World.” This award, sponsored by the Ethnicity, Nationalism and Migration Section (ENMISA), recognises the best paper presented at a panel or poster session by a graduate student at the ISA Annual Convention. 
  • Best Dissertation Award, American Political Science Association (2016), for a dissertation entitled "Trading People, Consolidating Power: Emigration and Authoritarianism in Modern Egypt.” This award, sponsored by APSA's Migration & Citizenship Section, recognises the best dissertation on migration and/or citizenship.
  • Graduate Student Paper Prize, Middle East Studies Association (2015), for a research paper entitled "Labour Emigration and State Strength during the Arab Cold War.” This award recognises the best paper by a graduate student on any aspect of post 600 CE Middle East.


Journal Articles

Tsourapas, G. (2018), 'Labor Migrants as Political Leverage - Migration Interdependence & Coercion in the Mediterranean,' International Studies Quarterly, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/isq/sqx088

Tsourapas, G. (2017), 'Migration Diplomacy in the Global South: Cooperation, Coercion and Issue Linkage in Gaddafi’s Libya,’ Third World Quarterly, 38 (10), pp. 2367-2385

Tsourapas, G. (2017) 'The Politics of "Exit:" Emigration & Subject-Making Processes in Modern Egypt,' Journal of Middle East & North African Migration Studies, 4 (1), pp. 29-49.

Tsourapas, G. (2016) 'Nasser's Educators & Agitators Across al-Watan al-'Arabi: Tracing the Foreign Policy Importance of Egyptian Regional Migration, 1952-1967,' British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 43 (3), pp. 324-341.

Tsourapas, G. (2015) 'Why Do States Develop Multi-Tier Emigrant Policies? Evidence from Egypt,' Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 41 (13), pp. 2192-2214.

Tsourapas, G. (2013) 'The Limits of Norm Promotion: The EU in Egypt and Israel/Palestine,' Insight Turkey, 15 (2), pp. 171-193 (with E. Lazarou & M. Gianniou).

Tsourapas, G. (2013) 'The Other Side of a Neoliberal Miracle: Economic Reform and Political De-Liberalisation in Ben Ali's Tunisia,' Mediterranean Politics, 18 (1), pp. 23-41.

Book Reviews

Tsourapas, G. (2017), ‘Thomas W. Lippman, Hero of the Crossing: How Anwar Sadat and the 1973 War Changed the World. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2016,’ Journal of Peace & Justice Studies, 26 (2), pp. 114-117.

Other Publications

Tsourapas, G. (2015), 'The Politics of Egyptian Migration to Libya,' Middle East Report and Information Project.

Tsourapas, G. (2014), 'Notes from the Field: Researching Emigration in post-2011 Egypt,' American Political Science Association Migration & Citizenship Newsletter, 2 (2), pp. 58-62.


Migration, refugees, and diaspora policies as well as Middle East politics.