Contact details


Role: Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow


I am the new Joyce Pearce Junior Research Fellow, funded by Ockenden International and based at Lady Margaret Hall, in conjunction with the Refugee Studies Centre, which is part of the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford. I hold a BA in History and Political Science with a minor in Philosophy and an MA in International Studies. At the University of Cambridge, I worked on my PhD in Sociology.

Research interests

Building on my past work on revolutionary women's struggles, freedom concepts and radical democracy in Kurdistan, my new research focuses on two timely issues around displacement in the Middle East region. My first project considers layers of statelessness and self-determination by focusing on autonomously-run refugee camps in the majority Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria and the different ways in which they relate to local self-declared self-governing institutions. What can we learn about democracy beyond the nation-state by looking at alternative practices of self-determination that challenge dominant international structures?

Secondly, I am interested in women’s quests for justice in the aftermath of the violence inflicted by the so-called Islamic State group. In general, I am interested in investigating the intersections between state/statelessness, knowledge, and power. My research agenda aims to broaden our understanding of refugeehood in favour of concrete, just and practical solutions that centre the self-determination of the dispossessed.

Teaching duties

I will be teaching a core module for the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.

Selected publications

Dirik, D. (2018) Overcoming the Nation-State: Women’s Autonomy and Radical Democracy in Kurdistan in Gendering Nationalism: Intersections of Nation, Gender and Sexuality in the 21st Century, ed. Mulholland, J., Montagna, N, and Sanders-McDonagh, E. (Basingstoke: Palgrave).

Dirik, D. (2018) The Revolution of Smiling Women: Stateless Democracy and Power in Everyday Life in Rojava in Routledge Handbook of Postcolonial Politics, ed. Shilliam, R., and Rutazibwa O. (Abingdon: Routledge).