Malaka Shwaikh


I passed my PhD in Middle East Politics - with no corrections - at the University of Exeter in May 2019. My PhD research (“Starving for a Cause: Prison Hunger Strikes as a Political Protest”) examines the dynamics of hunger strikes, offers a typology of their forms and motives, and weighs the factors that affect their success or effectiveness. It draws on hunger strikes in world contexts, including England (the suffragette movement), the United States (Guantánamo), Northern Ireland, and Turkey. I develop and revise Foucauldian theories of resistance, feminist theories of embodiment and subjection while also contributing a gender studies perspective often missing from the literature on civil resistance. 

Prior to embarking on an academic career, I lived and worked in the Levant. I am fluent in English and Arabic and speak and write Hebrew at the beginner level. At the University of Leeds, I teach politics and international relations of the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Research interests

My current research interests cover a wide range of areas related to the politics of the Arab, Middle Eastern and Islamic worlds. Geographically, my expertise is strongest in the Levant. I have also researched oral history in Palestine, refugeeism and displacement in the Middle East and Europe, and counter-extremism in Beirut and Amman, within the framework of projects that situate radicalism in a global context.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • BA in English Literature
  • Diploma in Education
  • MA in Global Politics and Law
  • PhD in Middle East Politics

Professional memberships

  • American Political Science Association
  • British Society for Middle Eastern Studies

Student education

I teach gender studies, Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict, modern middle eastern history, and politics, culture, society and religion in the Middle East.