Idil Akinci

Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow


İdil joined the University of Edinburgh in September 2019 as an Early Career Teaching and Research Fellow. Her research interests and experience centre around the issues of national identity, citizenship and belonging in multicultural societies, with a focus on the Arab Gulf States.

She holds a PhD in Migration Studies from the University of Sussex, where she explored the everyday experiences of national identity and citizenship by young Arab migrant communities and Emirati citizens in Dubai. İdil also conducted fieldwork in Dubai with South Asian migrant communities during 2012-2013 as a part of her MA degree in Sociology at the City, University of London. She has published her work in Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies.

İdil has taught a number of undergraduate courses in sociology, migration, human geography, and social anthropology both at the University of Sussex and Zayed University in Dubai. She is currently working on her post-doctoral research, where she investigates how Syrians, born and raised in the Arabian Gulf States, develop new strategies to acquire alternative citizenship from Western European countries, taking into consideration the ripple effects of the political situation present in Syria and the ramifications of such upon their relationship to citizenship and future plans, within the Gulf and Europe.

Postgraduate teaching

Idil is convening an honours and MSc course on Muslims in Europe that will be offered in Term 2 

Past project grants

ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, (2018-2019)

Chancellor’s International Research Excellence Scheme, University of Sussex, fully funded doctoral research (2014-2018)

Journal Articles

Akinci, Idil. (2019) Dressing the nation? Symbolizing Emirati national identity and boundaries through national dress, Ethnic and Racial Studies, DOI: 10.1080/01419870.2019.1665697

Akinci, Idil. (2019) Culture in the ‘Politics of Identity’: Conceptions of national identity and citizenship among second generation non-Gulf Arab migrants in Dubai, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

Book chapters

Akinci, Idil. (forthcoming) Researching identity in the Gulf States. In L. Charles et al, Researching the Middle East: Cultural, Conceptual, Theoretical and Practical Issues, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Akinci, Idil. (forthcoming) The role of Arabic language in constructing Emirati national identity among young Emiratis in Dubai. In. N. Allam et al, Gulf Cooperation Council Culture and Identities in the New Millennium: Resilience, Transformation, (Re) Creation and Diffusion, Contemporary Gulf Studies, Palgrave Macmillan


Book Reviews

Akinci, Idil. (2018). Everyday Conversions: Islam, Domestic Work, and South Asian Migrant Women in Kuwait A. Ahmad: Duke University Press 2017. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(8), pp.1341-1343.

Akinci, Idil. (2016). Migrant Dubai: low wage workers and the construction of a global city. L. Kathiravelu: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 40(8), pp.1341-1343.

Akinci, Idil. (2016). Impossible Citizens: Dubai's Indian Diaspora N. Vora Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2013. The Australian Journal of Anthropology, 27(1), pp.131-132.



Akinci, Idil. (2018). Why more research on the bottom-up constructions of national identity in the Gulf states is important, LSE Middle East Blog,

Akinci, Idil. (2018). The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society: Open Democracy