Dr Benjamin Thomas White
- Lecturer in History 1400-present (History)
- Adviser of Studies (PG) (Arts College Graduate School)
I'm a historian of the modern Middle East by background, now teaching and researching on the history of refugees and statelessness in the world at large.
My doctoral research and first book were about Syria in the period of the French mandate (1920–1946). They used the emergence of the concept of 'minority' in political discourse in and about Syria to trace processes of modern state formation in the country: across the territory, as borders were drawn around it and the institutions of the state made their presence felt even in rural areas, and institutionally, as uniform legal institutions gradually developed within the country and it began to fit into an emerging international system of nation-states. As a Goodreads review put it, 'Little or no nudity'.
From there I became interested in refugees and statelessness, first of all in the interwar Middle East and then more generally. I've done research on refugees in French mandate Syria and Lebanon and British mandate Iraq. What started out as a side-project within this has ballooned to become my main focus for the foreseeable future: a global history of the refugee camp. The Glasgow Refugee, Asylum, and Migration Network (GRAMNet) has become the institutional home for this.
- 2014: Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, small research grant for archival research on the Baquba refugee camp, Iraq
- 2014: Council for British Research in the Levant, Arabic bursary
I would be happy to supervise doctoral students wanting to work on the history of refugees and statelessness, anywhere in the world, and especially on aspects of the history of the refugee camp. Other subjects would include the history of humanitarianism, the League of Nations mandates, and French and British imperialism in the Middle East.
At Glasgow this year I am teaching:
- The pre-honours history course, History 1C, on modern European history in its wider context.
- An honours module, 'Middle Eastern cities, 1800–1960: imperialism, cosmopolitanism, and nationalism'.
- A masters module, 'Century of the refugee: refugees and statelessness in comparative perspective, c.1900–2000'.
I am also co-teaching the masters module 'Approaches to history' and contributing a couple of other things here and there.