skip to content

Sociology Research


Zeina Al Azmeh is the Centenary Research Fellow at Selwyn College, Cambridge, and a guest lecturer at the Department of Sociology. She is also a research associate at the Centre for Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge. With a multidisciplinary approach that bridges cultural and political sociology, Zeina's research centers on the experiences of academics and intellectuals in exile. Her expertise lies in the political sociology of knowledge production, memorialization, and migration, particularly focusing on migrations resulting from revolutions and counterrevolutions.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Zeina is also a trained musician, holding a bachelor's degree in piano performance and a master's degree in composition. She completed her PhD in Sociology from the University of Cambridge in 2021, where she conducted an in-depth investigation into the role of exiled Syrian intellectuals in civil resistance since 2011.

Research Interests

Zeina's research interests revolve around the intersections of cultural trauma, forced migration, and the sociology of intellectuals, with a particular emphasis on the role of exiled intellectuals in shaping political subjectivities, especially within revolutionary movements. In her previous work, Zeina focused on the empirical context of the Syrian Uprising in 2011. Her research delved into the intricate relationship between "nomadic subjectivity" and the concept of home as a fixed place, particularly within the contexts of exile and forced displacement. Her current project takes a comparative approach in examining the impact of the outcomes of a revolutionary movement on knowledge productions processes particularly as they relate to the formation of political subjectivities in exile.


Zeina’s teaching experience extends over 20 years gained in a variety of diverse environments, in the global north and south.  She was a guest lecturer at the University of Cambridge’s department of sociology in 2022/23 where she taught ‘Theories of Modernity’ as part of the department’s Introduction to Sociology. Over the past 7 years, she has also supervised undergraduate courses at the Cambridge's Department of Sociology. Her teaching aims to expand on the theoretical cannon to include previously marginalised scholarship where relevant to enrich students' learning and classroom discussion.  In 2016 and 2017, she taught an undergraduate course in the medical humanities titled Medicine and the Arts engaging 2 cohorts of medical students at Qatar University using problem-based learning (PBL) and conducted a pedagogical study published as a chapter on the usefulness of arts-based methods in professional education (Palgrave, 2017).  In her early career and for 3 years, she was a lecturer in music theory at the Higher Institute of Music in Damascus, Syria.


all papers come here

Key Publications - Book Chapters

Al Azmeh, Z. (Forthcoming) Exilic narrations: from a politics of being perceived to a politics of perceiving. In J Parpart & A Khalid (Eds.), Silence, Voice and the In-Between: exploring a world in flux. Routledge. 

Al Azmeh, Zeina and Du, Xiangyun. 2017. Arts and Medicine: Connecting the Arts and Humanities to Professional Education. In T. Chemi  X. Du, Arts-Based Methods and Organizational Learning. Palgrave Macmillan

Key Publications - Journal Articles

Al Azmeh, Z. and Dillabough, J. (Forthcoming). Authorial Power, Authoritarianism, and Exiled Intellectuals: Syria and Turkey. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society. DOI 


Al Azmeh, Z. (2021). The right to meaning: A Syrian case study. Cultural Sociology.  

Baert, P. and Al Azmeh, Z. (2021). Intellectuals. In L. Spillman (Ed.), Oxford bibliographies. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199756384-0261 

Al Azmeh, Z, McLaughlin, C. Dillabough, J., Fimyara, O., Abdualateef, S., Abedtalas, M. Al Abdullahe, A.Al Oklah, Al-Hussein, Al Ibrahim, Al Mohamad Barmu, Rashid Mamog, Shaban. (2020). Cultural trauma and the politics of access to higher education in Syria. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education. 

McLaughlin, C. Dillabough, J., Fimyara, O., Al Azmeh, Z., Abdualateef, S.,  Abedtalas, M. Al Abdullahe, A.Al Oklah, Al-Hussein, Al Ibrahim, Al Mohamad Barmu, Rashid Mamog, Shaban (2020). Testimonies of Syrian Academic Displacement Post-2011: Time, place and the agentic self. International Journal of Educational Research Open. On-line publication doi: 10.1016/j.ijedro.2020.100003

Dillabough, J., Fimyar, O., McLaughlin, Al Azmeh, Z, Abdualateef, S., Abedtalas, M. (2018). Conflict, insecurity and the political economies of higher education: The case of Syria post-2011. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development. 

Al Azmeh, Zeina. 2014. Nomadic Feminism: Four Lines of Flight. European Scientific Journal. June 2014 /SPECIAL/ edition vol.2

Kassim, Norizan Mohd; Najdawi, Mohamad; Al Azmeh, Zeina; Sadiq, Hissa. 2010. Effects of institutional reform on corporate image and value in a developing country context, Measuring Business Excellence, 14:2 32 – 45

Key Publications - Other

Dillabough J., Fimyar, O., McLaughlin, C., Al Azmeh, Z. and Jebril, M. (2018a) Syrian higher education pre-2011: Literature review and enquiry, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge – Report.

Dillabough J., Fimyar, O., McLaughlin, C., Al Azmeh, Z. and Jebril, M. (2018b) Syrian higher education post-2011: Literature review and enquiry, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge – Report.

PhD Supervisor

Patrick Baert

Research Groups & Affiliations

Job Title:
PhD Candidate, Centenary Research Fellow, Selwyn College
Contact Information:
Full CV / Publications: