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Julia Doyle

Ms Julia DoyleJulia Doyle (Emmanuel College Derek Brewer Scholarship)

Supervisor: Dr Lauren Wilcox (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)

Memory, Trauma and Identity in Syrian Women’s Oral History of Forced Migration


Based at the borders between the Spanish Enclaves (Ceuta & Melilla) and Morocco, my research aims to explore identity through an interpretivist reading of Syrian refugee women’s narratives, told as oral history. Calling on a theoretical basis in ethnography, narrative theory and International Relations, this project is focused on the constitutive relationships between memories, stories and self-understandings in the context of a discursive battle to define this population of forced migrants. Deepening understanding of how race, gender and other social frames work to shore up, or fragment, individual and collective identities is a core objective of the research. I will ask how Syrian refugee women narrativize their memories of forced displacements; whether their narrative strategies construct a ‘displaced identity’; and what these processes of narrativization and identity construction can tell us about how power functions in discourses and practices surrounding forced migration and its actors.


I completed my BA in History and English at Merton College, Oxford in 2014 and graduated from a Research MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2016. Following that I trained as a CELTA qualified English as a Second Language teacher and taught university students in Seville, Spain until returning to the U.K. to begin my PhD. Throughout my studies, in different disciplines and at different institutions, I have focused on narrative, identity, trauma and forced migration, most notably in regard to post-Partition India and Pakistan in both my BA and MSc theses. My PhD research marks a turn to studying these themes in a contemporary context. Alongside my studies, I have written for a recently launched foreign affairs website that aims to promote writing by women on International Relations and foreign policy; my articles have focused on the ‘scripts’ of online diplomacy after disaster and on the silencing of female politicians in their respective houses of representation.

Research Interests:

Memory; trauma; narrative; collective identity; national identity; forced migration; borders; oral history; human security; subjectivity.

Other writing:

‘From Westminster to Washington, an “Old Boys Club” is Silencing Female Politicians’ (28/09/17)

 ‘We’ll Keep You in Our Tweets: Leaders Respond to Tragedy in the Digital Age’ (01/06/17)