Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies


The centre aims to foster and promote a supportive research and teaching environment for scholars concerned with issues of migration and diaspora, drawing on the skills and expertise of academics situated in disciplines such as anthropology, history, development studies, politics, religion, music and art history.

The centre covers not only the traditional SOAS heartlands of Asia and Africa, but also issues of migration and diaspora in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

Since its inception in 1916, SOAS has built a worldwide reputation for its specialisation in regional scholarship, establishing a long tradition of research which is inherently transnational in character. Through the years, SOAS has built on this strength, and the school has attracted a growing number of academics from a variety of disciplines with interests in issues of transnationality, migration and diaspora.

In 2003, the school began one of the first interdisciplinary MA programmes in Migration and Diaspora Studies in the country, and in 2007, the centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies was established in order to co-ordinate activities across the school and establish collaborative links with other institutions both nationally and internationally.

Centre activities

The centre hosts an annual lecture by a scholar/public figure of international renown who speaks on issues of current interest in the field of migration and diaspora. In addition, weekly seminars are held during term time. Invited speakers include academics, policy makers, and those involved in the arts and media. The centre also hosts workshops, conferences, and films, which aim to challenge current orthodoxy and expand our understanding of a world no longer defined predominantly by the borders of nation-states. Most events are open to the public.

The Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies with the support of the Research and Knowledge Exchange Directorate and a dedicated ESRC IAA team, is currently managing the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)  Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) for the period 2023-2028. This 5-year, £1.25 million award aims to support greater impact in the areas of migration, displacement, minorities and marginalisation.

In addition the centre facilitates the supervision of migration and diaspora related MA dissertations and PhD theses, helping match prospective PhD students with supervisors in the school, and also supports applications for postgraduate research funding.

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