SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Ms Magdalena Suerbaum

BA (Philipps-Universit├Ąt Marburg), MA (University of Exeter)
  • Teaching


Magdalena Suerbaum
Ms Magdalena Suerbaum
Email address:
Thesis title:
Mosaics of masculinity - Gendering the experience of male Syrian refugees in Egypt
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

This research project discusses the predicament of Syrian refugees in Egypt focussing on how Syrian men in particular face the challenges stemming from displacement. Data for this research was collected during fourteen month of ethnographic fieldwork in Cairo.  This project is positioned at the disciplinary intersection of the study of forced migration, Middle Eastern studies and gender studies. 

I analyse how the challenging and uncertain situation Syrians face in Egypt impact on their everyday life, changes their perception of responsibilities and traditions, and positions them vis-à-vis the Egyptian host society, the Syrian community, and the civil war. This project is not exclusively about men but also includes how Syrian women dealt with displacement even though to a lesser extent. It is sensitive to the perspectives and realities of different generations, taking in focus students at university, men in their late twenties and thirties, who aim to get married and men, who are thirty or older and are fathers. The major foci of this project are changes in work and marriage patterns, new approaches to fatherhood, the negotiation of traditional and ideal roles of masculinity and femininity, the contact with the Egyptian host population and the negotiation of the refugee category.


  • oas.a“Between manhood, loss and battle age – Syrian young men in Cairo”. Paper accepted for presentation at the international workshop “Talking ‘bout my generation: Concepts of Youth and Generation in Research on the MENA region, five years after 2011, held in Marburg, Germany. (November 2016)
  • “Transformation der Bedeutung von Maskulinität unter syrischen Männern in Ägypten”. Paper accepted for presentation at Tagung des Netzwerks Flüchtlingsforschung 2016 held in Osnabrück, Germany. Panel “(Un)Sichtbarkeit von Gender? Geschlechterbezüge und –bedeutungen auf der Flucht und in Flüchtlingssituationen“ convened by Dr Ulrike Krause & Prof Dr Karin Scherschel. (October 2016)
  •  “Being a Syrian, a refugee and a man in contemporary Egypt”. Paper accepted for presentation at EASA Conference 2016 held in Milano, Italy. Panel “Anthropology of the ‘New Arab Man’” convened by Dr Marcia Inhorn & Dr Nefissa Naguib. (July 2016)
  • “The, refugee, the researcher and the narrative – power relations in narrative collection among displaced people”. Paper accepted for presentation at the 16th IASFM Conference held in Poznan, Poland. Panel “Situating Narratives” convened by Dr Anita Fabos & Dr Dianna Shandy. (July 2016)
  • “Faces of Displacement. Constructions of the self and discourses about refugee-ness across the Mediterranean region”. Workshop Director at XIII Conference of the Italian Society for Middle Eastern Studies (SeSaMO), Title of Conference “Migrants: Communities, Borders, Memories, Conflicts”. (March 2016)
  •  “Diaspora and Transnationalism”. Attendance of Summer Short Course at the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies – American University of Cairo. (June 2015)
  • “Refugees hosted during political transitions: Understanding the Protection Needs of Vulnerable Migrants and Refugees”. Attendance of Winter Short Course at the Centre for Migration and Refugee Studies – American University of Cairo. (February 2015)
  • “To what extent and how did notions of masculinity change during and after the uprising in Egypt in 2011?“ Paper presented at the conference “The Arab Spring, the Middle East and Turkey” organised by the Turkish Society of Exeter & Bosporus Research Centre. (May 2013)


  • SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research - member of the editing team


Graduate Teaching Assistant, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS – London, UK. Core course for students of M.A. Gender Studies - “Gender Theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East” (September 2015 - July 2016)