Prof. Dr. Sophia Hoffmann

Affiliated Researcher

Prof. Dr. Sophia Hoffmann
Prof. Dr. Sophia Hoffmann


Since 2017
Principal Investigator for the Junior Research Group (“Nachwuchsgruppe”) : "Learning Intelligence: The Exchange of Secret Service Knowledge between Germany and the Arab Middle East 1960–2010". Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin.
2014 - 2016
Post-Doctoral Fellow (Co-Fund/Marie Curie), Institute for International and Intercultural Studies, University of Bremen, Germany. Title of research project: "Humanitarian Action and Security in the Middle East".
2011 - 2013
Teaching fellow and course convenor, Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action, Geneva Graduate Institute, Geneva, Switzerland.


PhD (SOAS, University of London)
MSc International Relations (London School of Economics, London)
BA (1st Class) International Relations with Development Studies, University of Sussex.



2016: Iraqi Migrants in Syria: The Crisis before the Storm. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Journal Articles

2021  "Circulation, not Cooperation: Towards a new understanding of intelligence agencies as transnationally constituted knowledge providers", Intelligence and National Security, online 1st Juli 2021.

2021 (under review) 2021 “Comparing the international economic practices of Iraqi and West German intelligence agencies”, Globalizations.

2020 "Arab students and the Stasi: Agents and objects of intelligence", Security Dialogue, Online First, 31st March 2020.

2017: “Humanitarian security in Jordan’s Azraq Camp”, Security Dialogue, 48 (2), 97-112.

2017: „Die politische Gegen-Topographie internationaler Migration“. Berliner Debatte Initial 2017 (4).

2017: „There is no alternative: Der Aufstieg der humanitären Hilfe in der internationalen Politik“, 5(1) Zeitschrift für Friedens- und Konfliktforschung, Heft 1 (mit Kai Koddenbrock)

2016:  “The National Body in Syria and Israel: Comparing Processes of Unity and Fragmentation”, Middle East Critique, Volume 25 (3), 229-247. (mit Katherine Natanel)

2016: “International Humanitarian Agencies and Iraqi Migration in pre-conflict Syria”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Volume 48 (2) pp. 339-355.

2015: Article (peer reviewed) “Wen schützen Flüchtlingslager? Care and Control im Jordanischen Lager Azraq“. Peripherie, Nr. 138/9

2012: “The Humanitarian Regime of Sovereignty: INGOs and Iraqi Migration to Syria.” Refuge 28.1, Spring 2012.

Working Papers

2019: “Why is there no IR scholarship on intelligence agencies? Some ideas for a new approach”, ZMO Working Paper Series.

2016: Turkish immigration politics and the Syrian refugee crisis. Berlin: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik. (with Sahizer Samuk)

2010: Research report “Sovereignty in the Lives of Iraqis in Damascus”, CBRL Bulletin 5.1.

2007: Iraqi Refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic: A Field-Based Snapshot, Brookings-Bern Project on Internal Displacement, DC: Brookings Institution. (with al-Khalidi, A. and Tanner, Victor).


2012: Book review: Kern, K. 2011. Imperial Citizen: Marriage and Citizenship in the Ottoman Frontier Provinces of Iraq. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, Review of Middle Eastern Studies, 46 (2).

2015: Book review: Al-Ali N. and Al-Najjar, D. 2012. We are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War. Syracuse: SUP. Review of Middle Eastern Studies, 47 (2).

Academic Conferences and Workshops

2018: ECPR Annual Conference, Hamburg; Workshop, ZMO, Berlin.

2017: Annual Conference, German IR Association, Bremen.

2016: Conference, Forschungskolleg „The Transformative Power of Europe, FU  Berlin; European Workshops in International Studies, Tübingen; Annual Conference “Arbeitskreis Friedens- und Konfliktforschung”, Villigst.

2015: Workshop, University of Bremen: Workshop, University of Hamburg, Workshop, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Delmenhorst; Congress, German Association of Political Science (DVPW), Duisburg.

2010: World Congress of Middle East Studies, Barcelona.

2011: Middle East Studies Association Annual Conference, Washington DC; British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Annual Conference, Exeter, UK.

Outreach / Consultancy / Key Notes

Orient Institute, Beirut -- Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin -- German Ministry of Defence, Berlin.
German Association of IR PhD Students, Tutzing -- Refugee Studies Centre, St. Anthony’s College Oxford, UK--
Brandenburg Böll Stiftung, Biesenthal; Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin.
University of Bremen, Bremen; University of Milan.
FU Berlin Summer School, Amman, Jordan.
Overseas Development Institute, London.
Geneva Graduate Institute.
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin.

Media Articles

"Refugee Rights Hit the Wall", Middle East Report and Information Project (MERIP) 48 (286).
“Wem nützt der Islamische Staat?”, Zenith Online, (with Roy Karadag)
„Das Wissen über die Lager ist gering“, Interview with Sophia Hoffmann, taz.
(2014) “Die Schutzflehenden: Binnenflüchtlinge im Irak”, Zenith Online,
(2014) “Nowhere to turn for Mosul's Refugees”, Middle East Report Blog,
“Does Chemical Weapons Use by the Syrian Government present a Watershed?”, in: E-International Relations,

Teaching Activities

FU Berlin, MA International Relations: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis in International Perspective
2018 - 2019
FU Berlin, BA Politics: Intelligence Agencies and International Relations
2017 - 2018
FU Berlin, BA Politics: Refuge and Migration in the Middle East
Geneva Graduate Institute, MA Humanitarian Action: Humanitarian Action and Armed Conflict
Geneva Graduate Institute, MA Humanitarian Action: Humanitarian Action and Development

Grants and Prizes

Volkswagen Foundation, Freigeist Fellowship (EUR 700,400)
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg, Junior-Research Fellowship (costs for an international conference)
EU Marie Curie / University of Bremen, COFUND Post-Doc Fellowship (EUR 150,000)
Syrian Studies Association, Prize for best doctoral thesis (USD 100)
SOAS University of London, Ousely Memorial Fellowship (GBP 6,000)
Council for British Research on the Levant, Junior Visiting Fellowship (GDP 2,550)
Central Research Fund Grant from University of London to support field research in Syria. (GBP 900)
London School of Economics Graduate Merit Award from the LSE to outstanding applicants to one of their Master’s programmes. (GBP 500)
Val McNaughton Memorial Prize from University of Sussex for academic achievement in International Relations (highest grade average of all graduating students in 2002).


  • German Association of Political Science (DVPW)
  • Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Vorderer Orient (DAVO)
  • Middle East Studies Association (MESA)
  • Syria Studies Association
  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • British International Studies Association (BISA)


  • German: native speaker
  • English: native speaker (bilingual)
  • French: fluent
  • Spanish: fluent
  • Arabic: upper intermediate