Dr. Magdalena Suerbaum


Forschungsprojekt: Parenting and Education Choices in Contexts of Forced Displacement: Syrian Refugees in Berlin and Cairo


2013 - 2017
MPhil/PhD in Gender Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, United Kingdom; Titel of Dissertation: "Mosaics of masculinity - Gender negotiations among Syrian refugee men in Egypt"
2012 - 2013
MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in Exeter, United Kingdom; Thesis title: "Notions of Identity, Agency and Empowerment among Women affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt" (Grade: Distinction)
2008 - 2011
BA in Oriental Studies at the Philipps-University Marburg in Marburg, Germany; Thesis title: "Female suicide bombers in the Israeli Palestinian conflict" (Grade: 1,0)
Semester Abroad at the Damascus University in Damascus, Syria


Since 2017
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany.
10/2018 - 08/2019
Maternity Leave
Research Assistant for Dr. Ruba Salih at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS in London, United Kingdom.
2010 - 2015
Project Assistant at the Adult Education Centre "Haus Ohrbeck" in Georgsmarienhütte, Germany.
Student Assistant for Prof. Dr. Albrecht Fuess in the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Marburg, Germany.

Teaching Experience

Lecturer, Department of European Ethnology, Humboldt-University Berlin, Germany
Guest Lecturer, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, London
2015 - 2016
Graduate Teaching Assistant, Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, London
Participant in Professional Development in Higher Education Programme, Doctoral School SOAS, London



Masculinities and Displacement in the Middle East: Syrian Refugee Men in Egypt. London: I.B. Tauris. (In Press)

Refereed Journal Articles

(Under review) “Experiencing exclusion in everyday life through legal precarity in post-2015 Germany”. International Migration - Special Issue: Post-2015 refugees in Germany: “Culture of welcome”, solidarity, exclusion?.

(2018) “Becoming and “un-becoming” refugees: Syrian men’s negotiations of masculinity and refugeeness in Egypt”. Men and Masculinities 21(3), pp. 363-382.

(2018) “Defining the Other to Masculinize Oneself: Syrian Men’s Negotiations of Masculinity during Displacement in Egypt”. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society - Special Issue: Displacement 43 (3), pp. 665-686.

(2017) “What does it mean to be young for Syrian men living as refugees in Cairo?”. Middle East – Topics & Arguments – Special Issue: Youth 9, pp. 122-131.

Book Chapters

(2020) “Constructions of masculinities, class and refugee status among Syrian refugee men in Egypt”. In Mora, C. & N. Piper (eds.) Palgrave Handbook on Gender and Migration: Global Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Reviews

(2019) “Refugees, civil society and the state: European experiences and global challenges”, by Ludger Pries. Journal of Urban Affairs 07.09.2019.

(2017) “Masculinities Under Neoliberalism”, by Cornwall, Andrea; Karioris, Frank & Nancy Lindisfarne (eds.).” Allegra Laboratory 15.02.2017.

Conference Presentations


“In search of legal stability: predicaments of asylum-seeking mothers in Germany” - EASA Conference, University of Lisbon (July 21-24).

“Remembering the Syrian civil-war through the lens of motherhood” - British Society for Middle Eastern Research Annual Conference, University of Kent (June 28- 1 July, POSTPONED TO 2021).

“The stroller, the notebook and the plastic bag: Mothering practices among refugees and asylum seekers in Berlin” - Conference “Materializing the Transient: Ethnographies and Museums in the Study of (Forced) Migration”, University of Göttingen (May 13-16).


“The challenge of turning 18: Coming of age as young refugee men from the Middle East in Germany” - British Society for Middle Eastern Research Annual Conference, University of Leeds (June 24-27).

“Class in Relation: Negotiating Class Positions in the Near Diaspora” - Workshop on “Forced Migration, Exclusion and Social Class”, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (May 23-24) - Presentation co-authored with Dr Tabea Scharrer.

“Researching Syrian refugees in Egypt and Germany” - Anthropologies of Syria, workshop organised by CARP/UCL, University College London (May 20).


“Some Initial Reflections on Fieldwork among Refugees and AsylumSeekers in Berlin” - Diversification, workshop organised by Professor Steve Vertovec, Harnack House Berlin (May 24-26).


“Becoming and ‘un-becoming’ refugees – Syrian men’s strategies of creating distance to the refugee label” - Arab Masculinities: Anthropological Reconceptions, Wenner-Gren Workshop, University of Oxford (March 22-24).


“Between manhood, loss and battle age – Syrian young men in Cairo” - Talking ‘bout my generation: Concepts of Youth and Generation in Research on the MENA region, five years after 2011, Philipps University Marburg (November 30- December 2).

“Defining the internal and external ‘Other’ through gendered boundaries – strategies of displaced Syrian men in Egypt” - Seventh Annual Symposium of the Consortium for Asian and African Studies, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (October 22-23) - Selected by a SOAS committee for presentation at the symposium and a fully funded trip.

“Transformation der Bedeutung von Maskulinität unter syrischen Männern in Ägypten” - Tagung des Netzwerks Flüchtlingsforschung, University of Osnabrück, (October 6-8).

“Being a Syrian, a refugee and a man in contemporary Egypt” - European Association of Social Anthropology Conference, Milan 4 University, (July 21-23).

“The, refugee, the researcher and the narrative – power relations in narrative collection among displaced people” - International Association of the Study of Forced Migration Conference, Poznan University (July 12-15).


“To what extent and how did notions of masculinity change during and after the uprising in Egypt in 2011?” - Turkish Society of Exeter & Bosporus Research Centre, Exeter University (May 18).


Conference Funding Grant from the Doctoral School at SOAS, University of London.
PhD Language Acquisition Funding Grant from the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences at SOAS, University of London.
Prince Al Waleed Scholarship from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.
Scholarship for studies abroad, Cusanuswerk - Bischöfliche Studienförderung (funded by the German Catholic Church)
Studentship, Cusanuswerk - Bischöfliche Studienförderung (funded by the German Catholic Church)

Language Skills

German: Mother tongue

Arabic: Fluent

English: Fluent

French: Basic knowledge

Persian: Basic knowledge