Carpi Estella

Estella Carpi (PhD) is a social anthropologist primarily concerned with how societies respond to crisis and crisis management. Her work primarily revolves around the identity politics of humanitarianism and forced displacement in the Arab majority Levant and Turkey. She received her PhD from the University of Sydney in Australia (2015), with a project on humanitarian aid provision in contemporary Lebanon. Between 2017 and 2022, Estella has been a Research Associate in the Migration Research Unit (Department of Geography) at University College London, where she has worked on South-South humanitarianism. Between 2016 and 2017, she has been a Research Associate in the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (UCL) and a Humanitarian Affairs Advisor at Save the Children UK, working on the urban-humanitarian nexus. In 2016, she was awarded the "Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East" research grant from the Centre for International and Regional Studies (Georgetown University-Qatar), to undertake a study on the border politics of livelihoods in southern Turkey and northern Lebanon. Estella has lectured extensively in Arabic and Islamic Studies (Università degli Studi di Milano and the University of New South Wales), in the Sociology of Human Rights, Social Protest, and Social Inequality (The University of Sydney), and in Humanitarian Studies (University of Turin and University of Pisa). After studying Arabic in Milan and Damascus (2002-2008), she worked in several academic and research institutions in the Middle Eastern region, such as the New York University of Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and Trends Research and Advisory (UAE), UN-Habitat Lebanon, the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon Support, UNDP-Egypt (Cairo), and the International Development Research Centre (Cairo). Her work has been published in several international academic journals, such as "Third World Quarterly", the "Journal of Refugee Studies", and "Middle East Critique". She is the author of "Specchi Scomodi. Etnografia delle Migrazioni Forzate nel Libano Contemporaneo", published with Mimesis (in Italian).


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Humanitarian Studies: An interdisciplinary approach
Humanitarian Action in Conflict Processes
This module will illustrate the practical impact of humanitarian assistance provision on the areas and the subjects of intervention, and the way in which aid can provide a deeper understanding of conflict and social responses to conflict.
Neutrality and Impartiality in Conflict Processes
The class will be given a framework to understand the key roles of neutrality and impartiality - the traditional humanitarian principles - in paving the way to peace or fuelling different forms of conflict. The module will also provide the students with examples of identity bias and political marginalisation in humanitarian settings - such as the practices of Faith-Based Organisations, considered ill-placed to guarantee neutrality.
Humanitarianism, development, and security
This module will provide the students with an understanding of forced migrations in relation to the maintenance of political order and security. An explanation of how the humanitarian system is based on a labelling order will be provided with the purpose of clarifying the humanitarianism, development, and security nexus.



Anthropology of the Middle East
This course, composed of 3 modules, explores the anthropology of Middle Eastern societies. It considers a variety of socio-cultural forms and life experiences in the Middle East and examine debates, approaches, and challenges that anthropologists generally deal with when they study the region. Even though the course does not cover all of the Middle Eastern societies and themes, it provides students with the critical tools to investigate other aspects of life in the Middle East


Understanding migration and humanitarian affairs
Students will first familiarise with the migration regimes across different geographic areas and their socio-political implications. They will also become able to analyse migration and crisis-stricken settings and recognise their socio-cultural specificities. They will be provided with the analytical skills to understand the key roles of neutrality and impartiality – the traditional humanitarian principles – in humanitarian programming. They will also know how to identify different cultures of aid provision. The 9-hour course will provide students with substantial theoretical and practical knowledge to work in (non)academic research, aid, migration and welfare settings. The exemplification of theory through two research studies will make them able to identify different forms and environments of assistance, such as urban versus rural, as well as variegated models of service provision cutting across the Global South-Global North binary.


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