Dr Polly Withers

Dr Polly Withers

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Middle East Centre

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Arabic, English
Key Expertise
Middle East

About me

Polly is an ESRC LSE Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Media and Communications and the Middle East Centre. Her interdisciplinary, ethnographic and gender-sensitive research explores everyday politics in Palestinian preformative and expressive music practices. She is particularly concerned with tracing the identities, relations, hierarchies and social contexts such popular cultural idioms form, and when these shift. 

During her time at LSE, Polly will be working with Dr Shakuntala Banaji. Currently, she is developing a monograph based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in Palestine (in Haifa, Ramallah and Jerusalem) and its diaspora (in Amman and London), with the 'alternative' youth music scene in Palestine. This is based on her ESRC-funded PhD thesis in Middle East Politics (University of Exeter, 2017), for which she was awarded the 2018 BRISMES-Leigh Douglas Memorial Prize for the best PhD dissertation on a Middle Eastern topic in the humanities and social sciences. 


Prior to joining LSE, Polly was the 2017–18 Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Centre for British Research in the Levant, at the Kenyon Institute in Jerusalem. She also holds an ESRC-funded MA in Middle East Studies (University of Exeter), an AHRC-funded MA in Gender Studies (SOAS) and a BA in International Relations (University of Exeter). 

Expertise Details

Palestine; cultural studies; popular culture; popular music; gender; queer theory; performance studies; critical political theory