Hasan Hafidh

Hasan Hafidh

PhD Candidate and PGR Teaching Assistant in Middle Eastern Politics

Summary: PhD in Comparative Politics of the Middle East. Focus on Civil Society Networks and Sectarianism in Gulf States.

Academic Background

BA (Hons) Study of Religions & Theology - University of Manchester (2009 - 2012)

MA (Taught) Religion & Political Life - University of Manchester (2012 - 2013)

Commenced PhD study within AIMES (Arabic, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies) Department in October 2013. 

Thesis Title - From Diwanniyat to Youth Societies: Informal Political Spaces and Contentious Politics in Kuwait and Bahrain. 

With regards to my current research, the interest really commenced with reading Sociology of Religion for my undergraduate degree. I was always intrigued by the role religion (particularly within the context of the MENA region) plays in society and how this manifested in practice, especially tacit theological concepts and how they have shaped and influenced modern day political discourse and state-building, i.e. notions such as subsidiarity. With my Masters degree, I wanted to take what I had previously learned from religious and theological studies and apply it within a political science remit. This entailed examining the intersection between religion and politics and how this plays out at both the level of grass-roots activism and by the state when instituting certain policies that utilise religious sentiment/attitudes/ideas in shaping or determining state-societal and inter-communal relations. This led me to my doctoral research that aims to focus on a relatively under-theorised notion of "informal" civil society and to depart from the scholarship on democratisation that has often dominated civil society discourse. I focus instead on civil society and the impact both traditional and emerging spaces could have on sectarian relations in the Gulf region, with an eye on two case studies - Kuwait and Bahrain.

Research Interests

Civil Society, Informal Spaces, Inter-Communal/Sectarian Relations, Identity Politics. 

In terms of how the research has developed, given that this is a comparative study and is observing relatively under-researched concepts, particularly in the context of the Gulf, I decided that the research would take an inductive approach (so working bottom-up). This meant having some tentative hypotheses in mind but nothing concrete; these hypotheses would form the basis for some of the questions to be used in conducting fieldwork involving both focus groups and semi-structured interviews with outside observers. This approach enables me to detect any emerging themes that require further investigation and is better suited to corroborating data for the empirical chapters, and ultimately forms the key arguments of the thesis.

Research Supervisor

Dr Hendrik Jan Kraetzschmar (Director of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies - AIMES)

Teaching Commitments

MODL 1100 - Politics, Culture and Society

ARAB 1160 -  Introduction to the Middle East: Politics, Culture and Religion

ARAB 2066 - Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict 

ARAB 3110 - Middle Eastern Politics: Regimes, Societies and Conflict

ARAB 5060M -  Debating the Middle East: Islam, Politics and Culture

Conference and Seminar Papers

1. Aarhus University (Denmark) - Workshop on Sectarianism and Regime Formation. 

2. AIMES Public Lecture - Informal Civil Society and Sectarian Relations in Bahrain.

3. MESS Public Lecture - Saudi-Iran Relations: Looking Beyond Sectarian Narratives. 

4. SOAS University - ISIS and Extremism within the Context of GCC States. 

5. Chatham House Workshop - Future Trends in the Gulf. 

Public Engagement 

Media appearances and comments featured in several news outlets including Al-Jazeera, McClatchy D.C, RT, alongside other international news stations across the UK and globally.      

Membership of Professional Institutions/Societies

Member of BRISMES (British Society for Middle Eastern Studies)