The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Una McGahern

Lecturer in Politics


I have been a Lecturer in Politics at Newcastle since September 2013. As a political ethnographer I am particularly interested in intersections between power, security and space. My research is interdisciplinary in nature and engages a range of methods to document hidden histories of violence as well as new and alternative spaces of interaction and contention on the margins of deeply divided societies. My main area of research focuses on Palestinians living in northern Israel (the Galilee and Haifa regions), though I am increasingly interested in exploring comparative dimensions of marginal mobilities in other regional contexts, particularly as they relate to 'spaces apart' both inside and outside cities. 


  • DPhil in Government and International Affairs (Durham University)
  • MA in Research Methods of the Middle East (Durham University)
  • BA in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies (Dublin City University) 


Past, current and future projects

My doctoral research was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Sir Peter Ustinov Prejudice Fund. Examining state attitudes towards Palestinian Christians in Israel, it focused in particular on police responses to instances of intra-communal violence in Nazareth and other mixed Arab villages in the Galilee. This research was subsequently published with Mediterannean Politics  (2010) and resulted in my first book with Routledge (2011).

This research paved the way for a two year Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship examining protest policing in Israel. Examining intersections between protest, policing and place in Israel, this research has been published with International Political Sociology (2016), Security Dialogue (2016) and Political Geography (2017). I am currently working on a paper examining intersections between emotions, space and protest.

Alongside these ongoing research interests, I am interested in exploring ordinary mobilities in deeply divided societies. I remain committed to ethnographic research methods and methodologies as a means of incorporating politics on the margins more fully into mainstream scholarship.   

Areas of potential research supervision:

  • Contentious politics, social movements, mobilisation and protest (especially in Israel and the Middle East)
  • Ethnopolitics and ethnic minorities
  • Political geographies of power 
  • Ethnographic research methods

Postgraduate Supervision

Sarina Theys 

Arnab Ray Chaudhuri


Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship 

Sir Peter Ustinov Prejudice Scholarship

Economic and Social Research Council (1+3) Studentship

Council for British Research in the Levant Award

Ginsburg-Ingerman Scholarship


Undergraduate Teaching

POL2012: Politics of the Middle East

POL3099: Power, Security and Protest in the Middle East

Teaching Awards

 2015: Higher Education Academy Fellowship Award