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 interested in local intersections of power, security and space in deeply divided societies. 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 contention in Israel-Palestine. I am particularly interested in examining the material effects of urban and interurban transport infrastructures in shaping ethnically-differentiated patterns of mobility, mobilisation and policing in northern Israel (primarily in the Nazareth, Haifa and Wadi Ara regions) and Jerusalem.


  • 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).

In terms of my current research, I am working on two new projects. The first examines spatial strategies of surmounting fear in protest, while the other examines relationships between mobility, gender and space.

Alongside these ongoing research interests, 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