Ali Hamdan

Ali Hamdan
Post-doctoral Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

Middle East & Islam
Political Violence
Transnational Politics & Refugees
Critical Geopolitics

Ali Hamdan is a Post-Doctoral Scholar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography. He is an inaugural member of the Mount Vernon Society of Fellows and is a visiting scholar with the Institute for Middle East Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs. He is a critical political geographer whose research touches on the transnational dynamics of civil wars, wartime institutions and social networks; refugees and exile geopolitics, and representations of the Middle East in geopolitical discourse.

Grants & Awards

UCLA Geography Research Travel Grant, Summer 2019

UCLA Dissertation-Year Fellowship (DYF) Award, 2018-2019

Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting Travel Award, 2017

Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) Travel, Research, Engagement (TRE) Grant, Summer 2017

Social Science Research Council (SSRC) Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF), 2016-2017

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship, 2016-2017 (Declined)

American Center for Oriental Research CAORC-ACOR Fellowship, 2015-2016

UCLA Geography Research Travel Grant, Summer 2015

Maurice J. & Fay B. Karpf Peace Prize, 2015

Political Geography Sub-Group Student Travel Award, 2014-2015

Distinguished Teaching Associate Award (Department of Geography), Academic Year 2013-2014.

Graduate Research Mentorship Award, Academic Year 2014-2015

Alice Belkin Memorial Fellowship, 2014

Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award, Summer 2014

Foreign Language & Area Studies Award (Advanced Arabic), Summer 2014

Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Grant, Summer 2013 (Declined)

2nd Place, California Geographical Society Graduate Student Talk Award, 2013.

Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Award, Summer 2012


BA (Middlebury College, 2010)
MA (University of California – Los Angeles, 2013)
PhD (University of California – Los Angeles, 2019)


Articles & Book Chapters

Hamdan, A.N. (2018). “Research Note: War, Place, and the Transnational." Mashriq & Mahjar 5 (1), 127-131.

Loong, S., Sidaway, J.D., Woon, C.Y., Agnew, J., Alff, H., Fluri, J., Hamdan, A., Jones, R., Krichker, D. & N. Megoran. (2018), “Reading Nick Megoran’s Nationalism in Central Asia: A Biography of the Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan Boundary.” Political Geography 72 (1), 134-143.

Gleason, C.J. & A.N. Hamdan (2017). "Crossing the (Watershed) Divide: Satellite Data and the Changing Politics of International River Basins." The Geographical Journal 183 (1), 2-15.

Hamdan, A.N. (2017). “Thoughts from the Provinces (PDF).” International Journal of Middle East Studies 49 (2), 331-334.

Hamdan, A.N. (2017). “Sites of Memory in Lebanon: The Hariri Mosque in Martyrs Square,” in Nikro & Hegasy (eds), The Social Life of Memory: Violence, Trauma, and Testimony in Lebanon and Morocco, 145-168. London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan.

Hamdan, A.N. (2016). “Breaker of Barriers? Notes on the Geopolitics of the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham.” Geopolitics 21 (3), 605-627.


Other Publications

Hamdan, A.N. (2019). “Exile, Place, and Politics: Syria’s Transnational Civil War.” PhD Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles.

Hamdan, A.N. (2017). “Toward a Vocabulary for Syria’s Opposition.” Jadaliyya.

Hamdan, A.N. (2017). “Stretched Thin: Geographies of Syria’s Opposition in Exile (PDF).” POMEPS Studies 25, 32-36.

Hamdan, A.N. (2016). “On Failing to ‘Get it Together’: Syria’s Opposition between Realism and Idealism.” Middle East Report (277), 28-34.

Hamdan, A.N. (2016). “The Displaced as Actors in Syrian Politics.” For The Middle East Institute.

Hamdan, A.N. (2013). “Where’s the State? Practicing the Past in Beirut, Lebanon.” MA Thesis, University of California, Los Angeles.


Book Reviews

Hamdan, A.N. (2018). "Review: Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War" by Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila al-Shami. For Arab World Geographer.

Hamdan, A.N. (2016). Review: Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi’ite South Beirut, by Lara Deeb and Mona Harb (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2013). Arab Studies Journal XXIV (Vol. 1) 315-319.

Hamdan, A.N. (2015). Review: The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication, by Dina Matar, Lina Khatib, and Atef Alshaer (New York, NY: Hurst & Oxford University Press, 2014). Sociology of Islam 03 (3-4), 212-215.


In Press

Hamdan, A.N. (2020). “The Opposition’s Three Territories,” in Cimino, M. (ed.), Syria: Borders, Boundaries, and the State. Palgrave MacMillan. 


Under Review

Hamdan, A.N. “Refugees as Actors in Syria’s War: The Coordinating Class.” For Political Geography.


Manuscripts in Preparation

Hamdan, A.N. “Rethinking Center & Periphery in Syria’s Civil War.” For Journal of Peace Research.

Hamdan, A.N. “Ethnography in Precarious Times.” For Qualitative Research.

Classes Taught

UNIV 1005 – Geographies of Conflict
UNIV 1005 – Nationalism & Geopolitics in the Everyday