Dr Hannah Elsisi

Research Fellow, Pembroke College

I am a historian of the modern Middle East, though my research into histories of gender, sexuality, capitalism, incarceration and political violence often takes me further afield.

Before coming to Cambridge as Junior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, I was a lecturer at King’s College London where I taught Modern Middle East and Transnational History and convened a special subject in the history of Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East and North Africa. I joined KCL from Oxford, where I was a PhD student in the History Faculty and T. E. Lawrence Prize scholar at Merton College until I defended my thesis (on Zoom) in June 2020.  

My DPhil thesis - ‘Mu’taqal Machine: Power, Gender and Identity in Egypt’s Political Prisons’ - was awarded the Malcolm H. Kerr Award for best dissertation in the humanities by the Middle East Studies Association and the Leigh Douglas Memorial Award for Best Dissertation by the British Society of Middle East Studies. It was funded by the ESRC among others. I hold an MSc in Economic and Social History from Oxford, an MA in History from the EUI and a BSc in Economics from Sussex.


My research and teaching tend to reflect my political interests and commitments: these span issues of postcolonial governance and violence; queer, gendered and working-class identity; power, production and resistance under capitalist modernities.

I’m currently working on two book projects. The first is a co-authored anthology of prison writing in an Egyptian century. The second is a monograph expounding the intertwined history of carceral and gendered power and identity in modern Egypt.


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Office: K1 

Ivy Court 
Pembroke College