Marianna Charountaki

In discussion: Marianna Charountaki

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We recently announced the election of new members of our Executive Committee. We hope this interview series, one with each new trustee, will help you get to know them a little better.  This week it's the turn of Marianna Charountaki who is based at the University of Lincoln.

What is your area of research?

I have been researching the Middle Eastern region in the context of International Relations through extensive field work since 2007. My focus on both state and non-state entities alongside my engagement with the Kurdish case(s) has supported my development of new and innovative disciplinary theoretical maps and conceptualisations, aided by my expertise in the dynamics of the region.

What is it that interests you about Middle Eastern Studies?

Although Middle Eastern Studies tends to exist on the periphery of numerous academic institutions, it is a globally significant field in which many facets remain under-examined and in need of scholarly attention. My ability to combine both knowledge of the IR discipline and regional expertise is an asset that has helped me to follow a unique research path. I am therefore well placed to mentor and guide doctoral candidates and ECRs to combine innovative and rare skill sets and passions to enable them to plot an imaginative career path that draws on their knowledge and lived experiences. 

Do you have any advice for colleagues just embarking on an academic career?

As a result of my experiences, I would advise early-career colleagues to commit to a programme of research that stems from their own interests and those of the communities they seek to advance, and to make thinking outside the box a priority.

What do you hope to achieve during your term as a trustee?

In light of my research expertise and the fact that BISA is a cross-disciplinary institution, I will draw from my experience as Foreign Policy Working Group convener, and use this opportunity to build on my role as trustee and further innovative practices that provide a balance between practice and theory in pursuit of a better understanding of IR.

Initially, I will seek to bring together scholarly associations and research-focused institutions in order to create links between the theoretical expertise and field work. Further, I will prioritise engaging with individuals from different regional and institutional contexts to ensure the representation of diverse voices and agendas, and bridge existing gaps in international scholarship directly. The promotion of regional scholarship and the associated opportunities for accessing a broader range of funders and funding streams is part of what I aim to offer BISA, which in turn would allow the Association to demonstrate international leadership and open up opportunities for joint programmes promoting inclusion and diversity. Fostering relations between BISA and internationally renowned bodies would ensure that the Association is at the forefront of analysing regional and theoretical challenges that emerge in this new era for IR.

Why did you want to be a BISA trustee?

The role of BISA trustee will increase my opportunities for meaningful and sustained interactions with colleagues that share the same objectives and passion for a better future of the discipline.


Next week look out for our interview with Juanita Elias (University of Warwick). This will be published on Tuesday 15 August.