Thomas Serres

Disciplines: Political scienceSociology
Title and home institution: Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz – Department of Politics and Center for the Middle East and North Africa
Category of Fellowship: Research residency
Residency length: February – June 2021

Research project

“Mobility, hybrid paths and reconfiguration of sovereignty in the Mediterranean” – In partnership with the University of Edinburgh and Frédéric Volpi, Senior Fellow 2021-2023

Summary of the research project

I study the role of transnational actors in the transformations of forms of sovereignty in the western Mediterranean. In this research, I am interested in the spatial and political strategies implemented by binational actors and expatriate opponents living in France, Algeria and Tunisia. I study their speeches and actions aimed at influencing several sensitive debates, mainly the issues of illegal immigration, human rights, terrorism and regime change. The former Islamist militants exiled in Europe are of particular interest to me, especially those engaged in transnational networks for the defence of human rights and the promotion of democracy. I am particularly interested in their political and militant strategies, the influences they claim, their relationship with progressive and “lay” actors and the suspicion resulting from their past commitment and present ambiguity.


Thomas Serres is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a research associate at the UMR Development and Societies. He studies the dynamics of crisis and reorganization of political systems in the Maghreb, and especially in Algeria. His research is at the crossroads of political sociology and critical theory. His first book, L’Algérie face à la catastrophe suspendu: gérer la crise et blâmer le peuple sous Bouteflika, was published in 2019 by Karthala. He also co-edited a collective book entitled North Africa and the Making of Europe: Governance, Institutions and Culture published by Bloomsbury Academic. Thomas Serres is also co-editor of the Maghreb page of the e-zine Jadaliyya.

Appels à candidature

Les résidences de recherche que propose l’Iméra, Institut d’études avancées (IEA) d’Aix-Marseille Université, s’adressent aux chercheurs confirmés – académiques, scientifiques et/ou artistes. Ces résidences de recherche sont distribuées sur quatre programmes (« Arts & sciences : savoirs indisciplinés », « Explorations interdisciplinaires », « Méditerranée » et « Utopies nécessaires »).