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Assistant Professor In Politics and Islam in the School of Government and International AffairsRoom 201a, Al Qasimi Building+44 (0) 191 33 45672


I joined Durham University in 2019 as an Assistant Professor in Politics and Islam to work on the comparative politics of the Middle East. I have two current projects. First, I study the dilemmas of Islamism in the wake of the Arab uprisings, looking at the internal dynamics of contemporary Islamist mobilizations and rethinking concepts of post-Islamism. Most of my fieldwork in recent years has focused on the trajectories of Islamism in Tunisia. Second, I’m writing about the politics of protest in the Middle East through a region-wide comparative analysis of contentious politics and claims to dignity.

Before coming to Durham I spent three years as a Fellow by Examination at Magdalen College, Oxford. Previously, I worked as a foreign correspondent with the Guardian, with postings in Islamabad, Baghdad, Beirut, and Jerusalem. I have a BA in History from Cambridge and an MPhil in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and a DPhil in Oriental Studies from Oxford.

Twitter: @rmccarthy

Research interests

  • Islamism
  • Comparative Politics of the Middle East
  • International Relations of the Middle East
  • Contentious Politics


Authored book

  • McCarthy, Rory (2018). Inside Tunisia's al-Nahda: Between Politics and Preaching. Cambridge Cambridge University Press.
  • McCarthy, Rory (2006). Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq. London: Chatto & Windus.

Chapter in book

  • McCarthy, Rory (2016). The Tunisian uprising, Ennahdha, and the revival of an Arab-Islamic Identity. In Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East. Holliday, Shabnam J. & Leech, Philip Rowman & Littlefield International. 157-176.

Edited book

  • Roberts, Adam, Willis, Michael J., McCarthy, Rory & Garton Ash, Timothy (2016). Civil Resistance in the Arab Spring: Triumphs and Disasters. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Journal Article

Supervision students