Dr Melissa Gatter

Institute for Global Sustainable Development

Post-doctoral Fellow

A profile picture of Melissa Gatter
Profile picture of A profile picture of Melissa Gatter

Full contact details

Dr Melissa Gatter
Institute for Global Sustainable Development
Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)
219 Portobello
S1 4DP

Melissa Gatter is Research Associate on the Covid-19 PPE & Refugees project, where she conducts participatory action research on the impact of the pandemic on livelihoods for Syrian refugees and Jordanians in Zaatari camp and Mafraq, Jordan. Melissa completed her PhD in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge in 2020. Her PhD research examined the politics of time in Jordan’s Azraq refugee camp based on 14 months of ethnographic research.

At Sheffield, Melissa is preparing a book manuscript based on her PhD and MPhil research in Azraq and Zaatari camps, titled A Nine-to-Five Emergency: A politics of time and power in Azraq refugee camp (American University in Cairo Press, expected 2022). The book interrogates the relationship between time and power in Azraq, asking how a politics of time shapes, limits, or enables everyday life for both the displaced and local aid workers. It uncovers the under-examined but significant temporal dimension of refugee governance, engaging with literature on emergency, bureaucracy, containment, waiting, and optimism. The book aims to shed light on an under-researched camp that presents pressing questions as to the future of humanitarianism and refugee camp management, complicating perceptions of Azraq as the ‘ideal’ refugee camp. It seeks to grant Azraq a long overdue urgency within an apathetic international climate.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Melissa has worked as a humanitarian in communications and in the field for leading aid agencies in Jordan, including Save the Children. She has also consulted on development programmes across the Middle East for Q Perspective Consulting in Jordan. Melissa is passionate about bridging academia and development through responsible research.


PhD, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge (2020)

MPhil, Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge (2016)

BA, International Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and Human Rights, University of Chicago (2015)

Research interests

forced migration; refugee camps; politics of time and space; humanitarian governance and local aid workers; identity; bureaucracy; resistance, resilience, and vulnerability; waiting; cynicism

Research group

PPE & Refugees: Dealing with a crisis by building livelihoods