Dr Leila Ullrich, PhD (Oxford), MSc (Oxford), BSc (LSE)
Lecturer in Law and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Email: email@example.comRoom Number: Mile End
Dr Leila Ullrich joined Queen Mary in September 2019 as a Lecturer in Law. Previously, she was a British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Criminology at the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford and William Golding Junior Research Fellow at Brasenose College.
Her research interests lie in the sociology and gender logics of international law and her current research examines the interplay between terrorism, counter-terrorism and gender through a comparative case study of the United Kingdom, Kenya and Lebanon.
In 2017, she received her PhD in Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford which explored the interpretation, use and practice of ‘justice for victims’ and ‘gender justice’ at the International Criminal Court. She is currently writing up her monograph for publication with Oxford University Press.
Before starting her postdoctoral research, Leila worked as social stability analyst at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Lebanon. In this capacity she conceptualized, secured funding for and managed an Innovation Project ‘Speak your Mind to Prevent Conflict in Lebanon’, a qualitative WhatsApp survey of Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities to better understand local conflict dynamics and needs.
She was also the Convenor of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) network and worked for the International Criminal Court.
Speak up via WhatsApp: A Qualitative WhatsApp Survey of Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon (with the United Nations Development Programme)
This research project grew out of my work as social stability analyst with UNDP in Lebanon. Working on the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and particularly on social stability questions, I was frustrated by the lack of in-depth qualitative data and bottom-up approaches. To address this gap, I proposed and was awarded an innovation grant to develop a qualitative WhatsApp survey tool. In Lebanon, the use of WhatsApp is widespread with 78% of refugee households using it. And WhatsApp has the voice message function which allowed us to send survey questions as voice messages and more than a 1000 people participated in the survey sharing their stories and insights on wide-ranging topics such as their safety, needs, conflict dynamics, gender relationships and their vision of the future.
Empirically, the survey revealed that host community/refugee relationships are not well understood through generic national or confessional labels such as ‘Syrian’/’Lebanese’ or ‘Sunni’/’Christian’ but are mediated on the ground through gender, race, age and class but also neighbourly relationships, friendships and local politics. Methodologically, it demonstrated WhatsApp’s potential for significantly scaling up qualitative data, producing more inclusive, ‘real-time’ people-generated data that foregrounds their ideas and analysis, while relying on a form of communication that they are comfortable with.
For more information about this research, see Leila Ullrich, ‘Below the Surface: Results of a WhatsApp Survey of Syrian Refugees and Host Communities in Lebanon’, UNDP Research Report, January 2019 and ‘Speak Up Via WhatsApp: Understanding the Life Worlds of Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon’, UNDP Research Report, April 2018. For more information on how to do qualitative WhatsApp surveying, see our UNDP WhatsApp Surveying Guide.
Examples of research funding:
British Academy Postdoctoral Research Project (2018-2021)
Mind the Gap: Exploring the Interplay between Gender, Terrorism and Counterterrorism
Women have become difficult to ignore in terrorism yet attempts to consider them in counter-terrorism are rare and efforts to integrate a gender perspective even rarer. To close this gap, this project addresses two questions: first, how do terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions conceptualize women and with what effect on them? Second, how do women make sense of their role vis-à-vis both terrorist and counter-terrorist institutions? These questions will be explored through a comparative case study of the United Kingdom, Kenya and Lebanon.
This project breaks new grounds by exploring how ideas of ‘femininity’, ‘masculinity’ and other gender constructs shape terrorism and counter-terrorism. It problematizes the strict separation of terrorism and counterterrorism in the literature by investigating how each feeds off the other’s gender assumptions and how women negotiate their agency at their intersection. Employing an interdisciplinary perspective, the project aims to rethink the interplay between gender, terrorism and counter-terrorism through a unique cross-cultural study.
Refereed journal articles
- Leila Ullrich, 'But what about Men?: Gender Disquiet in International Criminal Justice', Theoretical Criminology, published online 28 November 2019
- L. Ullrich, ‘Beyond the “Global-Local Divide”: Victims, Local Intermediaries and the Justice
- Politics of the International Criminal Court’, Journal of International Criminal Justice 14(3) (2016): 543-568.
- C. Hoyle and L. Ullrich, ‘New Court, New Justice? The Evolution of ‘Justice for Victims’ at
- Domestic Courts and the International Criminal Court’, Journal of International Criminal Justice 12(4) (2014): 681-703.
Monographs in preparation
- L. Ullrich, ‘The (Un-)making of “Justice for Victims” at the International Criminal Court’, Oxford University Press (2021 Forthcoming).
Articles in preparation
- L. Ullrich, ‘“But What about Men?”: Gender Discomfort in International Criminal Justice’.
- L. Ullrich, ‘Refugees as Border Intellectuals: Global Knowledge Production through Social Media’.
Impact publications and research reports
- L. Ullrich, ‘Below the Surface: Results of a WhatsApp Survey of Syrian Refugees and Host
- Communities in Lebanon’, UNDP Research Report, 2019.
- L. Ullrich, ‘Qualitative WhatsApp Surveying Guide: Lessons Learnt from Two WhatsApp Survey
- Pilots in Lebanon’, UNDP Innovation Guide, 2019.
- L. Ullrich, ‘Speak up via WhatsApp: Understanding the Life Worlds of Syrian Refugees and Host
- Communities in Lebanon’, UNDP Research Report, 2018.
- J. Viebach, L. Ullrich, M. Gawronski and C. Hoyle, ‘Innovative Media for Change: Opportunities and Challenges of Media Collaboration in Transitional Justice’, Oxford Transitional Justice Research Report, 2016.
- N. Palmer, L. Ullrich et al., ‘Transitional Justice Methods Manual’ with Oxford Transitional Justice Research and Swisspeace, 2013.
- L Ullrich, 'Book Review of Nicola Palmer, Courts in Conflict: Interpreting the Layers of Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda (OUP, 2015)' (2018) Journal of International Criminal Justice.
I welcome prospective doctoral researchers who want to work on issues related to international criminal justice, transitional justice, victimology, feminist theory, terrorism and counter-terrorism, migration and global knowledge production. If interested, please contact me with a CV and short summary of your proposed project.
Webinars and Podcasts
- UN Innovation Webinar with Leila Ullrich, ‘WhatsApp Surveying as Monitoring Tool’, 22 October 2019 (forthcoming).
- UNDP Podcast with Leila Ullrich, ‘WhatsApp for What’s Down’, Colour of Innovation 2019 - This is a story of how UNDP Lebanon is using WhatsApp, one of the world’s most popular messaging applications, to help people speak their minds and shape their own narratives.
- L. Ullrich, Podcasts of Public Talks and Panels, University of Oxford.
Media Articles and Blog Posts
- L. Ulrich,'Town vs. People: insights from a Qualitative Whatsapp Survey in Lebanon', Jadaliyya, 23 Dec 2019.
- L. Ullrich, ‘Speak your mind’ to prevent conflict’, UNDP Blog, 28 March 2018.
- L. Ullrich, ‘Doing Gender Justice in Northern Uganda’, Open Democracy, 23 July 2015.