Kamaran Palani

Post-Doctoral Fellow

B.A. (Salahaddin University-Erbil), M.A. (Keele University), Ph.D. (Leiden University)

My research broadly centers on de facto statehood, sovereignty, ethnic politics, power-sharing, peace and conflict dynamics. Additionally, I delve into topics including the prevention of violent extremism, addressing internal displacement, examining the roles of youth and civil society, evaluating educational initiatives, and exploring the situation of ethno-religious minorities in Iraq. Moreover, my research encompasses a comprehensive analysis of Kurdish politics in the broader Middle Eastern context.

As a Post-Doctoral Fellow, I am currently conducting research on the project ‘Citizen Inclusion in Power-Sharing Settlements’ under the supervision of Professor Allison McCulloch. This project adopts a comparative and multi-methods research framework to explore the emergence, performance, and evolution of power-sharing settlements in a range of countries, including Bosnia-Herzegovina, New Caledonia, Lebanon, Iraq, and Cyprus. We aim to understand the factors that influence citizens’ decisions to endorse or reject such settlements, as well as their capacity to shape these agreements through mechanisms like elections or referendums. We will employ a mixed methods approach, which includes archival research, focus groups and elite interviews, experiments, and longitudinal public opinion surveys, focusing on citizens, community leaders, and government policies.

Selected Publications


(2022) Kurdistan’s De Facto Statehood: A New Explanatory Framework. Routledge.

Book Chapter

(2021) Youth Radicalisation in Kurdistan: The Government Responses. In Bahar Baser and Shivan Fazil (Eds.), Youth Identity, Politics and Change in Contemporary Kurdistan.

Journal Article

(2023) Fluid State-Building in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Taking Advantage of the 2003 US-Led Invasion (with Shivan Fazil). International Peacekeeping.

(2022) The Hybridization of Religion and Nationalism in Iraqi Kurdistan: The Case of Kurdish Islam (with Tine Gade). Third World Thematics.

(2020) De Facto States Engagement with Parent States: Kurdistan’s Engagement with the Iraqi Government (with Jaafar Khidir, Mark Dechesne and Edwin Bakker). British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies.

(2019) Unpacking the Displacement‐Migration Nexus: Evidence from Northern Iraq (with Irene Costantini). International Migration.

(2019) Strategies to Gain International Recognition: Iraqi Kurdistan’s September 2017 Referendum for Independence (with Jaafar Khidir, Mark Dechesne and Edwin Bakker). Ethnopolitics.

(2019) The Development of Kurdistan’s De Facto Statehood: Kurdistan’s September 2017 Referendum for Independence (with Jaafar Khidir, Mark Dechesne and Edwin Bakker). Third World Quarterly.

Research Reports

(2023) Violent Extremism in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Potential Drivers and Preventative Measures. International Organization for Migration: Erbil.

(2023) The Right to Education in Iraq: Minority Groups and Representative Education (with Kelsey Shanks). A policy report commissioned by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq.

(2023) Iraq Benefiting from Regional Rest. In “The Middle East’s Fragile Reset: Actors, Battlegrounds, and (Dis)Order” dossier, pp. 102-107.

(2021) Youth Identity and Activism Before and After the So-Called Islamic State in Nineveh, (With Karar Rifaat). Un Ponter Per.

(2020) Iraqi Shi’a Islamist Parties’ Responses to The Protest Movement. Al Sharq Strategic Research.

(2019) Nineveh Plains and Western Nineveh, Barriers to Stability and Return: A Meta-Analysis (With Henriette Johansen and Dlawer Ala’Aldeen), Middle East Research Institute (MERI).

(2019) Sustainable Return and Stabilization Efforts: Current Initiatives and Trends (With Henriette Johansen and Dlawer Ala’Aldeen). Middle East Research Institute: Erbil. 

(2018) Displacement-Migration-Return: Understanding Uncertainty in The Context of Iraq (With Irene Constantine). Middle East Research Institute: Erbil. 

(2017) Perceptions of EU Crisis Response in Iraq (With Khogir Wirya and Dlawer Ala’Aldeen). Middle East Research Institute: Erbil. 

(2018) The Role of The Middle East in the EU-Turkey Security Relationship: Key Drivers and Future Scenarios (With Doruk Ergun, Andrea Dessì, Jakob Lindgaard, And Dlawer Ala’Aldeen). FEUTURE Online Paper No. 20.

Teaching Experience

Before joining Brandon University, I had the opportunity to teach some courses at Salahaddin University-Erbil and the American University of Kurdistan. These courses covered a range of topics, including: