Dr Rory McCarthyBack to People

Subjects: Classics with Oriental Studies
Department: Oriental Studies
College appointment: Fellow by Examination


I read history at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and then worked as a foreign correspondent for The Guardian, with postings in Islamabad, Baghdad, Beirut and Jerusalem. I returned to academia to study for an MPhil and DPhil in Oriental Studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford.

College teaching:

I teach the Politics of the Middle East paper to PPE undergraduates.

Research Interests:

For my doctorate I wrote a city-level ethnography on the emergence and development of the Tunisian Islamist movement Ennahda. Now I study social justice and the informal politics of protest across the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Selected publications:


Inside Tunisia’s al-Nahda: Between Politics and Preaching (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

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

Nobody Told Us We Are Defeated: Stories from the New Iraq (London: Chatto & Windus, 2006).

Articles and Book Chapters:

‘The Politics of Consensus: Al-Nahda and the Stability of the Tunisian Transition’, Middle Eastern Studies, (forthcoming).

‘When Islamists Lose: The Politicization of Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement’, The Middle East Journal, Volume 72 Issue 3 (2018), 365-384.

‘The Tunisian Uprising, Ennahdha, and the Revival of an Arab-Islamic Identity’, in Holliday, S. and Leech, P. (eds.), Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East (London: Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016).

‘Protecting the Sacred: Tunisia’s Islamist Movement Ennahdha and the Challenge of Free Speech’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Volume 42 Issue 4 (2015), 447-464.

‘Re-thinking secularism in post-independence Tunisia’, The Journal of North African Studies, Volume 19 Issue 5 (2014), 733-750.