Laura Robson is a scholar of international and Middle Eastern history, with a special interest in questions of refugeedom, forced migration, and statelessness. She has published extensively on the topics of refugee and minority rights, forced migration, ethnic cleansing, and the emergence of international legal regimes around resettlement and asylum. Her most recent books are Human Capital: A History of Putting Refugees to Work (Verso, 2023), a wide-ranging investigation of the many 20th century schemes to deploy refugees as labor migrants across the globe, and The Politics of Mass Violence in the Middle East (Oxford, 2020), a history of the relationship between violence and the state in the 20th century Eastern Mediterranean. Robson is also the author of States of Separation: Transfer, Partition, and the Making of the Modern Middle East (University of California, 2017) and Colonialism and Christianity in Mandate Palestine (University of Texas, 2011), as well as the editor of Partitions: A Transnational History of 20th Century Territorial Separatism (with Arie Dubnov; Stanford, 2019) and Minorities and the Modern Arab World: New Perspectives (Syracuse, 2016). She was a recent fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., and is an inaugural member of its Refugees and Forced Displacement Initiative. With Jennifer Dueck, she is co-founder and co-editor of, a digital humanities project exploring the varied and multifaceted experience of statelessness in the modern era.

Robson’s current research includes one project documenting the emergence of a wide variety of forms of statelessness in the Middle East, the Balkans, and North Africa across the long 20th century, and another on Palestine’s emergence as a laboratory for the development of new and highly interventionist forms of colonial and postcolonial internationalism.

She received her PhD from Yale in 2009 and holds additional degrees from Tulane University, the Royal Academy of Music, and Oxford University.