Deirdre McAlister

Assistant Professor

I graduated from the National University of Ireland with an Honours Degree in English Literature and History. Following this I worked at NUIM and engaged in archaeological fieldwork. In 2009 I was awarded a full scholarship for my PhD in archaeology/history/anthropology. My PhD focused on the material culture of women and children in Early Medieval and Medieval Ireland and examined concepts of age and gender in the archaeological and linguistic record for Native Irish and Hiberno-Scandinavian populations and their diaspora. I completed my PgD/MA in Adult and Community Education in 2012 and continued to work at the tertiary level until moving to the United Arab Emirates in 2015.

My current research interests are situated around the changing nature of age and gender in the Gulf and how this is reflected in material culture. I am also engaged in research on teaching and learning at the University level in the UAE.

Research and Professional Activities

My research interests include the changing nature of childhood(s), age and gender in the past, and how this is accessed in the material, historical and linguistic record in Western Europe in the Early Medieval and Medieval period. This was the subject of my Doctoral Degree and I continue to research and publish in this area.

Research interests:

During the last few years I have expanded my research into the Arabian Peninsula to encompass the roles and nature of childhood, age and gender in the Gulf pre and post unification. 

I also am currently researching aspects of Teaching and Learning at the tertiary level in the UAE, with a particular focus on humanistic methodological approaches in the classroom.

Much of my research is interdisciplinary and utilizes anthropological, archaeological, sociological and historical approaches to highlight particular marginalized or liminal groups in the past.


Age and gender theory in the archaeological record; childhood in the past; family and kinship in Ireland; material culture of childhood; archaeology of women; archaeology of children; Early Medieval Ireland; Urbanization in the past.



Teaching Areas


I am currently teaching three Anthropology courses: Popular Cultures; Cities, Culture and Sustainability and Bedouin Society.