Gender Studies at SOAS University of London

taken at Agra Fort in the Agra District, India. The woman pictured here was part of a group of women working on the reconstruction of the Fort. She is carrying a metal bowl filled with cement on her head.

The Centre of Gender Studies at SOAS University of London promotes the study of gender in relation to Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Dr Gina Heathcote talks about her teaching and research in Gender Studies:

What is your current specific area of research?

“My work generally focuses on women, peace and security, with a specific focus on women’s participation in collective security discourse. I am interested in how contemporary international initiatives on women’s participation replicate larger power structures and re-enforcing approaches to security that prioritise the concerns of elite actors. I work on bringing women’s transformative work in local contexts as a means to challenge Western assumptions about post-conflict contexts.”

What changes have you witnessed in the study of Gender Studies during your career as an academic?

“Our students come to us with considerable sophistication – much more than previously.”

“The internet has spread greater awareness of the complexity and diversity of gender issues, as well as their relevance across different work and disciplines.”

“Knowledge of Gender Studies and Sexuality Studies is now firmly entrenched as a useful career choice and space of professional expertise, well beyond the academic context.”

What is special about studying Gender Studies at SOAS?

“The Centre for Gender Studies focuses on knowledge production from either outside of Western contexts or that challenges Western representations of universals: this requires attentiveness to the legacies of colonialism, the persistence of economic inequalities (across and within states) and the intersection of gender with other vectors of power. Our students are encouraged to embrace a critical study of gender that also engages the legacy of race, class and sexuality.”

The Centre runs postgraduate degree programmes in MA in Gender Studies; MA Gender and Sexuality; MA Gender Studies and Law; and a pathway in Gender and the Middle East.

The MA in Gender Studies provides students with a broad programme combined with a regional specialism, and can include an element of language study. It will appeal to students who have trained in a variety of academic disciplines, particularly those with a background in either Anthropology, Cultural and Media Studies, Religious Studies, Comparative Literature, Politics or History.

To keep up to date with all the news, events and courses happening at the Centre for Gender Studies check out their lively blog.

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