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The research work of the Department of Gender Studies is critical, transnational, and interdisciplinary. Our research is variously positioned in relation to different fields of study within the social sciences and humanities, but in each case, the focus on gender means testing conventional disciplinary boundaries and developing alternative methodologies. All the work addresses, in some way, the tenacity of gender power relations and gendered inequalities in a period of global transformation.  Our research falls under four broad strands, and we work both independently and collaboratively within these themes:

  • Memory, Representation and Culture 
  • Rights, Security and Development 
  • State, Economy, Families, and Inequalities 
  • Subjectivity, Sexuality and Identity 

Current and Recent Research

 Ethical and Methodological Issues in Sex Work Research | LSE Research Showcase 2023

Presented by Dr Sharmila Parmanand, watch the video here

There is a history of collaboration but also uneasy tension between sex work researchers and sex worker-led organisations. This is understandable because academic research is inevitably an extractive process, especially toward stigmatised, marginalised, and criminalised groups. We will not be able to fully remove ourselves from extractive and colonial structures of research, but there are steps we can take to minimise these harms.

Drawing on her ethnographic research with sex worker organisations in the Philippines and Singapore, Dr Sharmila Parmanand traces her methodological journey, with a focus on the ethical considerations involved in sex work research and her reflections on how to minimise hierarchies in knowledge production; develop creative research methods that do not merely yield "academic data" but also provide a space for validation, politicisation, and psychic relief for participants; recognise the intellectual contributions of actors outside academia; and build more reciprocal research relationships.

(May 2023)


Transnational 'Anti-Gender' Movements and Resistance: Narratives and Interventions - AHRC Network Grant awarded to Clare Hemmings and Sumi Madhok.

Watch the keynote panels form the netwrok's 'Transnational anti-gender politics and resistance' conference here:

This project will build a transnational solidarity network of scholars, activists and policy makers to counter the anti-gender mobilisations that are increasingly contracting the space for feminist scholarship and political activism across the globe. The new research network will map the narrative building blocks – the political grammars, conceptual vocabularies, rhetoric, figures, and temporalities – of both ‘anti-gender ideology’ interventions and the political struggles and solidarities engendered in resistance

(September 2022)


Troubling Anti-gender Attacks: Transnational Activist & Academic Perspectives –Open Society University Network (OSUN) Grant (Transnational Feminism, Solidarity, and Social Justice Program) awarded to Aiko Holvikivi, Billy Holzberg (KCL), Tomás Ojeda and Haley McEwen (Wits University).

This collaborative initiative builds on a broader book project entitled Transnationalising Anti-gender Politics, which will be published as part of Palgrave’s ‘Thinking Gender in Transnational Times’ series (under contract). The OSUN grant supported the organisation of a virtual roundtable discussion with leading scholars and activists in the field, which took place on May 25. The key analyses of the event will be disseminated through two main outputs: 1) a brief commentary report and 2) a chapter to be included in the edited volume. For a longer description of the project, click here (under 'Research').

(August 2022)


COVID-19: Reflections on the Pandemic 

Writing from our faculty and PhD students about the politics of COVID-19.

(June 2020)

Jill Craigie: Film Pioneer 

This four-year (2018-2022) research project is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The investigators are Lizzie Thynne (PI, University of Sussex), Yvonne Tasker (CI, University of Leeds) and Sadie Wearing (CI LSE).

Jill Craigie (1911 – 1999) was one of Britain’s earliest women documentary makers whose films stand out because of their overtly feminist and socialist politics, and their attempt to combine activism and entertainment. Located within women’s film history, the project aims to explore Craigie as a significant force in British cinema history whose films warrant closer attention.

Project outputs include:

Book (forthcoming): Jill Craigie: Film and feminism in Postwar Britain (co-authored by Sadie Wearing & Yvonne Tasker) 

Award-winning film: Indpendent Miss Craigie (directed by Lizzie Thynne)

Book Publications


Vernacular Rights Cultures - Sumi Madhok (2022)

Vernacular Rights Cultures offers a bold challenge to the dominant epistemologies and political practices of global human rights. It argues that decolonising global human rights calls for a serious epistemic accounting of the historically and politically specific encounters with human rights, and of the forms of world-making that underpin the stakes and struggles for rights and human rights around the globe.

Read a review in the LSE Review of Books.




Women in Place - Nazanin Shahrokni (2019)

While much has been written about the impact of the 1979 Islamic revolution on life in Iran, discussions about the everyday life of Iranian women have been glaringly missing. Women in Place offers a gripping inquiry into gender segregation policies and women’s rights in contemporary Iran. Author Nazanin Shahrokni takes us onto gender-segregated buses, inside a women-only park, and outside the closed doors of stadiums where women are banned from attending men’s soccer matches. 


detecting the social

Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction - Mary Evans, Hazel Johnstone, Sarah Moore (2019)

Conventional sociological accounts of fiction generally comprehend its value in terms of the ways in which it can illustrate, enlarge or help to articulate a particular social theory. Evans, Moore, and Johnstone suggest a different approach, and demonstrate that by taking a group of detective novels, we can unveil so far unidentified, but crucial, theoretical ideas about what it means to be an individual in the twenty-first century. 

hannahb book

Sexualised Crimes, Armed Conflict and the Law: The International Criminal Court and the Definitions of Rape and Forced Marriage - Hannah Baumeister (2018)

Sexualised Crimes, Armed Conflict and the Law draws on feminist and constructivist theories and offers a comprehensive theoretical and empirical examination of the definition of rape and forced marriage. 


The Political Imaginary of Sexual Freedom Leticia Sabsay (2018)

This book develops a performative and relational approach to gendered and sexualised bodies conceived as distinct from the more limited individualistic idea of sexual identity and orientation that is at play within notions of progress in contemporary transnational sexual politics.

considering emma goldman

Considering Emma Goldman: Feminist Political Ambivalence and the Imaginative ArchiveClare Hemmings (2018)

In Considering Emma Goldman Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker for contemporary feminist politics. Rather than attempting to resolve the tensions and problems that Goldman's thinking about race, gender, and sexuality pose for feminist thought, Hemmings embraces them, finding them to be helpful in formulating a new queer feminist praxis. 


Conflict-Related Violence against Women - Dr Aisling Swaine (2018)

By comparatively assessing three conflict-affected jurisdictions (Liberia, Northern Ireland and Timor-Leste), Conflict-Related Violence against Women empirically and theoretically expands current understanding of the form and nature of conflict-time harms impacting women.


The Persistence of Gender Inequality - Mary Evans (2017)

In 'The Persistence of Gender Inequality', Mary Evans argues that optimistic narratives of progress and emancipation have served to obscure long-term structural inequalities between women and men, structural inequalities which are not only about gender but also about general social inequality. In widening the lenses on the persistence of gender inequality, Evans shows how in contemporary debates about social inequality gender is often ignored, implicitly side-lining critical aspects of relations between women and men.


Thinking Gender in Transnational Times
book series Professor Clare Hemmings, Dr Sadie Wearing and LSE Gender are editors in the Thinking Gender in Transnational Times book series by Palgrave Macmillan. Books in the series include: Gender, Agency and Coercion;  Affective Relations and Rethinking Peacekeeping, Gender Equality and Collective Security.

 Gender in the media

Gender in the Media
by Niall Richardson and Sadie Wearing (2014)

This lively and engaging text introduces students to the key contemporary issues in the study of gender and the media. Integrating cultural theory with text-based criticism, Gender in the Media analyses recent debates in feminist cultural theory, masculinity studies and queer theory, before applying these cultural paradigms to critical readings in relevant media contexts.

Sage Handbook Feminist Theory

The SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory (eds) Mary Evans, Clare Hemmings, Marsha Henry, Hazel Johnstone, Sumi Madhok, Ania Plomien and Sadie Wearing (2014)

At no point in recorded history has there been an absence of intense, and heated, discussion about the subject of how to conduct relations between women and men. This Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to these omnipresent issues and debates, mapping the present and future of thinking about feminist theory. The chapters gathered here present the state of the art in scholarship in the field, covering: epistemology and marginality; literary, visual and cultural representations; sexuality; macro and microeconomics of gender; conflict and peace. It is an essential reference work for advanced students and academics not only of feminist theory, but of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences.

Gendered readings of change

Gendered Readings of Change by Clara Fischer (2014)

Dr. Clara Fischer, Newton International Fellow at LSE Gender, has published her book: Gendered Readings of Change. In the book, Clara develops a unique theory of change by drawing on American philosophy and contemporary feminist thought. Via a select history of ancient Greek and Pragmatist philosophies of change, she argues for a reconstruction of transformation that is inclusive of women's experiences and thought. With wide-ranging analysis, this book addresses ontological, moral, epistemological, and political questions, and includes an insightful exploration of the philosophies of Parmenides, Aristotle, John Dewey, Iris Young, and Jane Addams.

New frontiers

New Frontiers in Feminist Political Economy edited by Shirin M.Rai and Georgina Waylen (2013)

This book brings together the work of outstanding feminist scholars who reflect on the achievements of feminist political economy and the challenges it faces in the 21st century. Contributions from Marzia Fontana, Naila Kabeer, Sylvia Chant, Diane Elson, Irene van Staveren, Caren Grown, Radhika Balakrishnan, Ruth Pearson, Stephanie Barrientos, Shahra Razavi and Katherine Bickell.

Our bodies

Our Bodies, Whose Property? by Anne Phillips (2013)

Drawing on analyses of rape, surrogacy, and markets in human organs, Our Bodies, Whose Property? challenges notions of freedom based on ownership of our bodies and argues against the normalization of markets in bodily services and parts. Anne Phillips explores the risks associated with metaphors of property and the reasons why the commodification of the body remains problematic.

Rethinking agency

Rethinking Agency: Developmentalism, Gender and Rights by Sumi Madhok (2013)

This book proposes a new theoretical framework for agency thinking by examining the ethical, discursive and practical engagements of a group of women development workers in north-west India with developmentalism and individual rights.

Gender migration and domestic work

Gender, Migration and Domestic Work: Masculinities, Male Labour & Fathering in the UK and USA by Majella Kilkey, Diane Perrons and Ania Plomien (2013)

As the rich have got richer and households have become busier, demand for commoditized household services has increased. While much is known about maids and nannies, this book is distinctive in focusing on masculinized domestic services.

Gender agency and coercion

Gender, Agency and Coercion (eds) Sumi Madhok, Anne Phillips, Kalpana Wilson (2013)

This collection aims to think critically about agency and explore the relationship between agency and coercion in a range of regional, intellectual, ethical and political contexts. Contributions from Samantha Ashenden, Ngaire Donaghue, Mary Evans, Rosalind Gill, Clare Hemmings, Marsha Henry, Kimberly Hutchings, Emily Jackson, Amal Treacher Kabesh, Lois McNay, Sadie Wearing and Heather Widdows.

Race racism and development

Race, Racism and Development: Interrogating history, discourse and practice by Kalpana Wilson (2012)

This is the first book to place constructions of race and racism at the centre of a comprehensive analysis of the dominant discourses and practices of development.  The book tackles human rights, imperialism, culture, ethnic conflict, HIV/Aids and the role of diasporas, and highlights the latent racialisation in such debates to argue that development can only be understood within a full understanding of the relationship between north and south.

Why stories matter

Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory by Clare Hemmings (2011)

A powerful critique of the stories that feminists tell about the past four decades of Western feminist theory. Clare Hemmings examines the narratives that make up feminist accounts of recent feminist history, highlights the ethical and political dilemmas raised by these narratives, and offers innovative strategies for transforming them. Winner of the Feminist and Women's Studies Association (FWSA) Book Prize 2012


Affiliated Journals

There are three journals affiliated with LSE Gender, in that members of faculty act in an editing capacity.

Meet the Researcher