Research Degrees (MPhil/PhD) in Gender Studies
Duration: 3-4 years
Start of programme: September
Mode of Attendance: Mixed Full Time and Part Time
The MPhil/PhD in Gender Studies is a unique programme combining cutting edge theorizing in Gender Studies with the special areas expertise related to Africa, Asia and the Middle East which has been a trademark of SOAS. The Centre for Gender Studies welcomes applications from research students for our MPhil/PhD programme in all areas of Gender Studies. The Centre places its emphasis on the acquisition of critical theoretical skills and in-depth regional knowledge across disciplines with specific reference to Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Members of the Centre and current research students work on an exceptionally wide range of topics, both theoretical and empirical. Supervision for research students can be provided across this wide range. The Centre houses a training programme in Gender Studies for research students the work of which is supported by the organisation of regular Centre seminars.
Academic Staff and their Research Areas
Professor Nadje Al-Ali
Professor of Gender Studies
Gender theory; feminist activism; women & gender in the Middle East; women’s movements and feminism in Middle East; secularism and Islamism; transnational migration, diaspora mobilization; gendering violence, war and peace, Iraq.
Professor Fareda Banda
Professor of the Laws of Africa
Human Rights of Women, English Family Law, Comparative Family Law focusing on Africa, Law and Society in Africa, Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Professor William G. Clarence-Smith
Professor of the Economic History of Asia and Africa
Historical interplay between Islamic law and same-sex relationships, transgender identities, and Female Genital Cutting, with special reference to Southeast Asia; colonialism, diasporas, labour, transport, beverages and stimulants, and agriculture and livestock, with particular reference to Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean.
Dr Steve Dodd
Senior Lecturer in Japanese
Modern Japanese literature, with particular interest in representations of the native place (furusato), gender/sexuality and modernity.
Dr Kai Easton
Lecturer in African Literature and Diaspora Studies
Colonial and postcolonial studies, especially South African literature (the Cape, Wicomb, Coetzee); gender and the culture of travel; Indian Ocean diasporas; theories of fiction and history.
Lecturer in the History of Contemporary Japan
Modern and Contemporary Japanese history. Social and cultural history of the 20th century, especially the intersection of consumer capitalism and historical memory.
Dr Rachel Harrison
Reader in Thai Cultural Studies
Modern Thai Literature and Cinema; culture and gender studies with reference to Thailand; literary criticism and South East Asian Literatures in a comparative context; Western film set in South East Asia.
Dr Sian Hawthorne
Lecturer in Critical Theory and the Study of Religions
Associate Member, Centre for Media and Film Studies
Supervisor, Centre for Gender Studies
Feminist Philosophy; Myth and Mythmaking; Critical Theory (particularly poststructural, psychoanalytic, and postcolonial theory; the work of Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva); Narrativity; Cultural Memory; Gender Theory and the Study of Religions; Feminist Historiography; Disability Studies.
Dr Angela Impey
Lecturer in Music
Applied ethnomusicology; music, human rights and development, and music and gender – mainly with reference to southern Africa and the African Horn.
Professor Deniz Kandiyoti
Professor in Development Studies
Post-Soviet transitions in Central Asia and post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan; gender and development.
Senior Lecturer in the Politics of the Middle East
Research Tutor Centre for Gender Studies
Counterinsurgencies, nationalism, and political violence, and their intersections with gender.
Dr Prabha Kotiswaran
Lecturer in Law
Feminist Legal Theory; women and law in South Asia; law and society; law and social movements; criminal Law.
Dr Lola Martinez
Reader in Anthropology with reference to Japan
Japan, maritime anthropology, religion, gender, anthropology of tourism, mass media, local and global film traditions.
Dr Ben Murtagh
Lecturer in Indonesian and Malay
Main research interests are Indonesian and Malay literature, both traditional and modern and Indonesian cinema.
Dr Caroline Osella
Reader in the Anthropology of South Asia
Masculinities, sexuality, performance and fashion. Most of her research takes place both in south India and with Indian migrants based in the G.C.C. states.
Dr Wen-chin Ouyang
Reader in Arabic Literature
Classical and modern Arabic literature and culture, with emphasis on narrative and storytelling; comparative narratology and critical theory; gendered thinking and discourse.
Dr Parvathi Raman
Lecturer in Social Anthropology
Chair, Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies
Construction of Indian identity in South Africa; political and cultural identities in the South Asian diaspora, African and Asian Communities in Britain, and transnational political iconography.
Dr Rahul Rao
International Security; Indian foreign policy; Political Theory; Social Movements; Human Rights
Dr Ruba Salih
Reader in Gender Studies & Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies
Gender, Islam and modernity in the Middle East and Europe; Islamic feminism, secular and religious women’s movements in the Middle East, transnational migration and gender; multiculturalism and citizenship; Islam in Europe, globalization; disapora and refugee studies; the Palestine question.
Professor Timon Screech
Professor in the History of Art
Professor Screech is the author of some ten books on the visual culture of the Edo period. In the first of gender studies, his best-know book is Sex and the Floating World: Erotic Images in Japan, 1700-1820 (Reaktion, 1999).
Professor Annabelle Sreberny
Professor of Global Media
Director of the Centre for Media and Film Studies at SOAS
Feminist rethinking of the nature of the "political"; women’s movements and alternative media and on women’s media and representation under the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Dr Gabriele vom Bruck
Lecturer in Social Anthropology
Her research in Yemen has focused on hereditary elites and the intersection of religion and politics; gender differences as located within male bodies; performative gender, and women’s male names as body camouflage.
Professor Lynn Welchman
Professor in Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Islamic Law
Palestine and international humanitarian law; laws of the Middle East and North Africa, especially comparative family law, human rights, gender and law.
Dr Amina Yaqin
Lecturer in Post-colonial Studies & Urdu
Postcolonial Theory and literature, Gender Studies, Diasporic literatures (South Asia), Comparative literature, Pakistani culture, Muslims in Britain. She has published essays on gender and sexuality in Urdu poetry, Pakistani culture, Indian literature in English and the Islamic Barbie.
Structure of Research Degree
Research will be guided throughout by a research committee of three staff members, consisting of one primary supervisor and two supporting supervisors in an advisory capacity. Depending on the nature of the research joint supervision is sometimes recommended, under the direction of two supervisors.
In the first year, students prepare for research by following an MPhil training programme convened by the Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies, Dr. Ruba Salih. There are certain required courses, the other elements being agreed between the student, the Research and Admission Tutor (Dr. Gina Heathcote) and the supervisor(s).
MPhil students may attend also specific research methods course offered within both the Faculty of Languages & Cultures and witin the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. The specific elements of generic research training might vary and will be agreed with your supervisor and the research tutor. The generic research method training includes courses offered by the Academic Development Directorate (ADD) and the library.
Methodologies & Methods in Gender Studies
In addition to generic methods training, MPhil/PhD students in Gender Studies are required to attend a training seminar in methodologies & methods in Gender Studies in terms 1, 2 & 3. The aim of the training programme is to provide a thorough grounding in theory, methods, regional, cultural, linguistic and any special disciplinary expertise that may be required for the research. The training seminar is a weekly to fortnightly course of seminar-classes specially for first year research students consisting of student presentations & discussions thereof, as well as guided tutorials revolving around the following themes:
1. Prevailing Epistemologies in Gender Studies
2. Feminist approaches to research methods
3. Analyzing texts – Content analysis
4. Discourse analysis
5. Quantitative methods (surveys, questionnaires etc.)
6. Oral histories
8. Interdisciplinarity in Gender Studies
9. Activism & research
MPhil/PhD students are in addition expected to attend regularly the Centre’s seminar series, details of which are available on the SOAS website and on the Gender Studies noticeboard on the 3rd floor of the main building next to room 399. MPhil students are also encouraged to attend the MA Gender Studies core course in Gender Theory and the Study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East convened and taught by Professor Nadje Al-Ali, Dr. Ruba Salih and Dr. Gina Heathcote.
Optional elements may consist of specialist disciplinary, language or regional culture courses, attendance of which can be agreed between the student and the supervisory committee.
In the first week of term 3, year 1, students submit an extended research proposal (of about 10,000 words), including the following elements:
1. Research rationale and context of proposed research;
2. Main research questions;
3. Literature review;
4. Theoretical and methodological framework & considerations;
5. Proposed research methods;
6. Ethical issues (where applicable);
7. Outlining structure of PhD dissertation;
8. Schedule of research and writing;
This upgrade proposal is assessed by the student’s research committee, based on a 20-30 minute oral presentation followed by a discussion also open to other staff and student members of the Centre for Gender Studies. On successful completion of the extended proposal, students are formally upgraded to PhD and proceed to the fieldwork phase, which conventionally lasts up to a year. (If the assessors consider there to be shortcomings in the upgrade proposal, students will be asked to revise it to their satisfaction before the upgrade to PhD status can be confirmed.) Students are not normally permitted to undertake fieldwork until the upgrade process has been completed.
The second year is normally spent engaged in research. This may be by any combination of fieldwork and research in libraries and archives as agreed between the student and the supervisor(s).
The third year is devoted to writing up research for the PhD thesis. During this time, students will normally give a presentation to the Postgraduate Research Seminar, comprising a small number of staff members with special expertise in the topic and other research students. During this time students will present draft chapters to the supervisor(s) for comment, before writing the final draft for examination. The thesis – normally 80,000 words in length - will be examined by two leading authorities on Gender Studies or relevant disciplines/area studies. The external examiner is always a scholar from outside the University of London.
Students studying part time take the MPhil training seminar in the first year and write the Core Chapter & research proposal in the second year. The length of time for field or other research, and writing up, is adjusted accordingly.
Degrees are awarded by the University of London.
For further details of the requirements and structure of the programme please contact:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email directly to Dr Gina Heathcote, Research and Admission Tutor in Gender Studies (email@example.com)
How to apply
How to apply
- Research Admissions and Applications
- Online Application
- Request a prospectus
- Got a question - use our enquiry form (opens a new window)
- Funding options
- English language requirements
- Tuition Fees
- Admissions Contacts
- Doctoral School
Application Deadline: 2014-04-30 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-03-21 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-01-31 17:00
Application Deadline: 2014-02-28 17:00
A Student's Perspective
Isabella Fung Sheung Ng
The knowledge and skills I learnt from my supervisors and the friendship I established in SOAS give me strength to work in the field.