Centre for Gender Studies

Dr Alyosxa Tudor

Key information

Centre for Gender Studies Chair Centre for Gender Studies Reader in Gender Studies
MA (Berlin) PhD (Sweden)
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Dr Alyosxa Tudor is Reader in Gender Studies and the Chair of the Centre for Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. 

Their work connects trans and queer feminist approaches with transnational feminism and postcolonial studies. Alyosxa’s main research interest lies in analysing (knowledge productions on) migrations, diasporas and borders in relation to critiques of Eurocentrism and to processes of gendering and racialisation.

Alyosxa’s research is interdisciplinary but most closely related to media and cultural studies and social and political theory. Their postgraduate training was in interdisciplinary gender studies with specialization in queer visual culture and Alyosxa is still most interested in questions of representation in all its contexts (visual culture, discourse and public/political spheres) and in questioning pre-existing categories and modes of categorization in knowledge production. Their most recent work is on challenging, deconstructing and re-framing the field of trans/gender studies with focus on epistemology, pedagogy and analyses of public media discourses in the face of the rise of the global right. They have published widely on their work and given international keynotes (Turku/Finland, University of Uppsala/Sweden, NYU/USA) and numerous national and international papers and SOAS hosted two conferences under their lead. For their article ‘Im/Possibilities of Refusing and Choosing Gender’, they won the 2019 Feminist Theory Essay Prize.

Alyosxa’s next monograph project builds on archival research in Holocaust/Porajmos (Romani genocide) archives in Heidelberg, Berlin and Brandenburg/Germany. It starts from the presumption that existing approaches on gender, sexuality, racialization and the Holocaust have not analyzed substantially enough the sexual and racial politics of the Nazi category ‘asocial’, used as a label to persecute Roma and Sinti; (mostly female) partisans; (often female) people considered to be ‘sexually deviant’, ‘criminal’ or ‘unwilling to work’. The project theorizes fascist ascriptions of sexual and racial deviance, sheds light on the absences in current historical research and memory discourse and historicizes present day racist argumentation. Moreover, it aims to turn to the present and ask how to ethically represent genocide and deadly persecution to a present-day public. In which ways does such a representation of the past help to critically examine present-day far-right argumentation that relies on a similar clustering of racial, gendered and sexual minorities as deviant and other to the nation?

Moreover, Alyosxa is interested in going back to human rights declarations that are explicitly connected to post-Holocaust understandings of the human as a right-bearing subject. They ask how people considered as ‘asocials’ have fallen outside of universalist ideas of fundamental rights and justice and with this, the sphere of the social and the human. Alyosxa’s research challenges past and present legal frameworks and social concepts that criminalize poverty and sexual and racial minorities.

Alyosxa convenes the CGS core course ‘Gender Theory and the Study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East’ and teaches the half modules ‘Queering Migrations and Diasporas’ and ‘Transnationalising Queer, Trans and Disability Studies’. Alyosxa’s teaching enables students to critically engage with knowledge productions from Western contexts and the Global South alike and to question Eurocentrism/US-centrism in the fields of transgender, queer, migration and disability studies. Their teaching introduces to cultural and media studies approaches and engages students actively in methodological questions, including how to deal with difficult/shocking content, spectatorship, language use and questions of access/non-access to visual/audio material etc. In 2018, Alyosxa won the SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize in the category ‘Innovative Teaching’.

In the past Alyosxa was an LSE Fellow in Transnational Gender Studies and a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS. Alyosxa also worked as a Research Assistant in Gender Studies at Humboldt-University and was a Visiting Fellow at GEXcel, Centre of Gender Excellence at Linkoping University/Sweden and a Visiting Professor at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, Brown University, USA.

Research interests

Alyosxa Tudor is currently working on their new monograph project 

The Endurance of the Mare: Violence and Resilience in the Eastern Borderlands of Gender and Europe 

What would be a good moment to start this story? What should I tell you first? Maybe I should start with the many times a horse, a dog or a cow, a chicken or a goat were mentioned, often explicitly a female animal, a mare, a bitch, a cow. When they ate dogs and horses during the famine in what today is Ukraine between 1932-1933 (or was it in 1946 in Bessarabia?), when they ate dead children as there were no animals left, when the children before dying had eaten their own knuckles? When Pena travelled back to her home in the Budjak from Dobrogea in 1934 after a summer of seasonal work in which she and her mates earned enough to buy a mare and a carriage to bring grains home for the winter? When in 1935 her mates left with another horse and cart one summer and one hard-work’s season later and Pena had to stay behind because she was pregnant? Knowing hunger and what it does to people, she had tried to starve herself to get rid of the foetus. She had tried other things. She didn’t succeed. 

In this theory-fiction, I follow Pena as I feel the urge to engage with the question of how the trauma of migration (in both crossing borders and borders that cross), the trauma of hunger and misery and the trauma of gender-based violence can travel through generations and into different national spaces. Do they have a different quality when being interwoven? How was gender and gendered embodiment passed down in my family, from Pena to me, the trans non-binary queer migrant kid? How is Pena’s story interwoven with the stories and histories of the Budjak and the Dobrogea, these inter-imperial borderlands, the Black Sea/Danube Delta hinterlands (where the hinterlands begin for the illiterate landless peasants a few centimeters removed from the big transit arteries that the Black Sea and the Danube are), the multi-ethnic, multi-faith, multi-national regions so endlessly far away from the Metropolis? The story of Pena is also a story of the rural hinterlands squished in inter-imperiality, coloniality and (emerging) ethno-nationalisms, full of narratives of (sexual, class, state and border) violence and displacement. It is about feudalism, capitalism, socialism and post-socialism and the bustle and heartbreaks of revolution. It is a story of implication in anti-Semitism, ethno-racism and Islamophobia, a story of the dirty, smelling, kicking, spatting, fighting, vegetating, enduring goo that defines the contested Eastern borderlands of Europe. A story that cannot be told without paying attention to the mares, bitches, chickens, cows and goats that lived and died alongside Pena. The nightmare (mare as in mara, as in the demon known from Slavic mythology that comes at night and sits on your chest) of sexual and state violence that haunts intergenerational gendering. It is the story of the endurance of the mare 

Gender X: Transnational And Decolonial Perspectives On And Beyond The Gender Binary

Alyosxa is principal investigator in the SOAS based project GenderX, Rahul Rao is Co-Investigator. GenderX is located in transdisciplinary gender studies and focuses on the question of how the very category of ‘gender’ is constructed in different contexts and over time. It provides a postcolonial/decolonial critique of gendered norms and binaries and seeks to historicize gender without a re-essentialisation of pre-colonial gender-free authenticity.

GenderX brings together transnational feminist approaches on gendered and sexual difference, feminist, queer and trans studies that question gender binaries and decolonial theory that claims that gender as a category is a product of European colonialism. Based on investigating and achieving new crossovers of these interdisciplinary fields, the project especially engages with criticising gender as a colonial project and aims to provide both a postcolonial/decolonial critique of gendered norms and seeks for complex interdisciplinary theoretisations that reject re-essentialising ideas of pre-colonial gender-free authenticity and identity.

As Patricia Hill Collins and Fatima El-Tayeb, amongst others, make clear, the European concept of womanhood, and with it gender as a category, is constructed inseparably from racialisation and nationalism (Collins 2002, 196; El-Tayeb 1999, 155). Maria Lugones (2007, 186) shows how “heterosexism” can be seen “as a key part of how gender fuses with race in the operations of colonial power”. With this, she underlines that ‘gender itself’ was introduced as a ‘colonial concept’ in the Global South (ibid.). Indeed, gender as a category comes into existence through racialisation and colonial expansion. Therefore, feminist attempts to ‘trans’ gender - to go beyond gender and to question naturalised ideas of gendering - need to engage in postcolonial/decolonial analysis.

This project is a transdisciplinary intervention in the fields of transnational feminism, decolonial theory and queer and trans studies which mostly operate as separate realms of knowledge. SOAS is the ideal place for establishing international networks on the very question of how gender as a category comes into existence in different contexts, because it is a hub for transnational and decolonial knowledge production, global studies and scholarship from the Global South. The project therefore aims to focus on knowledge productions on gender that are based in different parts of the world (i.e. the SOAS regions and their diasporas), think them in dialogue with each other and bundle this expertise in critical transdisciplinary gender studies that especially focus on non-binary genders, transing gender, anti-heteronormative approaches to gender and questioning gender as a universal concept. As a research project and hub, it provides international leadership in transdisciplinary research on and beyond gender as a category with a consistent transnational and decolonial perspective.

Planned a transdisciplinary workshop in June 2018.

Conference: Challenges in Queer and Feminist Migration and Diaspora Studies

24 - 25 July 2017

The Centre for Gender Studies and the Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS invited to a two-day discussion space on queer and feminist migration and diaspora studies. The conference provided a transdisciplinary context for queer and feminist knowledge production on non/belonging, anti-/racism, anti-/migratism, borders, anti-/nationalism etc. We built on the thought that migration and diaspora are – like gender and sexuality – not descriptive, objective categories, but analytical tools to name positions of power. Therefore, drawing on postcolonial studies and transnational queer-feminist approaches, in this gathering we focused on analysing power relations and oppression, as well as engaged with resistance strategies and empowerment. Bringing together critical knowledge production on nationalist, racist, migratist, homo/transphobic, sexist, colonialist and Eurocentric norms and normalizations of gender, nation, race and belonging can be troubling, challenging and contradictory and we invited participants to endure these contradictions and turn these challenges into empowering interventions.

Organisers: Nydia Swaby and Alyosxa Tudor



PhD Supervision

Name Title
Aixia Huang Before and Beyond Sexuality: Trans-femininity in Ming-Qing China
Shreeta Lakhani Between Assimilation and Resistance: A Queer Marxist Analysis of Visibility Politics (working title)


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