SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Gendering Migration & Diasporas

Module Code:
Taught in:
Term 1

Migration and diaspora are - like gender – not descriptive, objective categories, but analytical tools to name positions of power. In this course we discuss what gendering, diaspora and migration can imply as analytical (not descriptive) categories and how they are constructed interdependently by power relations. We will engage with a range of approaches to gender, migrations and diasporas and will address the social and political dimensions of migration and diasporas as well as politics related to constructions of non/belonging, cultural productions and imaginations.

Building on Postcolonial Studies, transnational feminism, Cultural Studies, and deconstructionism we will not only focus on analysing power relations and oppression, but also on resistance strategies to and critical knowledge production on nationalist, racist, sexist, colonialist and Eurocentric norms and normalizations of gender, nation, race and belonging.

This course is focused on theory (making sense of the world) and epistemology (making sense of making sense of the world). We will discuss how theory and epistemology are intertwined with activism, research practice and everyday life. The module aims to enable students to reflect critically on knowledge production and to 'translate' theoretical concepts across disciplines, languages and contexts. Please note that this module is situated within the field of Critical European Studies. It will enable students to look at 'Europe' through a diasporic lens, to deconstruct Eurocentrism in knowledge production and to take this critical approach to their further studies on 'Africa, Asia and the Middle East'.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this course, a student will:

  1. Have a good understanding of the gendered aspects of various forms of migration and diasporic experiences;
  2. Be familiar with a range of methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of migration and diaspora including migration studies, refugee studies, anthropology, and cultural studies within the overall context of gender studies;
  3. Be familiar with a number of empirical examples and case studies pertaining to the question of how migration and diaspora experiences are gendered;
  4. Have been introduced to the interconnections between economic and political conditions on the one hand and gender ideologies and relations on the other;
  5. Have obtained the intellectual tools to analyse different forms of migration and diaspora experience from a gendered perspective;
  6. Be able to critically evaluate a variety of books, journals and other sources of information relevant to the topics studied on the course;
  7. Have produced weekly written work (reaction papers) as well as detailed written work on one approved topic relevant to the course.


Three hours per week (two hour lecture, one hour tutorial)

Scope and syllabus

Core Topics:
  • Struggles against racism, sexism, lesbophobia, transphobia etc.
  • Politics of non_belonging
  • Forced migration and displacement
  • Exile & asylum
  • Transnational migration
  • Transing diaspora
  • Critiques of hegemonic Europeanness/Eurocentrism
  • Transnationalism
  • Political community building

Method of assessment

One 3500-4000 word essays (50% ), five best reaction papers; 600-800 words each (50%).

Suggested reading

Agustin, Laura Maria (2005): „Migrants in the Mistress's House: Other Voices in the "Trafficking" Debate.“ Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society, 12(1): 96-117 (21 pages).

Ahmed, Sara (1999): "Home and Away. Narratives of Migration and Estrangement". In: International Journal of Cultural Studies. 2 (3), pp. 329–347. (18 pages)

Aizura, Aren Z. (2006): "Of Borders and Homes: The Imaginary Community of (trans) Sexual Citizenship". In: Inter-Asia Cultural Studies. 7 (2), S. 289–309. (20 pages)

Al-Ali, Nadje (2007): „Gender, Diasporas and Post-Cold War Conflict“. In: Hazel Smith & Paul Stares (eds.): Diasporas and Post-Cold War Conflict, Washington: United States Institute for Peace & United Nations University, pp. 39-62.

Al-Ali, Nadje Sadig (2009): "Up Against Conceptual Frameworks: Post-Orientalism, Occidentalism and Presentations of the Self". In: Secularism, Gender and the State in the Middle East: The Egyptian Women’s Movement. Cambridge University S. 19–50. (31 pages)

Al-Ali, Nadje Sadig; Koser, Khalid (Hrsg.) (2002b): "Transnationalism, International Migration and Home". In: New Approaches to Migration?: Transnational Communities and the Transformation of Home. London; New York: Routledge. pp. 1-15. (14 pages)

Al-Sharmani, Mulki (2006): „Living Transnationally: Somali Diasporic Women in Cairo“. International Migration 44 (1): 55-77. (22 pages)

Bhanji, Nael (2012): "TRANS/SCRIPTIONS: Homing Desires, (Trans)sexual Citizenship and Racialized Bodies". In: Cotten, Trystan T. (Hrsg.) Transgender Migrations. The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition. New York: Routledge S. 157–175. (18 pages)

Boatcă, Manuela (2013): "Multiple Europes and the Politics of Difference Within". In: Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise (WKO). Uneasy Postcolonialisms. 3 (3), online: [20.01.2014]. (11 pages)

Brah, Avtar (1996b): "Diaspora, Border and Transnational Identities". In: Cartographies of Diaspora. Contesting Identities. London, New York: Routledge S. 178–210. (22 pages)

Brah, Avtar (1996c): "Re-Framing Europe: Gendered Racisms, Ethnicities and Nationalisms in Contemporary Western Europe". In: Cartographies of Diaspora. Contesting Identities. London, New York: Routledge. pp. 152–177. (25 pages)

Butler, Judith (2012a): "”What shall we do without exile?”". In: Parting Ways. Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. New York: Columbia University. pp. 205-224. (19 pages)

Callemard, Agnès (1999): „Refugee women: a gendered and political analysis of the refugee experience“. In: A. Ager (ed.): Refugees: Perspectives on the Experience of Forced Migration. London Pinter. pp. 194-214. (20 pages)

Campt, Tina & Deborah Thomas (2008) ‘Gendering diaspora: transnational feminism, diaspora and its hegemonies’, in Feminist Review 90: 1-8. (7 pages)

El-Tayeb, Fatima (2011a): "Dimensions of Diaspora. Women of Color Feminism, Black Europe, and Queer Memory Discourses". In: European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota. pp. 43–80. (37 pages)

El-Tayeb, Fatima (2011c): "Introduction: Theorizing Urban Minority Communities in Postnational Europe". In: European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota. pp. xi-xlvi. (36 pages)

El-Tayeb, Fatima (2011c): "Secular Submissions: Muslim Europeans, Female Bodies, and Performative Politics". In: European Others. Queering Ethnicity in Postnational Europe. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota. pp. 81-120. (29 pages)

Essed, Philomena, Georg Frerks and Joke Schrijvers (2004) (eds): “Introduction: Refugees, Agency and Social Transformation”. In: Refugees and the Transformation of  Societies: Agency, Policies, Ethics and Politics, Vol 13 Forced Migration Berghahn Books Oxford and New York. pp. 1-16. (16 pages)

Gilroy, Paul (2003): "The Black Atlantic as a Counterculture of Modernity". In: Braziel, Jana Evans; Mannur, Anita (Hrsg.) Theorizing Diaspora. A Reader. Malden [u.a.]: Blackwell S. 49–80. (31 pages)

Hall, Stuart (1991): "Europe’s Other Self". In: Marxism Today. 18 , S. 18–19. (2 pages)

Haritaworn, Jin (2008): "Shifting Positionalities: Empirical Reflections on a Queer/Trans of Colour Methodology", in Sociological Research Online. 13 (1), [30.01.2014].

Haritaworn, Jin (2012a): "Colorful Bodies in the Multikulti Metropolis: Vitality, Victimology and Transgressive Citizenship in Berlin". In: Cotten, Trystan T. (Hrsg.) Transgender Migrations. The Bodies, Borders, and Politics of Transition. New York: Routledge S. 11–31. (20 pages)

Kilomba, Grada (2012): "Africans in Academia – Diversity in Adversity". In: Netzwerk MiRA (Hrsg.) Kritische Migrationsforschung? Da kann ja jedeR kommen. pp. 299–304. (6 pages)

Kuntsman, Adi (2003): "Double Homecoming: Sexuality, Ethnicity, and Place in Immigration Stories of Russian Lesbians in Israel". In: Women’s Studies International Forum. 26 (4), S. 299–311. (22 pages)

Mama, Amina (2004): "Demythologising Gender in Development: Feminist Studies in African Contexts". In: IDS Bulletin. 35 (4), S. 121–124. (3 pages)

Mama, Amina (2011): "what does it mean to do feminist research in African contexts?". In: Feminist Review. 2011 (S1), S. e4–e20, 10.1057/fr.2011.22. (14 pages)

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade (2003): "Genealogies of Community, Home, and Nation". In: Feminism Without Borders. Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. Durham, London: Duke University. pp. 124-137 (13 pages)

Puar, Jasbir K. (1998): "Transnational Sexualities: South Asian (Trans)nation(alism)s and Queer Diasporas". In: Eng, David L.; Hom, Alice Y. (Hrsg.) Q & A: Queer in Asian America. Philadelphia: Temple University S. 405–424. (19 pages)

Puar, Jasbir K. (2013): "Rethinking Homonationalism". In: International Journal of Middle East Studies. 45 , S. 336–339. (3 pages)

Salih, R. (2009) “Muslim women, fragmented secularism and the construction of interconnected ‘publics’ in Italy” Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 17, 4 409–423. (14 pages)

Sanghera, Jyoti (2012): „Unpacking the Trafficking Discourse“. In: Kamala Kempadoo et al. (eds) Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered: New Perspectives on Migration, Sex Work and Human Rights. 2nd edition. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. pp. 3-24. (21 pages)

Schmidt Camacho, Alicia R. (2005): "Ciudadana X: Gender Violence and the Denationalization of Women’s Rights in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico". In: CR: The New Centennial Review. 5 (1), S. 255–292. (37 pages)

Shohat, Ella (2002): "Area Studies, Gender Studies, and the Cartographies of Knowledge". In: Social Text 72. 20 (3), S. 67–78. (11 pages)

Shohat, Ella; Boatcă, Manuela; Costa, Sergio (2013): "Bodies and Borders: An Interview with Ella Shohat". In: Jadaliyya. [17.12.2013].

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2006): "What is Gender? Where is Europe? Walking with Balibar". European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Florence/Italy: Ursula Hirschmann Annual Lecture on ‘Gender and Europe’; 21. April 2005; (9 pages)

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2008): "Our Asias 2001 – How to Be a Continentalist". In: Other Asias. Malden, MA ; Oxford: Blackwell Pub. 209–238. (29 pages)

Tinsley, O. N. (2008): "BLACK ATLANTIC, QUEER ATLANTIC: Queer Imaginings of the Middle Passage". In: GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. 14 (2-3), S. 191–215. (24 pages)

Tudor, Alyosxa. 2017a. ‘Queering Migration Discourse. Differentiating Racism and Migratism in Postcolonial Europe’. Lambda Nordica, 22 (2-3), 21-40.

Tudor, Alyosxa. 2017b. ‘Dimensions of Transnationalism’. Feminist Review 117, 20-40.

Tudor, Alyosxa. 2018. ‘Cross-Fadings of Racialisation and Migratisation: The Postcolonial Turn in Western European Gender and Migration Studies’. Gender, Place and Culture

Wright, Michelle M. (2004b): "Introduction: Being and Becoming Black in the West". In: Becoming Black. Creating Identity in the African Diaspora. Durham, London: Duke University. pp. 1-26. (25 pages)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules