SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Student Comments

2009-10 Academic Year

"The Gender Studies MA has challenged me on both an intellectual and personal level - in a good way! I would say that it is a great course for those who wish to address and study issues and events that take place in and are important to the here and now. SOAS is a unique place to study, and students on the MA Gender Studies course will have the opportunity to work under tutors who actively contribute in a significant way to the field that is studied. This means that both the students and teachers truly care about the subject matter at hand."

"The MA Gender Studies programme provides an invaluable insight into issues of gender, providing a breadth of knowledge of the multifaceted nature of the subject through different critical perspectives and socio-political backgrounds. The course has given me a solid stepping stone for further involvement in this field and encouraged me to pursue specific issues of interest."

"I think it is a great, stimulating and cooperative environment, with lots of opportunities to exchange ideas and different experiences, and transform those ones in something shared and meaningful."

"Being a postgraduate student in Gender Studies has been intellectually and emotionally stimulating. It is the rich tapestry of diversity at SOAS that has helped me to challenge my thoughts. I found myself learning, reflecting and sharing: in the classrooms; seminars, along the walkways; the resource library, dining halls and in my sleep too. My journey involved naturalizing approaches to gender, feminisms and many more. In one class I was in a household in Egypt, in another I was working with women in China. Listening to the ‘untold stories of Iraqi women,’ focusing on African perspectives, searching for an answer to the question ‘Can the subaltern speak?’, discovering the concept of subordinate masculinity, searching for a queer voice…This process shifted my beliefs. Dr Nadje was not merely a ‘teacher’; she was a facilitator, a coach, a mentor, and a partner in my learning journey." - Zuhre Emanet

"The mix of classroom instruction and discussion with a parallel seminar series has given me a realistic outlook on the ways in which my scholarship can be relevant to actual work on the ground; it also makes for a very satisfying experience. The diversity of the student group with their accompanying experiences and perceptions has enriched my understanding of the regional trajectories of gender and revealed to me how scholarship and activism can form a very useful coalition. I've been very happy with the selection and organization of course materials and the manageable workload!"

"The Gender studies programme at SOAS has provided me with a critical perspective about issues I used to take for granted or at least did not think about in broader terms in relation to social and cultural aspects. In addition, the Centre's seminars have familiarised us with diverse range of scholars and their researches in this field. For me it is an inspiring and challenging course which I have enjoyed so far."

"I think that the gender-related courses I've taken, especially Gender Theory and Gendering Migration and Diasporas, have permanently changed my view of the world in many ways. The courses have enabled me to understand gender processes and relations in non-Western contexts in ways that will be very useful in further work with gender issues in Pakistan and the Middle East. Despite SOAS not seeming to have entered modern times yet in terms of technology, internet, and spreading of appropriate information, it is a great institution with very good teachers, interesting courses, and the most interesting, exciting, and varied student body I've ever come across. I would definitely recommend anybody who is interested in gender issues in Asia and Africa to take Gender Studies here."

"On the positive side, the teaching at SOAS has been excellent in every class I've taken, with high expectations placed upon students. The Gender Theory readings build very well on each other over the length of the course, and it does feel like a fairly comprehensive overview of different perspectives, although time constraints unfortunately necessitate leaving some regions out. Someone without an academic background in gender can do well in the courses given enough personal interest and motivation outside the classroom. As far as a good complementary course goes, Caroline Osella's Anthropology of Gender tackles many of the same subjects, but from an ethnographic perspective and with more exploration of sexuality. Gender and Development will be necessary to anyone considering NGO work, and it's quite interesting to explore the uneasy relationship Anthropology and Development have with each other.

The only significant negative side of being in Gender Theory is not based on the programme itself, nor is it unique to SOAS. Be prepared for some students outside the department to challenge its validity, and to have a difficult time understanding that gender affects 100% of the population and is still an issue of economic, political, and social significance everywhere in the world, without exception. A few will expect you to Speak for All Feminists and explain why a gender perspective is relevant, so it's important to remind yourself that you don't owe anyone your time and energy, even if you agree on other issues.

Despite that downside, however, Gender Studies at SOAS certainly comes recommended and will hopefully begin to include a wider range of participants (including men, of course) in the coming years. It is exhausting, but fascinating, and entirely essential stuff."