SOAS University of London

SOAS academic, Dr Romina Istratii publishes monograph that applies a decolonial lens to gender and development theory and practice

9 October 2020

Dr Istratii’s monograph Adapting Gender and Development to Local Religious Contexts: A Decolonial Approach in Ethiopia has been published by Routledge (Taylor & Francis). The monograph reflects the author’s ten years’ experience in the international development sector and efforts to reform it.

This book scrutinises the Gender and Development paradigm in relation to non-western religious contexts, applying a critical lens to its deeper metaphysical assumptions of humanity and gender. It traces these metaphysics to western societies’ experience with ‘gender’ and ‘religion’ and subsequent enlightenment thinking and secularisation and argues that this historical grounding deems some of its assumptions irrelevant or unhelpful in these contexts. This is illustrated through a closer examination of the Gender-Based Violence paradigm as mainstreamed in the international development sector. The book builds on post-colonial and other critical works from Africa to suggest a decolonial approach to gender-sensitive research and practice illustrated in a historiographical, theological, ethnographic and participatory study of conjugal abuse realities and attitudes in the Ethiopian Orthodox TäwahÓ™do community of Aksum city and the surrounding countryside in Northern Ethiopia.

Dr Romina Istratii is Research Associate to the Department of Development Studies and the Centre of World Christianity, SOAS University of London, UK. She previously served as Senior Teaching Fellow in the School of History, Religions and Philosophies, teaching on Religions and Development. She has previously written on the ethics of international development, western gender metaphysics and religious knowledge systems, and the discourse of fundamentalism in gender studies.

Dr Istratii has been an active member of the Decolonising SOAS Working Group since 2016, initiating in 2019 the Decolonising Research Initiative on behalf of the SOAS Research and Enterprise Directorate. She is co-founder of Decolonial Subversions.

A book launch is planned for October 28 by the SOAS Centre of World Christianity, which is open to the wider public. Interested readers can register on Eventbrite.