SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Eleanor Tiplady Higgs

BA (Greenwich), MSc (Birmingham)
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Eleanor Tiplady Higgs
Ms Eleanor Tiplady Higgs
Email address:
Thesis title:
Narrating Christianity, Living ‘Fulfilled Lives’: The Young Women’s Christian Association in Kenya, 1912-2012.
Internal Supervisors


My PhD thesis explores the interaction between ethics and identity in narrative through a study of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) in Kenya. In particular I consider the impact of the organisation's Christian identity on its work related to sexual health and reproductive rights.

PhD Research

Postcolonial feminist theory; development and social change in Kenya; sexual ethics and reproductive justice; Christianity; narrative analysis; feminist philosophy of religion and ethics; feminisms and women's movements in African contexts; colonialism, imperialism and whiteness; histories of the YWCA and the Mothers' Union.


(in press). ‘Postcolonial Feminist Theologies.’ pp79-93 in Sîan M. Hawthorne, ed. Gender: God. Macmillan Reference USA.

(2016). ‘Becoming “Multi-Racial”: The Young Women’s Christian Association in Kenya, 1955-1965.’ pp24-50 in Blanche J. Glimps & Theron N. Ford, eds. Gender and Diversity Issues in Religious-Based Institutions and Organizations. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

(2015). ‘#JusticeforLiz: Power and Privilege in Digital Transnational Women’s Rights Activism.’ Feminist Media Studies 15 (2), pp344-347.


'Recycling colonial discourse in narratives of Kenya YWCA identity.' 2nd Graduate Conference: Why Discourse Matters? 17th-18th October 2014, Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.

[Workshop assistant] Mediation and Religious Arbitration: Thinking through issues of gender equality and justice in family law disputes. 10th June 2014, SOAS University of London.

'Religious and racial identity in two narratives of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Kenya' [Research poster]. Troubling Narratives: Identity Matters. 19th-20th June 2014, University of Huddersfield, UK.

'Narrative theology in an African context: The case of Kenya Young Women’s Christian Association.' Spiritual Exercises: Postgraduate Conference on Religion and Theology. 7th-8th March 2014, University of Bristol, UK.

'Christian identity, Christian ethics? Themes of continuity and change in narratives of Kenya Young Women’s Christian Association’s history and ethical reasoning.' Religion, Migration, Mutation: European Association of the Study of Religions annual conference. 4th-6th September 2013, Liverpool Hope University, UK.

[Discussant] 'Éliette Abécassis, Un heureux événement.' Motherhood, Religions, and Spirituality: 5th workshop of the Motherhood in post-1968 European Literature Network.
28th June 2013, University of London, UK.

[Panel chair: Session 6]. Catachresis: 'Gender', 'Religion' and 'Postcoloniality'. 17th-19th December 2012, SOAS University of London, UK.

'Narratives of Christian ethics and identity in Kenya: YWCA responses to HIV & AIDS.' Biographies in Times of Crisis: Exploring Religious Narratives of AIDS in Africa and the African Diaspora: Religion, Identity and Memory Research Group & IRNARA conference. 14th-15th December 2012, University of Groningen, Netherlands.

'The Young Women’s Christian Association of Kenya and African women’s theological responses to HIV & AIDS.' How Shall the Next Generation Live? Theology as Responsibility: Society for the Study of Theology postgraduate conference. 3rd-4th December 2012, University of Cambridge, UK.

'Ecumenical cooperation and controversial faith issues: Theology and ethics at the Young Women’s Christian Association in Kenya.' Department of the Study of Religions PhD seminar.
13th November 2012, SOAS University of London, UK.

'Women, Christianity, and politics in Kenya: The case of the Young Women’s Christian Association.' Summer School: Secularism, Gender and Democracy. 3rd-5th July 2012, Centro de Estudos Sociais, Universidade de Coimbra, Lisbon, Portugal.


Member of Africa Research Student Network (AfNet)