SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Marta Agosti Pinilla

BA Humanities, MA in International Cooperation and Development, MaRes Anthropological Research Methods
  • Overview
  • Research


Marta Agosti
Ms Marta Agosti Pinilla
Email address:
Thesis title:
The Female Protestor and the making and unmaking of the State: Egypt in the aftermath of January 25
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors


Marta Agosti is finishing her PhD in Social Anthropology at SOAS University of London. As former development practitioner, she has been working in the Arab Region since 2005 for NGO's, United Nations (UNFPA) and bilateral donors. She holds a master in development by the Universidad Complutense of Madrid and a MaRes by SOAS, University of London. Her focus has been sexual violence and sexual & reproductive health and rights. Her interest revolves around the interaction of young women and men involved in Human Rights and Feminist civil society organisations with the State, with the development and gender machinery, and within their own activist's networks.

PhD Research

This project examines the complexity of young feminists and human rights activists’ social webs emerging from Tahrir Square, Egypt. Particularly young women’s experiences, formerly articulated under the state-narrative regime, have participated in and prompted the ‘critical event’ that has radically changed the political landscape of a Country that seemed immutable. In permanent contestation and negotiation for their future and destiny, young feminists activists embody the emergence of a subaltern culture that is calling for a reconsideration of youth's agency and gender politics. The different dynamics co-existing in Tahrir Square have rendered visible the specific subaltern narratives and networks of young people and the silences that need further research. Sexual violence, in the context of the revolution, emerged as an unavoidable experience that yet brought together the synergies of many groups to put together a collective answer to state and non state led attacks. By focusing on the daily experiences of human rights and feminists groups in confrontation with and struggling for different social institutions, this project investigate: What are the dominant relations of power in young feminists' daily lives? How is the state present in their lives and how do they resit and accommodate it? How do these relations of power affect their moral registers? And how do they navigate, contest and stabilize the controversies arising from the given social webs in the context of the revolution?



  • International workshop ‘Finding Siblings in the Anthropology of the Middle East and North Africa’ organized at the London School of Economics by the department of Anthropology – Paper presented: ‘I want my sisters! – Siblings and friends to navigate crisis in post-revolutionary Egypt’, 2016.
  • Annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association 2016 (MESA) – Boston, USA: ‘Five hundred Mob-Assaults and one FGM case: Whose laws rule Women’s rights in Egypt?’ presented at the panel ‘Political and legal contestations over Gender-Based Violence in Post-Revolutionary Egypt’
  • Annual conference of Middle East Studies Association 2017 (MESA) Washington, USA: 'My Body, My violence and My Political Resistance: Rape, Public Testimony, and Silence at the Margins of Tahrir' submitted at the panel: Gendering the Body in Middle East.
  • Conference the Center for Gender Studies –SOAS and Center for Transnational Development and Collaboration: Politicized Sexualities, Marginalized Histories: A Conference on Sexuality in Southwest Asia and North Africa. Paper presented: 'Sexual and Reproductive Rights as Litmus Test to State Feminism in Egypt' – London 25 March 2017.
  • World Congress for Middle East Studies 2018 (WOCMES) Seville: 'Affects and the Young Female Body: Nudity and Disgust in the Case of Aliaa Elmahdy' paper presneted in the panel: 'Theorizing the Gendered Body in Post-January 25 Egypt' (forthcoming).


  • Former Research Fellow at the John D. Gehart Centre for Philanthropy and Civic Engagement and at the The Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at the American University in Cairo
  • Middle East Studies Association (MESA)
  • Association Middle East Women Studies (AMEWS)
  • Association Middle East Anthropologist (Member at large)


  • Feminism
  • Human Rights
  • Citizenship
  • Development
  • Anthropology Youth
  • Gender Studies