SOAS University of London

Centre for Gender Studies

Ms Akanksha Mehta

MSC (NTU, Singapore), BENG (National University of Singapore)
  • Research


Akanksha Mehta
Ms Akanksha Mehta
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Thesis title:
Negotiating Space on the 'Right': The everyday politics of Hindu Nationalist and Zionist settler women in India and Israel-Palestine
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

PhD Research

My PhD project examines the everyday politics of right-wing women. Specifically, it looks at right-wing women in the Hindu Nationalist movement in India and the Zionist Settler project in Israel-Palestine to examine how right-wing women mobilise and perform politics and violence while at the same contest patriarchal structures within their movements. By examining practices and spaces of pedagogy, physical violence and aggression, leisure, friendship, and intimacy, and 'charity' and 'humanitarian' work, I aim to question dichotomies around agency/victimhood and personal/political in feminist international relations.

My project used ethnographic methods (including visual methods) to address the questions it raised. It also aims to begin a larger discussion on methods and methodologies for researching interlocutors whose views differ greatly from the researcher's politics as well as on the use of visual methods for politics and gender research.


Peer-Reviewed Articles 
(2015) The aesthetics of “everyday” violence: narratives of violence and Hindu right-wing women, Critical Studies on Terrorism, 8:3, 416-438, DOI:10.1080/17539153.2015.1091656
Book Chapters
(2012) “No Revolution Without Women, No Liberation Without Revolution: Women in India’s Maoist Movement ” in More than Maoism: Politics, Policies and Insurgencies in South Asia, Ed. Jeffrey, Robin, New Delhi: Manohar Publications, October 2012 
(2015) Review of the Gender and Colonial Conference at CGS SOAS (May 2015) in Postcolonial Studies Association Newsletter #15  (Spring/Summer 2015): 22
“We are all Responsible, We are all Guilty,” Counter Currents, 29 December 2012,


October 2015: SOAS Palestine Society Tenth Annual Conference, SOAS, Presented a paper, titled, "Politics of Violence and Poltiics of Leisure": Zionist Settler Women's Activism in West Bank, Palestine 
September 2015: Feminist and Women's Studies Association (FWSA) of the UK Annual Conference- Everyday Encounters with Violence- Critical Feminist Perspectives,  Presented a paper, titled, "Cultural Nationalism, Maternal/Familial Spaces, and the Violent 'Feminine': Agency and Politics of Right-Wing Women in India and Israel-Palestine"
June 2015: BRISMES Annual Conference, LSE, London. Presented two papers
June 2015: Re-thinking Right Wing Women, Oxford University, Presented a paper, titled, ““The Reflexivity of Discomfort”- Ethics, Methodological Approaches, and ‘Difficult’ Narratives in Researching Right-Wing Women.”
June 2015: European Conference on Politics and Gender, Uppsala University, Sweden. Presented a paper, titled, ““The Reflexivity of Discomfort”- Ethics, Methodological Approaches, and ‘Difficult’ Narratives in Feminist Research.”
June 2015: European Feminist Research Conference, University of Lapland, Finland. Presented three papers, titled, “Cultural Nationalism, Public Spaces, and the Violent ‘Feminine’: Identity, Agency, and Politics of Hindu Right Wing Women in India,” ““The Reflexivity of Discomfort”- Ethics, Methodological Approaches, and ‘Difficult’ Narratives in Feminist Research,” and “The Bodily Aesthetics of ‘Everyday’ Politics: Embodiment, Visuals, Violence, Gender, and Right-Wing Movements.”
February 2015 (forthcoming): International Studies Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, USA. Presented two papers, titled “'Silences' as Sites of Agency and Transformation: Feminist Studies and the Politics of Right-Wing Women” and “The Aesthetics of ‘Everyday’ Politics: Visuals, Violence, Gender, and Right-Wing Movements” and chaired a panel, titled, “Women, Peace and Security: Conventions, Challenges and Contemporary Debates.” 
October 2014: Annual Millennium Conference- Quo Vadis IR: Method, Methodology and Innovation, London School of Economics and Political Science. Presented a paper, titled “The Reflexivity of Discomfort- Ethics, Methodological Approaches, and ‘Difficult’ Narratives in Feminist Research” and chaired a panel, titled, “The Politics of the Body: Gendered Knowledge Production in IR.”
August 2014: World Congress of Middle East Studies, Ankara, Turkey. Presented a paper titled, “Negotiating Spatialities on the ‘Right’: Urban Space and Zionist women in Israel-Palestine.”
May 2014: Anthropology and Photography, Royal Anthropological Institute, London, UK. Convened (in absentia) a panel on the Visual and the Urban. Presented a paper (in absentia) titled, “Visualizing the Diasporic Imagination: The City, Southall, and the Indian Migrant Community”
April 2014: Gendered Memories of War and Political Violence, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. Presented a paper titled, “Gendered Memories of Migration and Violence: Right Wing Women and Discourses on the Partition of India”
March 2014: Ways of Knowing: Women and Photography in Asia and the Middle East, School of Art Media and Design, Nanyang Technological University, and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. Presented a paper titled, “Gender and the Visual: Re-membering Politics and the City through Images”
June 2013: Trajectories of the Political: MPhil Graduate Conference, Department of political science, SOAS, University of London. Presented a paper based on my PhD proposal. 
May 2013: Violence, Insurgencies, Deceptions: Conceptualizing Urban Life in South Asia, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Presented a paper at the workshop titled, “Cultural Nationalism, Public Spaces, and the Violent ‘Feminine’: Identity, Agency, and Politics of Hindu Right Wing Women in India.”
March 2013: European Conference on Politics on Gender and Politics, Barcelona, Spain. Presented a paper on my PhD research and a paper on Feminist Ethics and Methodology. Convened a panel on Feminist Methodologies. 
February 2013: Exploring modern South Asian history with visual research methods: theories and practices’ Pre-Conference Seminar Series, University of Cambridge, UK. Presented an hour long seminar titled, “Visual Narratives of `Fierce` Goddesses and `Brave` Women.”


  • Centre for Gender Studies
  • Department of Politics and International Studies
  • SOAS South Asia Institute
  • International Studies Organisation (ISA)
  • Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section; LGBTQA Caucus; Women's Caucus; Feminist Security Studies Group of the International Studies Organisation (ISA)
  • Feminist and Women Studies Association (FWSA) of the UK and Ireland 
  • Political Art Standing Group of the European Consortium of Political Research 


  • International Relations
  • Feminist and Gender Theory
  • Political Violence
  • War and Conflict
  • Militarization
  • Political Anthropology
  • Spatial Politics
  • Emotions and Affect
  • Feminist Methodologies
  • Research Ethics
  • Visual Methods and Methodologies
  • Art, Activism, and Academia