I’m Hazel Johnstone, Department Manager of the Department of Gender Studies. We have around 100 MSc students, with six programmes and a seventh about to begin; 15 PhDs and 15 academics. I work with two other administrators and because we’re small, we tend to do a bit of everything alongside our individual responsibilities. In my spare time, I’m the managing editor of the European Journal of Women’s Studies.
Tell us about your background?
I’m originally from Edinburgh, although I’ve been in London on and off since 1975. Those “off” periods include a first degree at Hull where I was a very mature student (I am a proud member of the one O-Level and two degrees brigade), and time spent travelling in the US and Australia. I also have an MSc in Social Anthropology from LSE - I did that part-time while still doing a full-time job.
Tell us about your time at LSE?
I came to LSE as a temp in 1990, originally in the Geography Department. This was a formative time as I met my future partner Ralph there, and became friends with people I’m still friendly with today including Sylvia Chant (and her renowned cohort of PhD students, most of whom I still know and some who are now Professors themselves), Jane Pugh and too many others to name.
I should also mention the late Derek Diamond as a major influence, as apart from anything else, he offered me a permanent job, and volunteered me for the working group which led to the creation of the Gender Institute (GI) in the early 1990s. Many of that working group are still at LSE and I remember them all well and the various unrecognised roles they played, and their generosity in giving their time and expertise to help build the GI (now the Department of Gender Studies), in addition to their existing commitments.
Outside my time at LSE, I enjoy the work I do on the European Journal of Women’s Studies, which offers the opportunity of working with some more fantastic women (and occasional travel).
What are you most proud of?
I’m really proud that the Gender Institute has become the Department of Gender Studies and that we all still work in essentially a very collegiate way. Our curriculum now includes a choice of topics and specialisms that we could only dream of covering then. I’m also proud that I still have a key role to play within it (I interfere in everything!). The GI has had an amazing capacity for retaining people, all of whom contribute to our truly supportive environment. It’s great to see the department continue to grow and flourish in new directions with each new appointment.
I’m also very proud of being involved with the collectively edited Sage Handbook of Feminist Theory (2014) and in recently working with Mary Evans and Sarah Moore on the book Detecting the Social: Order and Disorder in Post-1970s Detective Fiction Palgrave Macmillan (2018) - which is an academic study of detective fiction and a particular joy because it’s my favourite genre, a taste I inherited from my mum.
A colleague said:
Hazel is a hugely inspiring person. She has achieved so much and should be very proud - she was recently awarded an MBE!
Department of Gender Studies
European Journal of Women’s Studies