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Research Students

Breslow, Jacob


Jacob returned to the Gender Institute in 2012 to pursue his doctorate after graduating with Distinction in 2011 with an MSc from the Gender Institute's Gender (Research) programme. Jacob has a BA in Feminist Studies and Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has a long history of engagement with queer youth organizing in California, New York, and London. 

Jacob's LSE funded doctoral research combines the social studies of childhood with the critical lenses of feminist theory, queer theory, and postcolonial theory, in an attempt to re-articulate the figure of the child. He is interested in questions of age, temporality, sexuality, social justice, and materiality, as well as the consequences and promises of daily life.    



Conroy, Amanda

  Amanda Conroy

Gender, ‘Race’ and Boundary-Phobia: Xenophobia and Constructions of Masculinity and Citizenship in the US Border-Control Militia Movement

Amanda's dissertation uses ethnographic methods to trace the intersections between masculinity, citizenship and state sovereignty in the Minuteman movement, a set of loosely-organized groups of U.S. citizens who organize patrols of the US-Mexico border in order to protect ‘national sovereignty’ and prevent illegal migration. It is interdisciplinary in approach, integrating international relations with feminist political theory and gender studies. As such it departs from traditional International Relations, which arranges locales of analysis hierarchically, privileging studies of world systems and states over the actions of individuals and the ideas and discourses that construct fields of ethical, moral and political possibilities. The goal of her project is to integrate empirical research and theory in order to better understand the causes of nativism and nationalism.

Amanda’s broader research interests include Renaissance and early Enlightenment political thought; contemporary political philosophy; feminist and post-colonial political theory; right-wing and conservative social movements; the intersections between gender, race, and nationalism; and the gendered dimensions of citizenship.

She received an MA (with Distinction) in Gender Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (UK) in 2009 and a BA (Honours) in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College (USA) in 2007. In addition to her doctoral work, Amanda is on the editorial team of the Graduate Journal of Social Science (http://gjss.org) and Engenderings, the LSE Gender Institute blog. She writes for Engenderings and the LSE British Politics and Policy blog and has written for the Guardian.                            


Franchi, Marina


The Analysis of Italian Media Discourse on the issue of Unions De Facto

Marina Franchi received a Laurea cum mentione at the University of Eastern Piedmont (Italy). She worked within various EU funded projects as a junior researcher in the Department of Social Research in the Faculty of Political Sciences of Alessandria. In 2004 she joined the LSE to undertake a MSc in Gender and Media. Between 2006 and 2008 she worked at the EU-Daphne II project Family Matters- Supporting families to prevent violence against homosexual youth. In her PhD project she conducts a research on Media Discourse on the legal recognition of de facto couples in Italy. Through the analysis of media texts she aims to gain an insight into Italian sexual politics, and to facilitate a fruitful understanding of the relationships between dominant notions of family, kinship and sexual citizenship in contemporary Italy.          


Fugina, Miha


Miha studied Sinology and Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, followed by an MA course in Gender Studies at SOAS. He joined the LSE Gender Institute in 2013 to further pursue his research interest around anti-authoritarian thought. In his PhD project, Miha is exploring Chinese anarchist politics of intimacy through a conversation with cognate social and political theories - mainly contemporary anarchist, feminist and queer approaches. So, besides investigating specificities of various Chinese anarchist critiques of marriage and the family, Miha is also thinking about the potential intellectual contribution of Chinese anarchist thought to the contemporary debates on the politics of intimacy. 

E-mail: m.fugina@lse.ac.uk 



Gray, Harriet

harriet gray

Harriet  is a third-year Gender Institute PhD student working on a study of intimate partner abuse in the UK armed forces. The empirical base of the work is made up of interviews conducted with women who have experienced abuse in marriages with British military servicemen, servicemen who have perpetrated abuse against their (ex)wives, and professionals who have experience of working with either or both of these groups in a range of support services. Drawing on feminist theories of nation and militarism, Harriet argues that a focus on the ‘everyday’ gendered power which constitutes abuse can help scholars to better understand gendered constructions of militarism and militarisation. It is hoped that the work will in addition contribute to policy discussions around the improvement of support services to the individuals impacted by intimate partner abuse in the British military community.

Harriet holds a BA in Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield and an MA with Distinction in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London. After gaining her MA, Harriet left academia for a few years to work at national domestic violence charity Refuge, an experience which solidified her interest in gender-based violence and in the importance of paying close attention to the relationship between feminist theory and activism.                                                                                                    


Hyde, Alexandra


The Militarised Mobilities of Army Wives

Alex’s PhD research is an ethnography of a British Army camp overseas from the perspective of civilian women married to servicemen. The project focuses on the experiences and attitudes of ‘military wives’ within the Army’s social and institutional structure. Its aim is to investigate how processes of militarisation are contingent upon or indeed, mediated by other factors such as gender, class, sexuality and national identity. See more on Alexandra Hyde.

Alex has a BA in English from Cambridge University and an MA in Gender Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her professional background is in facilitating arts, media and international development projects for social change. She continues to work on policy and advocacy communications for a DFID-funded research consortium on the structural drivers of HIV (including a focus on gender), based at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.              



Kalogeras, Joanne

Troubling Cosmopolitanism. A synthesis of normative and non- normative approaches:

I am in the process of completing my doctorate at the London School of Economics’ Gender Institute, where I also received my master’s degree in 2005. My thesis investigates normative cosmopolitan theory within political and moral philosophy, by using the work of feminist, queer and postcolonial theorists. My goal is the construction of a new, critical cosmopolitan theory that takes into account critiques of its structural components.

I have served on the executive committee of the Feminist Women's Studies Association (FWSA) from 2007 to 2009 and am a member of the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) PhD Student Forum, London School of Economics. I have presented papers on critical cosmopolitan theory at the Association of American Geographers 2008 Conference (Boston) and the 2007 sex/life/politics conference (Loughborough), as well as at the CCS PhD Forum. I will be presenting a paper at the CBEES Cosmopolitanism in a Wider Context conference at Södertörn University (South Stockholm) in 11/2011. I have written for the FWSA and am presently blogging for The New Civil Rights Movement, a U.S. LGBTQ civil rights web site.

I have been a queer activist since my early college days, and those experiences have provided a valuable dimension to my theoretical research. I served on the Board of Directors of Digital Queers (a high tech activist organisation) from 1994 to 1996, and I have been involved in the campaign to repeal Don't Ask/Don't Tell (the U.S. military’s ban on homosexuals serving openly), specifically through working with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, since the mid 1990s. Issues surrounding social marginalisation and deviance are empirical as well as theoretical to me, and I strive for coherence and understanding between the two approaches.

I grew up outside of Chicago, and studied political philosophy at the University of Chicago before moving to San Francisco in 1986, where I spent most of the 1980s and 90s in the software industry. I still consider San Francisco my home.                  

Lehtonen, Aura


Aura started her ESRC-funded doctoral research at the Gender Institute in 2014, exploring the role of sexuality and sexual regulation within recent welfare and immigration policy in the UK. Her research interests include citizenship and state building, inequalities and social justice, theories of affect and the psyche, questions of epistemology, and queer theory.

Aura completed her MSc in Gender with distinction at the GI in 2011, and has a BA in Politics and Chinese from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). She has a long history of working with refugees and people in immigration detention, and her professional experience also includes training and advice for campaigners and activists. 


Mikulak, Magdalena


Magdalena joined the Gender Institute as a PhD student in September 2013. She holds a BA in Study of Religions and Hispanic Studies and an MA in Contemporary Religions from University College Cork, Ireland. 

Her LSE funded research looks at the phenomenon of religiously motivated reparative therapy (sexual orientation conversion therapy) in contemporary Poland. In this project she examines the ways in which negotiations around sexuality come to bear on postsocialist modernity, paying particular attention to questions of class and the effects of socio-political transformation that took place in Poland post 1989, and using reparative therapy as a site from which the complexity and ambivalence of such negotiations can be engaged with.

Magdalena's research interests include – but are not limited to – sexuality, modernity, postsocialism, religion, LGBTQI activism, class, Central and Eastern Europe, globalization, social change, and transnational movements.



Shaw, Amanda


Amanda is a first year PhD student. Her research explores feminist development alternatives, agrarian change, ecology, and inequalities in Hawai’i. She completed her MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization at the GI in 2007 and has worked in government and women’s rights issues in the US, UK and Argentina. She continues to offer consulting support to research and advocacy organizations working on issues of gender, environment and social change.  Her research interests include feminist development alternatives, feminist economics, social movements, queer theory, theories of affect and art practice in social science research.     



Shen, Yang

  Yang Shen

Yang is a PhD candidate  funded by China Scholarship Council. Her current research focuses on peasant migrant workers in the catering Sector in Shanghai. Her research Interests cover gender and work, migration studies, contemporary China Studies, and qualitative research methods.

Yang has a BA in History from Fudan University and a MSc (with distinction) in Higher Education from Shanghai Jiaotong University. She worked as an intern at UN Women and she continues to work as a columnist for the newspapr UKChinese.   


Shephard, Nicole


Nicole joined the Gender Institute to pursue her PhD studies in 2010. Under the working title "Towards a queer intersectional approach to subject formation in transnational social spaces", her project  seeks conceptually contribute to transnational gender and migration studies by re-examining some of the ways in which transnational subjects have been approached.

The analysis engages with the notion of transnational social space emerging from transnational migration studies and poststructuralist conceptions of subject formation on the one hand, as well as feminist, postcolonial and queer interventions into transnational migration research on the other. Drawing on intersectional theories in gender studies and the queering of methodologies beyond the study of queer subjects, the thesis then explores the productive gaps and overlaps between these conceptual and empirical literatures to propose a queer intersectional approach to transnational subjects. To illustrate and critically evaluate how this emerging framework plays out in an empirical context, it will be employed in a case study on subject formation within the British South Asian transnational social space.

Nicole's broader research interests include gender and migration, transnationalism, social movements, online activism/hacktivism, inter(post?)disciplinarity and critical methodologies. As a teaching assistant she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate classes on research methods.

She has received  an MSc (with distinction) in International Development from the University of Bristol in 2009 and a BA (insigni cum laude) in Social Policy and Social Work with a minor in Social Anthropology from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) in 2008. Her pre-academic professional background is in IT and Human Resources where she has worked in application management and process management.     


Simmonds, Lindsay


Lindsay’s research explores the lives of British orthodox Jewish women (BOJW). She is interested in the marked ways in which the intersection of these identities troubles notions of agency. Lindsay argues that theories of agency concerned with the religious subject must be grounded in real women’s lives; especially those who challenge and shift the notion of the BOJW through their day to day experiences as religious subjects within British society. Her work attempts to challenge as well as employ contemporary theorists, in particular Judith Butler and Saba Mahmood, in their framing of agency of the religious subject. She is particularly interested in Butler’s theory of ‘Cultural Intelligibility’ as it relates to the performance of religious life. She navigates through the pertinent theorists by using interviews with BOJW and exploring contemporary practices within the British orthodox communities. Moving from a binary sense of (only) the mis-act as agentic; through the ‘inhabiting norms...as a modality of action’, Lindsay attempts to broaden the meaning of agency – one which evokes the sense that acts reflect religious norms back on to the religious community, such that agentic subjects continually shift ‘traditional’ behavioural norms, and in turn, what might be considered intelligible. 

Lindsay’s received her BSc in Speech and Language Pathology from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London, before studying in Jerusalem, Israel for five years in institutions which promoted post-graduate Jewish Studies for women (Nishmat and Midreshet Lindenbaum); subjects included: Talmud, Jewish Law, Biblical Narrative Analysis and Jewish Philosophy. On her return to the UK, she graduated as a Susi Bradfield Scholar from the London School of Jewish Studies (LSJS) and received her MSc in Gender Studies from the LSE’s Gender Institute in 2009.

In 1998, Lindsay became a faculty member of the LSJS where she has lectured, written and convened courses for over 15 years, focussing on women in Biblical narrative and women in Jewish Law and the Talmud. She lectures at Kings’ College London, for the United Synagogue and at Jewish communities throughout the UK. She speaks at national and international conferences on Judaism and Gender, writes regularly for the Jewish Chronicle and is involved in several UK projects promoting orthodox Jewish women’s ritual participation and leadership. She has appeared on the BBC’s Woman’s Hour, Beyond Belief and the world service. Lindsay is also involved in several inter-faith projects and is a member of the Cambridge Co-Exist Leadership Programme.  



Spruce, Emma

  Emma Spruce

Following an Undergraduate Degree in French and Politics at Sheffield University and a Diploma in International Relations at Sciences-Po (Paris) Emma came to the LSE in 2009 to undertake an MSc in Gender (research).  She re-joined the Gender Institute in 2011 and is now conducting ESRC-funded PhD research investigating how ideas of progress are reliant on and constitutive of gay and lesbian identities. Emma uses ethnographic work in Brixton (South London) and analysis of internationalised gay rights proclamations from the British political system to explore the links between micro and macro articulations of progress. 



Wong, Yee Nee

Sub-Saharan African households