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Research Students

Acciari, Louisa


Louisa started her ESRC-funded PhD at the Gender Institute in 2014, exploring the process of unionization of domestic workers in Brazil and their struggle to be recognised as workers. In this projects, she pays particular attention to the intersection of gender, race and class in the construction of social hierarchies and the ways in which it determines the value of women's labour. Her research interests include social movements, industrial relations, feminist political economy, postcoloniality, Brazilian and Latin American politics. She is native speaker in French and Portuguese and fluent in Spanish. 

Louisa was awarded her MSc in Gender Research at the GI in 2013 with distinction. She also holds an MSc in Comparative Politics - Latin America (2011) and a BSc in Political Science (2009) from Science Po Paris. Her professional experience includes policy analysis for the European Commission and market research organisations, as well as research and consultancy for NGOs and the National Union of Students (NUS) in equality and diversity issues. In addition, Louisa has been involved in the student and feminist movement for years both in France and the UK. 


Behrens, Annette


Annette is working on an LSE funded doctorate at the Gender Institute, where she previously received her MSc in Gender (Research). She also holds a BSc in Politics with Economics from the University of Bath. Annette was jointly awarded Best Degree Performance at the GI, with a dissertation entitled Gendered experiences in activism: Using democratic imaginary and space to conceptualise women, feminism and the Occupy movement

In her doctoral research, Annette uses theoretical and ethnographic methods to look at the gendered imaginary of prefigurative politics. The thesis aims to develop an intersectional anarcha-feminist epistemology through which to think through the work of revolutionary subject(s) of prefiguration. Annette’s further research interests include, but are not limited to, the production of knowledge and epistemology, political ideologies, radical democracy, transnational feminism(s), post-anarchism, queer and affect theory.

Annette is also an editor for the Gender Institute’s blog Engenderings, and continues to be involved in various feminist and anti-capitalist social movements and activist organising.



Breslow, Jacob


Jacob is a final-year PhD student who returned to the Gender Institute in 2012 to pursue his LSE funded doctoral research after being awarded an MSc with Distinction in Gender (Research) in 2011. Prior to his MSc, Jacob received a BA in Feminist Studies and Community Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. During his PhD, he has taught on an undergraduate sociology course, and the core course of the GI MSc. Along with co-organizing an ESRC funded graduate symposium on figuration, an LSE TLC funded workshop on queer theory, and an away-weekend on intersectionality, he has also been accepted to the doctoral LSE – Columbia University partnership programme, during which time he taught an undergraduate theory course for Barnard’s Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies department. 

Jacob's thesis, “The Theory and Practice of Childhood: Interrogating Childhood as a Technology of Power” explores the relationships of power that investments in childhood structure as childhood gets applied to individuals and populations within the contemporary US. Examining childhood as a ‘technology’ of power, his thesis tracks how childhood extends and challenges entangled investments in ageism, racism, normative sexualities, and the gender binary, paying additional attention to the ways in which these are co-produced with national belonging and coloniality. His wider research interests are in questions of age, subjectivity, desire, psychoanalysis, biopolitics, and affect, 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.                            


Eloit, Ilana


Ilana started her LSE funded doctorate at the Gender Institute in 2014, and is currently an associate researcher to the research program GEDI (Genre et discriminations sexistes et homophobes), coordinated by the University of Angers. She has contributed to the Dictionnaire des féministes  to be shortly published by the University Press of France (PUF).

Her doctoral thesis examines the socio-genesis of lesbian collective identities in France in the 1970s and 1980s and their relation to feminist social movements, through the lenses of political, cultural and theoretical circulations between France and the United States. She pays particular attention to the transatlantic controversies revolving around the definition of the political subject of feminism and to the epistemological dissonances between feminist and lesbian subject-positions.

Ilana’s broader research interests include social movements, socio-history of feminist and LGBT movements, lesbian studies, the practices of oral history, epistemology of history, feminist materialism and queer theories.

She holds a BSc and an MA from Sciences Po Paris, an MSc in Gender Studies with Distinction from the University Paris 8, and a BA and MSc in Art History from Paris 1 – La Sorbonne. In 2011, she co-curated with Jonathan D. Katz and Julia Haas an exhibition at the Leslie/Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art on 1970s lesbian-feminist photography in the United States.



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 is a final year PhD candidate at the Gender Institute working on a study of domestic abuse in the British Armed Forces. The empirical base of the work is made up of 45 in-depth, qualitative interviews conducted with victim-survivors and perpetrators of abuse in the military context as well as with support workers in both military and civilian roles. The thesis approaches domestic abuse as a gendered political and a social issue as well as an individual and interpersonal one. It draws the connections between the multiple forms of gendered violence and inequality which occur on different ‘scales’ from the intimate to the global and understands these forms of violence to be mutually constitutive – that is, the violences of the intimate are both productive of, and formulated through, the violences of the geopolitical, and vice versa. As such, the study presents an analysis of domestic abuse in the British military which situates it in the social and political context of militarism. The work highlights some of the ways in which victim-survivors’ help-seeking experiences are shaped by militarism, and moreover argues that the depoliticisation of domestic abuse within the dominant narratives which circulate in this context – that is, the failure to recognise domestic abuse as a social and political issue based on gendered inequalities – is one of the many sites at which militarism itself is reproduced on an everyday basis.

Harriet’s broader research interests include nationalism, militarism and citizenship; military sociology; masculinities; sexual and gender-based violence; and the relationship between feminist theory and activism. Her work has been published in the journals Gender, Place and Culture and Feminist Review. Harriet holds a First Class Honours degree in Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield and an MA with Distinction in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London. Alongside her academic interests, she has worked with third-sector organisations in the areas of gender-based violence and women’s role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.



Hartviksen, Julia 


Julia graduated summa cum laude from the University of Ottawa in 2012 with a Bachelors of Social Sciences degree in International Studies and Modern Languages (French Immersion). She completed her Masters of Arts in Global Development Studies in 2014 at Queen’s University, Canada, where she was funded by both the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Graduate Scholarship. She is fluent in French and Spanish.

Julia’s doctoral project builds on her previous research and work experience in Guatemala, and explores the materiality of femicide and other forms of violences against women in Guatemala’s Northern Transversal Strip. Her research interests include critical feminist political economy, feminist international relations, violences against women, feminist historical materialism, extractivism, and masculinities. She holds a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and a PhD Studentship from the LSE. Julia is also a Visiting Researcher at the Women’s Institute of the University of San Carlos in Guatemala City.


Holvikivi, Aiko 


Aiko joined the Gender Institute in 2015. Her LSE-funded research focuses on gender training for uniformed personnel (military and police) engaged in international interventions. Her doctoral thesis examines gender training materials and practice with a view to identifying how gender knowledge is translated and deployed in military and police institutions, and how such training might help 'do' gender and security differently. Aiko's broader research interests include questions linked to the international 'Women, Peace and Security' -agenda and its implementation, feminist security studies, critical military studies, and the politics of international military interventions and peacebuilding.

Aiko previously worked on questions related to gender and security at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) and the European Commission's Directorate-General for Home Affairs. Her professional experience includes policy research and technical advice and capacity-building in the field of gender and security sector reform. She holds an MA in Political Science from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and an MA (undergraduate) with First Class Honours in International Relations from the University of St Andrews. She is fluent in English, Finnish and French.



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.     




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 has a BA (hons) in French and Politics from The University of Sheffield, an International Diploma in Politics from Sciences-Po (Paris), and an MSc in Gender (Research) from the Gender Institute at LSE. She has taught Undergraduate and Masters courses at the Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (France) and Undergraduate and Masters courses at LSE (in the Department of Sociology and the Gender Institute, respectively).

Emma’s ESRC-funded PhD explores the appeal and effects of gay progress narratives. The project seeks to identify and analyse new discursive and material inclusions and exclusions, arguing that these borders have been reconfigured through the changing position of homosexuality in stories of progress that are told about the world, the nation, the city and the neighbourhood. Previously, Emma worked on LGBTQ asylum and the constrained sexual stories that can be told through asylum applications.



Wong, Yee Nee

Sub-Saharan African households