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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.                            


Ilana Eloit


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.


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 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.



Kalogeras, Joanne

Troubling Cosmopolitanism. A synthesis of normative and non-normative approaches with a reconstruction of cosmopolitanism theory’s core components.

In November 2014 I was awarded 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 located within political and moral philosophy by using the work of feminist, queer and postcolonial theorists. The thesis is a construction of a new, critical cosmopolitan theory at its foundations that takes into account critiques of its structural components—namely, autonomy, universality, and anti-nationalism—and generates a ‘cosmopolitan subjectivity’ that I argue inhabits the cosmopolitan position.

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 was involved in the campaign to repeal Don't Ask/Don't Tell (the US military’s ban on homosexuals serving openly), specifically through working with Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, from its start in 1993 until 2004. Theoretical issues around social marginalisation and deviance are key to my interests, as are their empirical and experiential aspects—to this end I strive for coherence and understanding between the different approaches.

I have served on the executive committee of the Feminist Women's Studies Association (FWSA) from 2007 to 2009 and was 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 have written for the FWSA and have blogged for The New Civil Rights Movement, a US LGBTQ civil rights web site, on issues regarding nationalism, national elections, and the power of words in the media. 

In the fall of 2015 I will be part of the launch of a new web site, along with fellow activists Tanya Domi and Clinton Fein, called The Art of Engagement, where I will be discussing gender/queer social movements, feminism, and topics related to cosmopolitanism (to name a few areas of interest). In particular, I’ll be focusing on the media representation of these issues in US and UK television and film.

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. While studying here in the UK I have taught sociology and gender studies to undergraduates at LSE and the University of Westminster, and to Masters students at the University of Warwick. I am presently teaching at LSE and the University of Westminster whilst I consider my next move and whether it will be here in the UK or back in the US.  

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 final year PhD candidate. Her current research focuses on gendered experiences of rural migrant workers in the catering Sector in Shanghai. Her research Interests cover gender and work, migration studies, social policy, 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, did consulting work for International Institute for Environment and Development and European University Institute and continues to be a freelancer writer for the subscribed magazine China Outlook.



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 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