I joined the department as an LSE Fellow in September 2013. I previously held a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at the Department for Culture, Media and Creative Industries, Kings College. Prior to this I was a Research Fellow at the University of Greenwich and worked for the Open University and the Policy Studies Institute.
I have a BA in Psychology and Humanities from the University of Tel Aviv, an MSc in Sociology from the LSE, and a PhD from Goldsmiths College, University of London.
My research is located at the intersection between the study of gender, adolescence, new media and development policy. My most recent project funded by a Leverhulme Early Career fellowship and undertaken with Prof. Rosalind Gill was titled ‘Girl Power: the Global Biopolitics of Girlhood’. The research examined the girl-empowerment policy agenda (also described as the ‘Girl Effect’) promoted by a wide range of leading organisations involved in global health and development work including USAID, UN agencies WHO, DfID and the Nike Foundation. The research examined the centrality of the notion of ‘girl power’ to current policy thinking on how to eradicate poverty in the global South. We also explored the use of virals and social media campaigns to promote support for the ‘Girl Effect’ among Western publics, particularly girls.
Building on this work, I am currently developing a new project that will look at development interventions that use new media to empower girls in the global South and to facilitate activism among girls in the global North in support of their ‘distant sisters’.The research will interrogate the implications of this potentially major social transformation, focusing specifically on its effect on the relationship between the global North and South.
My research on girls and digital media came out of earlier and on-going work on adolescence, policy and sexual and reproductive health. As part of my work in this field I am currently co-convening an ESRC funded seminar series on young people’s sexual health, together with Dr. Lesley Hoggart, Open University (the P.I.), Prof. Emma Renold, Cardiff University, Prof. Jessica Ringrose, IoE and Dr. Susan Walker, Anglia Ruskin. See details http://www2.gre.ac.uk/about/schools/health/about/events/esrc.
I am also on the advisory board of the AHRC funded project ‘Bazaar Cinema: Re-purposing Media and debating cultural rights of Youth Communities in London and Mumbai’ run by Prof. Janet Harbord, Dr Amitabh Rai and Dr Gil Toffell at Queen Mary, University of London.
My PhD research examined the emergence of ‘teenage pregnancy’ as a policy concern in Britain in the 1960s. The research explored how it became possible to describe teenage pregnancy as ‘children having children’, highlighting the role played by psychological understandings of ‘adolescence’ in this process
Impact and outreach
‘The Teenage Pregnancy Myth’, BBC Radio 4, 19 March 2012 (interviewed)
‘Will the 'girl effect' really help to combat poverty?, The Guardian Poverty Matters Blog, 10 February 2012.
'Second thoughts: Supporting Teenage Mothers ', The Guardian, 7 October 2009.
Coverage of research findings:
Bloom, Adi 'Kids with Kids: How Teen Mums are a Relic of the 1960s', Times Educational Supplement, 13 November 2009.
Collaboration with third sector organisation
In collaboration with the Women’s Library I organised and contributed to two public events engaging academics, third sector organisations and the public:
‘Exporting’ Gender Equality: Postcolonial Feminist Reflections, The Women’s Library , 18 April 2012
Teenage Motherhood: Policy Problem or Feminist Cause?, The Women’s Library, 15 April 2010
Co-authored with Dr. Shani Orgad and Prof. Rosalind Gill:‘Selfies and the girl powering of development’ contribution to a special issue for Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, on ‘"Post-Girl Power: Globalised Mediated Femininities" to be published in 2015, currently under review.
‘Fertile bodies, Immature brains? : A genealogical critique of neuroscientific claims regarding the adolescent brain and of the global fight against adolescent motherhood’, article under review.
Koffman, O. and Gill, R. (2013) ‘The revolution will be led by a 12 year old girl’: girl power and the global biopolitics of girlhood’, Feminist Review, issue 105, November 2013, 83-102.
‘A healthier and more hopeful person’: Illegitimacy, mental disorder and the improved prognosis of adolescent mothers’
Koffman, O. (2013), “‘A healthier and more hopeful person’: Illegitimacy, mental disorder and the improved prognosis of adolescent mothers” Journal of Medical Humanities.
‘Fat Studies : repenser le poids’, Koffman, O. (2013), Interview with Kathleen LeBesco: ‘Fat Studies : repenser le poids’, Poli : Politique de l'image, Numéro 7, Juin.
Children having children?: Religion, Psychology and the Birth of the Teenage Pregnancy Problem
Koffman, O. (2012) ‘Children having children?: Religion, Psychology and the Birth of the Teenage Pregnancy Problem’, History of the Human Sciences, February 2012. vol. 25 no. 1, 119-134.
Koffman, O. Children having children?: Morality, psychology and the emergence of the teenage pregnancy problem, monograph contracted with Manchester University Press.
Koffman, O. and Gill R. (2013), “‘i matter and so does she’: Girl power, (post)feminism and the Girl Effect’” in Youth Cultures in the Age of Global Media, edited by David Buckingham, Sara Bragg and Mary Jane Kehily, Palgrave Macmillan.
Commissioned research report
Hoggart, L., Philips, J. with Birch, A., Koffman, O. (2010) Young People in London: Abortion and Repeat Abortion, London: Government Office for London.
Conferences and academic events
Girls and digital culture: transnational reflections, 13-14/9/2012,
International conference co-organised with Prof. Rosalind Gill and Dr. Faith Lawrence, King’s College London
The conference was funded by the Leverhulme Trust, the Department for Culture Media and Creative Industries and the Department for Digital Humanities, King’s College London.
Images, Publics and Health: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, 13/9/2011
An international symposium funded by the Leverhulme Trust and hosted by King’s College London,
2008-2012, Co-convenor of the interdisciplinary seminar series ‘Life Cycles’, Institute of Historical Research, University of London