LSE's Gender Institute has grown so rapidly over the last five years – challenging the view that the field is in decline in the UK - that it is now the largest of its kind in Europe and has just become an autonomous academic department. A part of LSE's Sociology department from 2003-2010, the decision was made to become independent due to a large increase in student intake and because its research direction has become steadily more interdisciplinary.
Clare Hemmings, the Gender Institute's Director, commented: 'It's a time of enormous, forward-looking energy. We have trebled in terms of student numbers and faculty, and our research has become increasingly global and inter-disciplinary in its approach. We have good, close working relations with the LSE departments of Sociology, Social Policy, Geography, Development and Media, among others, and Advisory Committee members from most other LSE departments.'
The Gender Institute was established in 1993 to address the major intellectual challenges posed by contemporary changes in gender relations. This remains a central aim of the Institute today, and it is the only gender centre globally that combines theory and practice with such an interdisciplinary and global scope.
As part of its altered profile, the Gender Institute has several new initiatives under way.
Its highly successful lectures and research seminar series, 'Gendering the Social Sciences', have been supported by LSE's STICERD (Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines) to bring high profile academics to the Gender Institute for a week at a time. Most recently, Professor Ranjana Khanna spent a week at the Institute, and gave two linked lectures on the theme of asylum. For this term's lectures and events, please go to: http://www2.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/events/eventsLT11.aspx
The Annual Fund is also generously supporting the GI's workshop and panel on 'Gender and Poverty in the Twenty-First Century' co-sponsored by the Department of Geography. This event is to celebrate the launch of the 'Handbook of Gender and Poverty', edited by Professor Sylvia Chant and will be held on March 11th the week of International Women's Day.
The Institute has a new contract with Palgrave for an LSE-based book series, 'Theorising Gender in Transnational Times'. The series aims to publish original work that pushes at the boundaries of existing theories, extends our gendered understanding of global formations, and takes intellectual risks at the level of form or content. The first book to be published in the series will be Gender, Agency and Coercion, co-edited by Sumi Madhok, Anne Phillips and Kalpana Wilson, based on a workshop held at LSE in May 2010.
The research work of the Institute is informed by the belief that all social processes are gendered, and that understanding gender relations is therefore a crucial component in any social science research. Some of the projects undertaken at the Institute focus directly on the position of women and men, and the contemporary character of gender relations and inequalities, Whether engaging questions of rights, representation, economics, policy changes or culture, faculty take a transnational approach and form an interdisciplinary research grouping.
Recent major work by GI academics include:
Mary Evans (2009) The imagination of evil: detective fiction and the modern world. (London, Continuum).
Anne Phillips (2010) Gender and Culture (Cambridge, Polity)
Sylvia Chant, ed. (2010) The international handbook of gender and poverty: concepts, research, policy (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar)
Wendy Sigle-Rushton (2010) Men's unpaid work and divorce: reassessing specialization and trade in British families. Feminist economics, 16 (2). pp. 1-26.
Clare Hemmings (2011) Why Stories Matter: the Political Grammar of Feminist Theory (Durham, Duke University Press)
Journalists who wish to interview Clare Hemmings should contact Joanna Bale, senior press officer, LSE, on 07831 609679 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To read about the Gender Institute in the Times Higher Education: