Integrating Gender into Historical Research: A Workshop for All Historians

Hosted by the Department of International History

Vera Anstey Room, Old Building, LSE, United Kingdom


Professor Diana Paton

Professor Diana Paton

The University of Edinburgh

Student-organised day-long workshop

Too often historians have treated gender as a separate topic, confining its study to the subfields of gender or women’s history. Research conducted in these fields is pioneering and plays an important role in challenging prevailing narratives and ensuring that through revision, women’s experiences and contributions are acknowledged in history. While it is necessary to have fields that primarily focus on gender in history, historians in all fields can benefit from actively considering gender as a constant factor and analytical lens in their research. 

For some historians, it seems often difficult to integrate women’s perspectives and issues into ‘traditional’ history due to, amongst others, archival records that favour men and unconscious biases that it was predominantly men that have shaped history. To that end, we hosted this workshop so that historians could learn how to use gender as an analytical tool in research.

The day began with a keynote address by Professor Diana Paton of the University of Edinburgh followed by two round table discussions. The first session delved into the state of current research and trends on gender history, as well as how it relates to other historical discourses. Our second session looked at the role of gender in international history. The objective of this panel was to give the international historians ideas about how they could use gender in their own research. The panel was followed by a discussion about what scholars miss out on when they neglect gender in their study of history.

We welcomed the participation of LSE and non-LSE academics, early career researchers, PhD candidates, masters students and undergraduates who are interested in broadening their understanding and approach to the study of history.

This event was generously supported by a fund from the LSE Department of International History's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.


9.30 – 10.00

Registration and Breakfast

10.00 – 11.00

Keynote Speech

Professor Diana Paton (William Robertson Professor of History University of Edinburgh)

11.00 – 13.00

Panel 1: Contemporary Issues in Gender History Research

Dr Ben Griffin (Cambridge)
Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE)
Dr Catherine Baker (Hull)

Chair: Ms Grace Carrington (LSE)

13.00 – 14.00


14.00 – 16.00

Panel 2: The Role of Gender in International History

Dr Dawn-Marie Gibson (RHUL)
Dr Tanya Harmer (LSE)
Dr Diana Jeater (Goldsmiths)
Ms Katie McElvanney (QMUL)

Chair: Ms Eline van Ommen (LSE)


Keynote Speaker: Professor Diana Paton (Edinburgh)

Professor Diana Paton did her first degree at Warwick University, followed by a PhD at Yale University, where she studied with Emilia Viotti da Costa, Gilbert Joseph, and Nancy Cott. After a year as a Junior Research Fellow at The Queen’s College, Oxford, she became lecturer in history at Newcastle University in 2000. She was at Newcastle until 2016, becoming Professor of Caribbean History in 2015. She joined the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at Edinburgh as William Robertson Professor of History in 2016. Her research has been funded by the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust, and the British Academy.

Dr Catherine Baker (Hull)

Catherine Baker is a specialist in post-Cold War history, international relations and cultural studies, including the post-Yugoslav region in a transnational and global context. Her research projects are connected by an overarching interest in the politics of representing, narrating and knowing about the past. Catherine's current projects include relationships between war / the military and popular culture; the cultural politics of international events (including the Eurovision Song Contest); LGBTQ politics and identities since the late Cold War, including queer representation in media; and 'race' in the Yugoslav region. She has also researched interpreters / translators in peacekeeping.

Dr Dawn-Marie Gibson (RHUL) 

Dr Dawn-Marie Gibson's research focuses on African American Islam and Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam in particular. Her first book, A History of the Nation of Islam: Race, Islam, and the Quest for Freedom was published by  Praeger in April 2012. The book examines the origins of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad’s leadership in the Nation and Louis Farrakhan’s efforts to rebuild the organization in the late 1970s.  The book also considers the opportunities and challenges that gripped the NOI following Louis Farrakhan’s decision to entrust the organization to the Executive leadership Board in 2006. Her second book, Women of the Nation: Between Black Protest and Sunni Islam (co-authored with Professor Jamillah Karim) was published by New York University Press in early 2014. Women of the Nation examines how African American, Latina and Native American women have interpreted and navigated the NOI’s gender ideologies and practices in light of their multi-layered identities as women of ethnic minorities in America. The book also considers the various ways in which Nation members interact with women in the Imam W.D Mohammed community and Islamic organizations in the U.S.  She is a member of the Historians of Twentieth Century United States (HOTCUS), the British Association for American Studies and the Society for the History of Women in the Americas.  She currently co-convene the Gender and History in the Americas Seminar Series at the Institute of Historical Research.

Dr Ben Griffin (Cambridge) 

Dr Ben Griffin's research is focused on the ways in which gender has shaped political processes in Britain since the late eighteenth century. He is particularly interested in the history of masculinity, and the ways in which changing ideas about masculinity have shaped the behaviour and expectations of political elites. His new book, The Politics of Gender in Victorian Britain, argues that changes to women’s rights were not simply the result of changing ideas about women but also changing beliefs about masculinity, religion and the nature of the constitution and, in doing so, demonstrates how gender inequality can be created and reproduced by the state. The book won the Royal Historical Society's Whitfield Prize 2012 for the best first book on British History. His next research project is a study of the development of family law in Britain, c. 1740-1925, which will explore how divorce law, child custody law, and the law relating to sexuality were influenced by changing conceptions of paternity, maternity, childhood, marriage and the role of the state. This is the first part of a larger project investigating the relationship between legal discourse and political discourse in the long nineteenth century.

Dr Tanya Harmer (LSE)

Dr Tanya Harmer is a specialist on the Cold War in Latin America with a particular interest in the international, transnational and global dynamics of the struggle. She has written an inter-American history of Chile during the presidency of Salvador Allende (1970-73) and conducted research on Brazilian Cold War interventions in the Southern Cone of Latin America, US-Chilean relations in the mid-1970s and the Cuban Revolution’s influe nce in Latin America. Her current research deals with the history of Chile’s Revolutionary Left. She has recently published articles on internationalist revolutionary guerrilla movements and transnational solidarity networks. Her next monograph will be a biography of Beatriz Allende and Chile’s revolutionary generation. Dr Harmer obtained her BA at the University of Leeds before moving to the London School of Economics to do her MA and PhD in International History, for which she was awarded an AHRC scholarship. Prior to being appointed as a lecturer in the department in 2009, she was an LSE fellow. She has also held visiting teaching positions at Columbia University in New York (2012-13) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2010, 2013).

Professor Diana Jeater (Goldsmiths)

Professor Diana Jeater is a lecturer in African history at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her work interrogates everyday forms of power, focusing on gender, sexuality, religion, law, language and belief in  Zimbabwe. Her published work includes two monographs, Marriage, Perversion & Power: the construction of moral discourse in Southern Rhodesia and Law, Language & Science: the invention of 'the Native Mind' in Southern Rhodesia.
In addition to these two groundbreaking books on Zimbabwean history, she has published on history, anthropology, asylum law and digital  humanities. She has an interest in teaching research skills and decolonising the academy and works on combining these interests in various projects. Her current research explores the material consequences of spirit beliefs for war, peace, and reconciliation.She is also an editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies. 

Ms Katie McElvanney (QMUL)

Ms Katie McElvanney is an AHRC collaborative doctoral candidate at Queen Mary University of London and the British Library. Her research examines and compares the work and role of women in the Bolshevik and anti-Bolshevik press during the October Revolution and civil wars, particularly focusing on the relationship between gender, activism and journalism. Her thesis aims to provide an alternative narrative of early twentieth-century women’s reporting. Scholarship has focused on the experience of early Western women war reporters and the ‘human interest’ or ‘women’s’ angle they were forced to adhere to, largely ignoring their Russian counterparts. Throughout her PhD, she has worked closely with the British Library on its exhibition Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths, which opened in April 2017. Stemming from her research on journalism and women’s history, her involvement in the exhibition has ranged from selecting and translating materials, to writing labels, articles for the website, and the timeline for the accompanying publication. She has also contributed significantly to the exhibition’s learning programme and has created and led a successful source-based workshop for A-Level students. She holds a BA in Russian and History from the University of Leeds and an MA in Russian Studies from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL.

Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE)

Dr Imaobong Umoren studied a BA in History and MA in World History and Cultures at King’s College London before moving to the University of Oxford where she gained her DPhil and spent a year serving as a Fulbright scholar at Harvard University. She subsequently took up a Career Development Fellowship jointly held with Pembroke College and the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities research programme Women in the Humanities. Dr Umoren's research interests include the intersecting history of race, gender, migration, and religion in the nineteenth and twentieth century Caribbean, US and global African diaspora. Her research has been supported by numerous bodies including the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Library of Congress, and the British Academy.


Grace Carrington (LSE)

Grace Carrington’s current research compares decolonisation in the Francophone and Anglophone Caribbean. She is particularly interested in the relationship between identity and politics in those territories that did not choose independence. She has recently returned from a year’s field research in Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. She holds an MA in French and Spanish from the University of Edinburgh, and an MSc in Empires, Colonialism and Globalisation from LSE.

Judith Jacob (LSE)

Judith Jacob is a third-year PhD candidate in the Department of International History. Her doctoral thesis traces the ideological developments of militant Islamist groups in post-colonial Indonesia. Prior to beginning her doctorate, Ms Jacob worked as the lead global terrorism analyst at the Risk Advisory Group in London. She continues to work as a private consultant and security analyst for several leading political and security risk firms. 
She holds an MSc (with Distinction) in Conflict Studies and a BSc in Government and History from the LSE.

Eline van Ommen (LSE)

Eline van Ommen is a PhD candidate in International History at the LSE. She holds BA in History from the University of Groningen and a MSc Empires, Colonialism, and Globalisation (with Distinction) from the LSE. Ms van Ommen works on the international history of the Nicaraguan Revolution (1977-1990). Her PhD project draws on a wide range of sources, including official state documents and the archives of transnational networks from Nicaragua, Western Europe, and the United States.


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Photo credit: Still from Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, 1986