Professor Mary Evans

Professor Mary Evans

LSE Emeritus Leverhulme Professor

Department of Gender Studies

+44 (0)207 107 5301
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Key Expertise
feminism, citizenship, inequality, narratives

About me

Mary Evans is an Emeritus Leverhulme Professor, the author of various  studies of feminism and feminist writers.  Her most recent work ( with Sarah Moore and Hazel Johnstone ) is a study of detective fiction ( Detecting the Modern ) and the theme of that book, of how detective  fiction locates the central dynamics of the contemporary world, arises from her continuing interest in  the ways in which we  learn and acquire our social identities. She is  currently working on a study of the ways in which the definition of 'respectable' has been constructed, and changed, for women in the past one hundred years. This project comes out of longstanding interests in the various forms of coincidence between feminism and changing expectations of the 'citizen'.  However,  the narrative of 'progress' in gendered identity which has been made so explicit , and so often taken-for-granted , has emerged alongside the continuation of other forms of social inequality.  These forms of social marginality and exclusion may act to exclude women in new ways from  that definition of 'respectable', whilst at the same time challenging  the part that gender has been assumed to play in  political/Political  contexts. The work is largely situated in the UK, although the issues raised have a wider relevance. The work draws on work by contemporary sociologists and  cultural  historians but is also informed by those writers who seldom explicitly discussed gender; the implications of their work may  remain as relevant as more recent discussions of women which assume categorical cohesion. Overall, the project is concerned with the multiple - and changing - origins of the making of the gendered person.

Expertise Details

feminism; citizenship; inequality; narratives; feminist theory; body; gender

Research Interests

My research interests are twofold : the intersection of works of the imagination with the material world and – in the context of recent politics – the ways in which 'austerity' politics disproportionately impact upon women and refute assumptions about the 'emancipation' of women.  What interests me particularly in this are the fantasies which inform everyday existence in the modern world and in particular the boundaries between 'change' and 'progress' and the merely sensational. Recent work in the Women's Library has provided rich material for an understanding of the continuity rather than the disappearance of gender inequality and the emergence of new forms of inequality. This issue forms one part of my current work.

Some of those gendered forms of inequality are also the subjects of crime fiction, the second area in which I am currently working. Although I have already written about detective fiction I am returning to crime scenes; specifically in the period after 1970, and for writing that has become increasingly critical of neo-liberal values.

I am currently convenor for the undergraduate course Gender, Politics and Civil Society.

Selected Publications

The Persistence of Gender Inequality (eds) Mary Evans (2017)

Despite centuries of campaigning, women still earn less and have less power than men. Equality remains a goal not yet reached. In this incisive account of why this is the case, Mary Evans argues that optimistic narratives of progress and emancipation have served to obscure long-term structural inequalities between women and men, structural inequalities which are not only about gender but also about general social inequality. In widening the lenses on the persistence of gender inequality, Evans shows how in contemporary debates about social inequality gender is often ignored, implicitly side-lining critical aspects of relations between women and men. This engaging short book attempts to join up some of the dots in the ways that we think about both social and gender inequality, and offers a new perspective on a problem that still demands society’s full attention.

The SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory (eds) Mary Evans, Clare Hemmings, Marsha Henry, Hazel Johnstone, Sumi Madhok, Ania Plomien and Sadie Wearing (2014)

At no point in recorded history has there been an absence of intense, and heated, discussion about the subject of how to conduct relations between women and men. This Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to these omnipresent issues and debates, mapping the present and future of thinking about feminist theory. The chapters gathered here present the state of the art in scholarship in the field, covering: epistemology and marginality; literary, visual and cultural representations; sexuality; macro and microeconomics of gender; conflict and peace. It is an essential reference work for advanced students and academics not only of feminist theory, but of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences.

It is an essential reference work for advanced students and academics not only of feminist theory, but of gender and sexuality across the humanities and social sciences.

Gender: The Key Concepts (eds) Mary Evans and Carolyn H. Williams (2013)

Featuring Gender Institute faculty, this invaluable volume provides an overview of 37 terms, theories and concepts frequently used in gender studies which those studying the subject can find difficult to grasp. Each entry provides a critical definition of the concept, examining the background to the idea, its usage and the major figures associated with the term. Taking a truly interdisciplinary and global view of gender studies, concepts covered include: agency; diaspora; heteronormativity; subjectivity; performativity; class; feminist politics; body; gender identity and reflexivity. With cross referencing and further reading provided throughout the text, Gender: The Key Concepts unweaves the relationships between different aspects of the field defined as gender studies, and is essential for all those studying gender in interdisciplinary contexts as undergraduates, postgraduates and beyond.

  • Blogs for LSE Politics and for SPERI (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute)


  • Evans, Mary, (2017) The Persistence of Gender Inequality, Polity, Cambridge, UK


  • Evans, Mary (2015) 'Feminism and the implications of austerity', Feminist Review, No. 109, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 146-155


  • Madhok, Sumi and Evans, Mary (2014) 'Epistemology and marginality'. In: Evans, Mary and Hemmings, Clare and Henry, Marsha and Johnstone, Hazel and Madhok, Sumi and Plomien, Ania and Wearing, Sadie, (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Feminist Theory. SAGE Publications Ltd, London, UK, pp. 1-8
  • Evans, Mary and Hemmings, Clare and Henry, Marsha and Johnstone, Hazel and Madhok, Sumi and Plomien, Ania and Wearing, Sadie, eds (2014) Handbook of feminist theory, Sage, London, UK


  • Evans, Mary (2013) 'The meaning of agency'. In: Madhok, Sumi and Phillips, Anne and Wilson, Kalpana, (eds.) Gender, Agency and Coercion. Thinking gender in transnational times. Palgrave Macmillan, London, UK; New York, USA, pp. 47-63
  • Evans, Mary (2013) 'Gender in an age of austerity', Women's History Review, 22 (5). pp. 838-840
  • Evans, Mary and Williams, Carolyn, eds (2013) Gender: the key concepts, Routledge key guides. Routledge, Abingdon, UK


  • Hall, Lesley and Williams, Melanie and Evans, Mary and Mollett, Amy and Brumley, Cheryl (2012) 'Gender and feminism', The London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Dunleavy, Patrick and Mollett, Amy and Evans, Mary and Newburn, Tim and Voth, Hans-Joachim and Ponticelli, Jacopo and Gilson, Christopher and Barker, Rodney (2012) 'The 2011 London riots', British Politics and Policy at LSE, Public Policy Group, The London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK


  • Evans, Mary (2011), The Imagination of Evil: Detective Fiction and the Modern World, Continuum Literary Studies, Bloomsbury Academic, London, UK. ISBN 9781847062062
  • Davis, Kathy and Evans, Mary (2011) 'Introduction: transatlantic conversations: feminism as travelling theory'. In: Davis, Kathy and Evans, Mary, (eds.) Transatlantic Conversations: Feminism as Travelling Theory. The feminist imagination – Europe and beyond. Ashgate, Surrey, UK
  • Evans, Mary (2011) 'Doing gender: gender and women's studies in the twenty first century', Women's Studies International Forum, 34 (6). pp. 603-610
  • Davis, Kathy and Evans, Mary, eds (2011) Transatlantic conversations: feminism as travelling theory,  The feminist imagination – Europe and beyond. Ashgate, Surrey, UK. ISBN 9780754678359


  • Evans, Mary (2010) 'The universities and the challenge of realism'. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 9 pp. 13-21. ISSN 1474-0222
  • Evans, Mary (2010) 'A mysterious commodity: capitalism and femininity'. In: Scott, Jacqueline and Crompton, Rosemary and Lyonette, Clare, (eds.) Gender inequalities in the 21st century: new barriers and continuing constraints. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 275-290. ISBN 978184844438 6


  • Evans, Mary (2009) 'Can women be intellectuals?' In: Fleck, Christian and Hess, Andreas and Lyon, Stina E., (eds.) Intellectuals and their publics. Ashgate Publishing, Farnham, UK, pp. 29-40. ISBN 9780754675402
  • Evans, Mary (2009) The imagination of evil: detective fiction and the modern world. Continuum International Publishing Group, London, UK. ISBN 9781847062062


  • Davis, Kathy and Evans, Mary and Lorber, Judith, (eds.) (2006) Handbook of gender and women's studies. Sage Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780761943907
  • Evans, Mary (2006) A short history of society: the making of the modern world. Open University Press, Maidenhead, UK. ISBN 9780335220687


  • Evans, Mary (2005) 'Auto/biographical methods'. In: Griffin, Gabriele, (ed.) Research Methods for English Studies. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, UK, pp. 31-46. ISBN 9780748621545


  • Evans, Mary (2004) 'A critical lens on romantic love: a response to Bernadette Bawin-Legros'. Current sociology, 52 (2). pp. 259-264. ISSN 0011-3921
  • Evans, Mary (2004) 'Killing thinking: the death of the universities'. Continuum, London, UK. ISBN 9780826488329


  • Evans, Mary (2003) Gender and social theory. Open University Press, Buckingham, UK. ISBN 9780335208654
  • Evans, Mary (2003) Love: an unromantic discussion. Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9780745620725


  • Evans, Mary and Lee, Ellie, (eds.) (2002) Real bodies: a sociological introduction. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK. ISBN 9780333947517 


  • Evans, Mary (2001) 'Gender and the literature of the Holocaust: the diary of Etty Hillesum'. Women: a cultural review, 12 (3). pp. 325-335. ISSN 0957-4042
  • Evans, Mary, (ed.) (2001) Feminism. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415192835


  • Evans, Mary (2000) 'Extending autobiography: a discussion of Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar''. In: Coslett, Tess and Lury, Celia and Summerfield, Penny, (eds.) Feminism & autobiography: texts, theories, methods. Routledge, London, UK, pp. 76-88. ISBN 9780415232012


  • Evans, Mary (1999) Missing persons: the impossibility of auto/biography. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415099769
  • Evans, Mary (1999) 'The culture did it: comments on the 1997 general British election'. In: Ray, Larry and Sayer, Andrew, (eds.) Culture and economy after the cultural turn. Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 229-245. ISBN 9780761958161
  • Evans, Mary (1999) ''Falling in love with love is falling with make believe': ideologies of romance in post-Enlightenment culture'. In: Featherstone, Mike, (ed.) Love & Eroticism. Sage Publications, London, UK, pp. 265-275. ISBN 9780761962519


  • Evans, Mary (1998) ''Falling in love with love is falling with make believe': ideologies of romance in post-Enlightenment culture'. Theory, culture & society, 15 (3). pp. 265-275. ISSN 1460-3616


  • Evans, Mary (1997) Introducing contemporary feminist thought. Polity Press in association with Blackwell Publishers Ltd., Cambridge, UK. ISBN 9780745614762


  • Evans, Mary, (ed.) (1994) The woman question. Sage Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780803987487


  • Evans, Mary and Morgan, David (1993) The battle for Britain: citizenship and ideology in the Second World War. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415017220


  • Evans, Mary (1991) A good school: life at a girls' grammar school in the 1950s. The Women's Press Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780704342682 


  • Evans, Mary (1989) Reflecting on Anna Karenina. Routledge, London, UK. ISBN 9780415017190


  • Evans, Mary (1987) Jane Austen and the state. Tavistock Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780422613705
  • Sayers, Janet and Evans, Mary and Redclift, Nanneke, (eds.) (1987) Engels revisited: new feminist essays. Tavistock Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780422608107


  • Evans, Mary (1985) Simone de Beauvoir: a feminist mandarin. Tavistock Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780422795104


  • Evans, Mary and Ungerson, Clare, (eds.) (1983) Sexual divisions: patterns and processes. Tavistock Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780422784405


  • Evans, Mary (1981) Lucien Goldmann: an introduction. Harvester Press, Brighton, UK. ISBN 9780710800671 


  • Evans, Mary and Morgan, David, (eds.) (1979) Work on women: a guide to the literature. Tavistock Publications Ltd., London, UK. ISBN 9780422771306