UoE Faculty

Edinburgh is one of the world’s leading research universities, ranked fourth in the UK for research power. It is also one of a select group of British universities to achieve outstanding results when demonstrating the impact of its research on wider society. The latest report from the Quality Assurance Agency awarded us the highest rating possible for the quality of the student learning experience. The project team from the University of Edinburgh embodies this commitment to research and teaching excellence when it comes to the field of gender studies. Even though they have not previously researched or published on feminist pedagogical practice, their strong track record of involvement in research, strategic planning, teaching and curriculum development, programme management, and course delivery, including doctoral research skills training means that they are ideally placed to undertake the proposed project on teaching feminisms. The interdisciplinary focus of the team cutting across traditional social scientific boundaries offers a unique vantage point from which to reflect on issues of identity, pedagogy and violence within feminist classrooms. The team members’ commitment to feminist praxis goes beyond research and classrooms spaces; several of them have strong ties with national and international activist groups and development organisations.

Radhika GovindaDr. Radhika Govinda (Lead Applicant, UK) is Lecturer in Sociology at the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK. Before joining the University of Edinburgh, she was employed at Ambedkar University Delhi, where she held a research grant from the Indian Council for Social Science Research (the Indian equivalent of the UK’s Economic Council for Social Science Research, in short, ESRC). Dr Govinda’s research focuses on gender politics at the intersections of movements for subaltern assertion, religious nationalism, and development in a neo-liberal era, examining in particular questions of mobilization and organisation of women, their multiple and intersecting identities – gender, caste, class, religion and region, their presence and representation in development policies and practice, and changes in the dominant gendered social relations, in both rural and urban spaces in contemporary South Asia. Her research has been published in a number of leading peerreviewed journals and edited volumes, and has experience of editing journal special issues. She has served as an invited reviewer for Gender, Place and Culture and Contemporary South Asia journals.

Even though Dr Govinda has not published directly on feminist pedagogical praxis, she has relevant experience in curriculum development and course delivery. Most of her teaching at the University of Edinburgh and at Ambedkar University Delhi has been research-led. She has designed and taught several undergraduate and postgraduate level gender-related courses, including Gender, Marginality and Social Change, and Feminist Movements in South Asia. Other pertinent courses she has been involved in teaching include Contemporary Feminist Debates, Global Feminisms, Gender and Development and Introduction to Gender. Dr Govinda has also designed and delivered modules for distance learning postgraduate level programmes, including Gender and Society offered at Indira Gandhi National Open University, (IGNOU)’s School of Social Sciences, Delhi and sessions on gender and development on the online Global Development Challenges Programme run by the Centre for African Studies at Edinburgh.

Year after year, Dr Govinda gets nominated for Edinburgh University Student Association’s Teaching Awards. In her capacity as postgraduate and undergraduate dissertation supervisor at University of Edinburgh and Ambedkar University Delhi, she has provided supervision and mentorship to students interested in researching gender-related themes, whose projects have received funding from the ESRC. Dr Govinda is presently enrolled in the Postgraduate Certificate Course in Academic Practice (PGCAP), which offers an excellent opportunity to develop a research-minded approach to one’s teaching practice, and will enable her to become a Fellow of UK’s Higher Education Academy.

Selected publications

  • Govinda (2014) ‘On Whose Behalf? Women’s Activism and Identity Politics in Contemporary Uttar Pradesh’, in R. Jeffery, J. Lerche and C. Jeffrey (eds.), Uttar Pradesh: Development Failure and Identity Politics, New Delhi: Sage.
  • Govinda (2013) ‘“Didi are you Hindu?” Politics of Secularism in Women’s Activism in India’, Modern Asian Studies 47(2): 612-51.
  • Ramachandran, V., Jandhyala, K, and R. Govinda (2012) ‘Cartographies of Empowerment: An Introduction’, in V. Ramachandran and K. Jandhyala (eds.), Cartographies of Empowerment: Tracing the Journey of Mahila Samakhya, 1988-2006, New Delhi, Zubaan, pp. 1-30.\
  • Govinda (2012) ‘Mapping “Gender Evaluation” in South Asia’, Indian Journal of Gender Studies 19(2): 187-209.
  • Govinda (2008) ‘Re-inventing Dalit Women’s Identity? Dynamics of Social Activism and Electoral Politics in Rural North India’, Contemporary South Asia (BASAS 5th Annual Issue), 16 (4).
  • Govinda (2006) ‘Politics of the Marginalized: Dalits in Women’s Activism in India’, invited article, Gender and Development, 13 (2).

Fiona Mc kayProfessor Fiona Mackay (BA Hons, PhD, FAcSS) is Professor of Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She is currently Dean and Head of the School of Social and Political Science. Mackay’s research addresses the extent to which global and local institutions of politics and governance may be designed, reformed, or challenged to address gender inequality, and to promote gender justice, equal participation, and women’s human rights. She has published five books, three Special Issues/Symposia, and more than 45 journal articles and chapters. She has held research grants and consultancies with bodies including the Economic and Social Research Council, British Academy/ Leverhulme Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Communities Scotland, Equal Opportunities Commission, the Scottish Government, and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute. She co-convenes the UoE Gender Politics Research Group (which hosts the twitter feed @genderpol and the blog genderpolitics@edinburgh). She founded and co-directs FIIN (Feminism and Institutionalism International Network), and co-edits the Feminist Institutionalist Perspectives series (Rowman Littlefield International).

As an educator and academic leader, she has a sustained record of strategic planning, teaching and curriculum development, programme management, and course delivery and review across all levels, including doctoral research skills training in social and political science. Past and current specialist feminist courses include: Women and Politics, Gender Politics and the State, Contemporary Feminist Thought, Global Politics of Sex and Gender, Gender and Sexuality in Global Politics, and Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World. Under her leadership the School of Social and Political Science leads the “Gender Initiative”, which aims to increase the visibility and extend the scope of teaching and research on gender at the University of Edinburgh, and to mainstream gender into the curriculum. The first phase of the initiative led to the creation of a new introductory course on gender (running for first time in 2016-17) open to all students across the University including medics, scientists, and engineers.

She has a long experience of innovative teaching and assessment methods including the use of role-play, gender diaries, group work, case studies, poster presentations, and co-production. She designed the framework “Social and Political Science in Practice” to facilitate structured opportunities for faculty-student collaboration around research, learning and teaching, and service/community engagement. The framework was piloted in 2015-16 and involved Senior Honours students co-designing interactive learning materials for the new introductory gender course. Kenny and Mackay were awarded “Best Course” prize in the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards in 2016. Mackay has supervised 13 PhDs to successful conclusion, including two prize-winning doctoral theses. She is an experienced mentor of academics across all career stages. Mackay has not explicitly researched or written on pedagogy before, but in 2016 has started working towards Principal Fellowship of the UK Higher Education Academy, drawing upon her practice. She has also presented on gender mainstreaming in the academy.

Selected publications

  • L. Krook and F. Mackay (eds) (2011) Gender, Politics, and Institutions: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan (paperback issued 2015)
  • F. Mackay (2014) ‘Nested Newness, Institutional Innovation and the Gendered Limits of Change’, Politics & Gender 10(4): 549-571.
  • F. Mackay (2010) ‘Gendering constitutional change and policy outcomes: substantive representation and domestic violence policy in Scotland’ Policy & Politics 38 (3): 39-58.
  • F. Mackay and G. Waylen (eds) (2009) Critical Perspectives on Feminist Institutionalism. Special Section of Politics & Gender 5 (2): 237-280.
  • F. Mackay (2009) ‘Gender’ in M. Flinders, A. Gamble, C. Hay and M. Kenny (eds) The Oxford Handbook of British Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 646-662.
  • F. Mackay (2008) ‘The state of women’s movement/s in Britain: ambiguity, complexity and challenges from the periphery’ in S. J. Grey and M. Sawer (eds) Women’s movements worldwide: Flourishing or in abeyance? London: Routledge, 17-32 (paperback issued 2011)

Dr Kanchana RuwanpuraDr. Kanchana N. Ruwanpura is Reader in Development Geography at the Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh. She holds leadership roles within the University of Edinburgh as Co-Director of the Centre for South Asian Studies and Director of the MSc programme in Environment and Development. She has her PhD in Development Studies from Newnham College, University of Cambridge and since that time has worked at the University of Southampton, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, University of Munich and the International Labor Office (Geneva).

Dr. Ruwanpura’s research explores themes around feminism, ethnicity, development, labor practices and ethical trade in South Asia, which has been funded by the AAUW, ESRC and British Academy, amongst others. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals, edited volumes and as a research monograph. She holds the role of editor in the leading feminist geography journal Gender, Place and Culture. She is also on the Editorial Board of Feminist Economics. In Dr. Ruwanpura’s leadership capacity and involvement in a Postgraduate teaching programme and as Undergraduate dissertation supervisor at the University of Edinburgh and University of Southampton, she has successfully mentored numerous undergraduate and postgraduate students – with three prize-winning theses (one at the national level and two at the School level). Throughout her years of teaching at the University of Edinburgh, she has been nominated for various Edinburgh University Student Association teaching awards, and holds the Mike Clarke Teaching Excellence award from the School of Geography, University of Southampton. She is also a Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.

Selected publications

  • K.N. Ruwanpura and A. Hughes (2016) “Empowered Spaces? Management Articulations of Gendered Spaces in Apparel Factories in Karachi, Pakistan” Gender, Place and Culture 23(9):1270-1285
  • K.N. Ruwanpura (2016) “Women’s and Feminist Organizations in South Asia” in Nancy Naples et al (eds.) Wiley Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
  • K.N. Ruwanpura (2014) “Global Governance Initiatives and Garment Sector Workers: Tracing its Gender and Development Politics – A Case Study of Sri Lanka” in Leela Fernandes (ed.) Routledge Handbook on Gender in South Asia London: Routledge
  • J. Niven. A. Faggian and K. N. Ruwanpura (2013) “Explorations of ‘Underachievement’: The Case of Highly Educated Young British-Bangladeshi Women” Feminist Economics 19(1):1-26
  • K.N. Ruwanpura (2013) “Feminist Economics” in Mary Evans and Carolyn Williams (eds.) Gender: Key Concepts, London: Routledge, pp 76-81
  • K.N. Ruwanpura, I. Talbot and S. Jones (2012) “Introduction: Bodies of Power, Forms of Power”, Contemporary South Asia 20(1):1-9
  • K.N. Ruwanpura (2013) “It’s the (Household) Economy, Stupid! Pension Reform, Collective Resistance and the Reproductive Sphere – The Case of Sri Lankan Apparel Sector Workers” in Juanita Elias and Samanthi Gunawardana (eds.) Global Political Economy of the Household in Asia London: McMillan-Palgrave, pp 145- 161

Meryl KennyDr. Meryl Kenny is Lecturer in Gender and Politics at the University of Edinburgh. She is an elected Trustee of the Political Studies Association (PSA), and the current Convenor of the PSA’s Women and Politics Specialist Group. Her research focuses on women and comparative politics, with specific expertise in gender politics, party politics, and British and Scottish politics. Her current research focuses on gender and political recruitment, and feminist institutionalism. She has held research grants with the UK Economic and Social Research Council and the University of New South Wales’ Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellowship Scheme. She co-convenes the University of Edinburgh’s Gender Politics Research Group (which hosts the twitter feed @genderpol and the blog genderpolitics@edinburgh), and is a Co-Director of the Feminism and Institutionalism International Network (FIIN), which is based at Edinburgh. She also co-edits the Feminist Institutionalist Perspectives book series with Rowman & Littlefield International.

She has over ten years’ teaching experience, as well as specific experience of designing and teaching on gender politics courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Past and current specialist gender modules include (at the University of Leicester): Sex and Gender in Global Politics, Gender in Global Perspective, and Gender, Power and Representation; and (at the University of Edinburgh) Contemporary Feminist Debates, The Global Politics of Sex and Gender, Sex and Gender in Global Politics, and Gender and Sexuality in Global Politics. In 2016/17, she is the Course Organiser of Understanding Gender in the Contemporary World, a new introductory course to gender studies open to all students across the University of Edinburgh. Elements of the Understanding Gender course were designed and piloted by 4th year undergraduate students in the course Social and Political Science in Practice, which she also ran, and which was awarded the ‘Best Course’ prize by the Edinburgh University Students’ Association in 2015/16. She is a Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy.

Selected publications

  • M. Kenny and T. Verge (2016) ‘Opening Up the Black Box: Gender and Candidate Selection in a New Era’, Government and Opposition, 51 (3), 351-369.
  • M. Kenny and E. Bjarnegard (2016) ‘Comparing Candidate Selection: A Feminist Institutionalist Approach’, Government and Opposition, 51 (3), 370-392.
  • M. Kenny and E. Bjarnegard (2015) ‘Revealing the Secret Garden: The Informal Dimensions of Political Recruitment’,Politics & Gender, 11 (4), 748-753.
  • M. Kenny (2014) ‘Gender and Political Recruitment’ in R. Campbell and S. Childs (eds) Deeds and Words: Gendering Politics. Colchester: ECPR Press.
  • M. Kenny (2013) Gender and Political Recruitment: Theorizing Institutional Change. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • F. Mackay, M. Kenny and L. Chappell (2010) ‘New Institutionalism Through a Gender Lens: Towards a Feminist Institutionalism?’, International Political Science Review, 31 (5).

Pablo SchyfterDr. Pablo Schyfter is Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies (STS). A key part of his research has focused on gender and technological artefacts and professions. Much of this work has aimed to identify and harness social theoretical and philosophical tools from a range of authors and make use of them for gender studies and STS. These include post-structuralist theories of subjectivity and embodiment, and specialised theories from feminist STS. He has also delivered undergraduate and postgraduate lectures on gender, science and technology since his first year as a PhD student, and has since designed and convened dedicated classes on the topic.

He is currently investigating the gender politics of synthetic biology. Though grounded in biological science, the field seeks a disciplinary identity as ‘authentic’ engineering. It elevates and emulates engineering. His research studies the making of ‘the synthetic biologist’: the subjectivity of this new researcher. Using poststructuralist theory (e.g. Butler’s ‘subjection’ and Hacking’s ‘making up people’) and interviews with practitioners, he has developed analyses of ‘contests of authenticity’: disputes over disciplinary identity that result in quarrels over the legitimacy of different subjectivities. He has found that in emulating engineering, synthetic biology has cast aside the relatively balanced gender politics of biological science and masculinised the ‘synthetic biologist.’ His research on gender politics and synthetic biology fits well with an interest in scholarship-based activism. Along with others, he has studied and written about the role of social scientists in the making of new fields, like synthetic biology.

Selected publications

  • Balmer, A, J. Calvert, C. Marris, S. Molyneux-Hodgson, E. Frow, M. Kearnes, K. Bulpin, P. Schyfter, A. Mackenzie, & P. Martin. (2016). “Five rules of thumb for post-ELSI interdisciplinary collaborations,” Journal of Responsible Innovation 3(1): 73-80.
  • Balmer, A, J. Calvert, C. Marris, S. Molyneux-Hodgson, E. Frow, M. Kearnes, K. Bulpin, P. Schyfter, A. Mackenzie, & P. Martin. (2015). “Taking roles in interdisciplinary collaborations: Reflections on working in post-ELSI spaces in the UK synthetic biology community,” Science and Technology Studies 28(3): 3-25.
  • Schyfter, P. (2010). “Género y tecnología (“Gender and technology”),” in H. Hiriart (ed.), Doscientos Años, Ochenta Voces, México D.F.: SEDENA.
  • Schyfter, P. (2008). “Tackling the ‘body inescapable’ in sport: Body-artefact kinesthetics, embodied skill, and the community of practice in lacrosse masculinity,” Body & Society, 14(3): 81-103.
  • Schyfter, P. (2001). “La intolerancia es intolerancia (“Intolerance is intolerance”),” in A. Facio (ed.), Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos: Textos y Commentarios Inusuales, San José: ILANUD.