CGS MA Prize winners

By Centre for Gender Studies (SOAS)|December 2, 2019|Awards, Uncategorized|0 comments

One of the greatest joys of being a member of faculty at CGS is teaching amazing MA students who come through our programmes every academic year. This year we would like to include you in our joy by sharing with you the innovative work of students we had the pleasure of teaching and supervising. We have acknowledged four students through three programme prizes and one dissertation innovation prize. While these stand out in this way, we of course have a range of insightful projects across our three degree programmes.

MA Gender Studies Programme prize went to Lola Olufemi supervised by Nydia Swaby. 

Lola’s project:
Remaking The World: Uses of the Imagination in Feminist Activism
What is the purpose of the imagination in feminist activism? How is it represented in cultural production? Using six case studies, this project maps the many manifestations of the feminist imagination and analyses its affective, theoretical and practical consequences. By examining the cultural production of activist groups from across the world, it identifies the specific characteristics of a feminist employment of the imagination. This project will demonstrate how activists use the feminist imagination to draw conclusions about the material conditions in which they live and make the argument, in theory and in practice, that the world could be organised in a different way. It argues that the imagination provides the impetus for action, is imbued in material that emerges from feminist activist formations and underpins their belief in liberatory visions of the future.

MA Gender and Sexuality Programme prize went to Aisling Niamh Reina supervised by Awino Okech

Aisling’s project:
Queer, disabled approaches to (healing from) sexual violence
This dissertation examines queer, disabled memoirs about sexual violence as a site of knowledge production and consciousness-raising for queer crip survivors. It uses a decolonised queer feminist lens to do a thematic analysis of three memoirs— Amy Berkowitz’s Tender Points (2015), Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Colour Dreaming Her Way Home (2015) and Yrsa Daley-Ward’s The Terrible (2018). It shows how these memoirs act as a location of healing and disability justice for queer crip survivors independent of ableist ideas of cure.

MA Gender and Law Programme prize went to Zoya Rehman supervised by Vanja Hamzic 

Zoya’s project:
Remembering In/Visibility:Feminist Memories of Resistance and Law in Pakistan 
This dissertation is an exploration of the correlation between ‘memories’ of feminist resistance and the legal discourse in Pakistan. It seeks to outline the ways in which feminist praxis in Pakistan has historically depended on engagements with law. More importantly, it charts urban feminist resistance, in the form of feminist memories, around legal reform in the Pakistani context. At the same time, the paper problematizes these memories by observing partialities in the Pakistani feminist discourse, tethered to the limitations of using legal strategies for social change. The silences and omissions in the Pakistani feminist discourse also point towards the lack of critical attention given to queer memories. Ultimately, I argue that a re-imagination of feminist engagements with law is necessary not only to address some of the memories Pakistani feminist struggles have overlooked or negated, but also to reveal the questions the present-day feminist movement poses to challenge the history of feminist campaigns for legal reform. 

Dissertation Innovation Prize went to Onyeka Nwabunnia from the MA Gender and Law programme supervised by Awino Okech

Onyeka’s project:
Beyond Borders: Home, Belonging, and Citizenship in African Diaspora Women’s Literature
Decoloniality as a theory of knowledge asks us to shift how and from where we start to understand the world. Using decoloniality, Avtar Brah’s diaspora, and borderlands theory this project analyses African diaspora women’s literature as a means of understanding how African women writers construct home and how might their construction of home contest the bounds of citizenship. Using three stories form Margaret Busby’s “New Daughters of Africa” namely Ketty Nivyabandi’s Home, Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s From that Hair and Yassmin Abdel- Magied’s Eulogy For My Career and two longer works Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers and Noviolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names, I found that home is an ever shifting construct, that changes and evolves over time and is mediated by experiences of capitalism, heteropatriarchy, and racism. Central to the construction of home in these texts is citizenship law and legal processes, making home a site of exclusion and inclusion, disciplining the movements of displaced bodies.
I hope you will join us in sending our heartiest congratulations to these students and the 2018/19 cohort.
Awino Okech
Chair, Centre for Gender Studies
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