What is the Gender and Sexuality Research Network? 

We are an interdisciplinary research group focusing on gender studies based at the University of Reading. Our aim is to provide a supportive and collaborative space for those whose work or interests include aspects of gender and sexuality to share ideas and stimulate discussion across disciplines. We warmly welcome academics and students from any department who would like to get involved. Meetings involve a twenty minute paper given by either a graduate student or a lecturer. Afterwards there is a discussion in which everybody can get involved. All are welcome to present on a topic relating to gender and sexuality. The atmosphere of the group is very friendly and particularly suits graduate students who would like some feedback on their research. The group is also a great opportunity to meet new people.

When do we meet?women-149577_1280 The meetings are normally on Mondays from 4-5pm in the HumSS building. We don’t meet every Monday so do look out for emails and on this blog for more details.

How do you get involved? If you would like to attend and have your name on the mailing list, either email us or sign up to the group at a meeting. If you are interested in presenting a paper please inform us either by email (at least two weeks in advance) or at a meeting.

Who is organising the network? The research network is organised by Reading PhD students Faye Bird and Gareth Mills (see bios below). We are PhD students in the departments of Law and Literature who are very keen to meet other students and members of staff. We are interested in finding out all about you and your research.

How can you get in contact with us? We will be happy to hear from. You can email either Faye or Gareth directly:

Faye Bird: faye.bird@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Gareth Mills: gareth.mills@pgr.reading.ac.uk

Or you can also email the GSRN address:


Or you can tweet us:

Twitter: @ReadingGender


Gender and Sexuality Cluster (SWWDTP)

We also have now established a new branch of our research network – the Gender and Sexuality Cluster which is supported by the SWWDTP (The South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research council). Many of the cluster activities are only open to students of the SWWDTP which is comprised of 8 universities – Reading, Bristol, Bath, Bath Spa, Southampton, Cardiff, Exeter and Aberystwyth. However, after our initial networking day, we are now planning a conference to which non SWWDTP students from across these 8 universities will be allowed to send abstracts.

Please check out the cluster website: https://genderandsexualityresearch.wordpress.com/


About Us:

GSRN pic

Hi, I’m Gareth and I’m writing a PhD on Modernist publication history, particularly focused on the work of painter and writer Wyndham Lewis. Lewis was a complex and controversial artist whose position on gender was at once both radical and reactionary. While an important ideological ally of women’s rights activists Naomi Mitchenson and Rebecca West, he also constructed a binary set of gender psychologies which perceived the masculine as superior. However, he long argued for a separation of gender and biological sex, a position he held from at least 1926; 23 years before Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949).

I studied at The Universities of Reading and Durham, and have been primarily engaged with modernism with a side interest in ancient languages, mainly Latin. Before returning to Reading for my PhD, which is funded by the SWW DTP (South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership), I worked as a secondary school English teacher in China, Spain and the UK.

Along with Tabitha Stanmore I am the editor of the postgraduate journal Question due to launch November 2017 and is aimed at a wide audience beyond the academy. I have also contributed to Gendered Voices, a gender magazine edited by the former GSRN organiser Maria Thomlinson. I highly recommend it for its accessibility, insight and range.

If you have news or would like your research featured on the blog, please feel free to e-mail Faye or myself and we will get in touch. I am very much looking forward to meeting you at our seminar series and hearing about your research. See you in Reading!


Faye at the UN Human Rights Council

Hi, I’m Faye and I am currently working on my PhD in the field of international law. I am seeking to identify both the political and legal obstacles that hinder the process of satisfactory transitional justice for women and girls forced into slavery and marriage, experiencing extreme sexual violence as a result, in the ongoing armed conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Like Gareth, my research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the SWW DTP (South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership).

My research cuts across a number of disciplines from law to international relations, gender studies to security. In doing so it turns on various conceptual difficulties not adequately addressed in the international legal framework and political system, such as the gendered dichotomy of the offences of ‘slavery’ and ‘sexual slavery’, and the excluded victims of sexual violence in the discourse surrounding Iraq and Syria, such as male victims, and Muslim women and girls targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL-Daesh).

I previously studied law at the University of Exeter and obtained my masters in international law at the University of Reading. Throughout my studies I have specialized in using feminist perspectives to unearth the gendered nature of legal frameworks, both in the drafting of law and in its application. I have been fortunate enough to visit important international institutions in Geneva to see international law and diplomacy in action. These included the United Nations, the office for the UK Mission to the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Refugee Agency and the World Trade Organisation.

I am currently teaching criminal law on the undergraduate LLB law degree at Reading and am also supporting the university’s cross discipline Global Development Division which is run by Professor Rosa Freedman. This division aims to establish and deepen academic links between those working on matters relating to development from various academic perspectives.

I am very excited to be coordinating the University of Reading’s Gender and Sexuality Research Network, and am looking forward to hearing about and engaging with all the fantastic research that is being conducted at Reading and at universities near and far. As Gareth has said above, do not hesitate to contact either of us by way of email, or you can drop us a tweet @ReadingGender!


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