Oct 12 2020

Professor Laura Sjoberg, Department of Politics International Relations and Philosophy, has recently launched the Gender Institute, a research institute that aims to support and augment activity in gender and sexuality studies on Campus. We recently caught up with Professor Sjoberg to ask what inspired her to create the institute and how colleagues can get involved. 

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the Department of Politics, International Relations and Philosophy?

I am British Academy Global Professor of Politics and International Relations. I hold a PhD in International Relations and Gender Studies, as well as a Juris Doctorate in law. I have two main foci in the Department: working on a research project about sexual relations as international relations, and building the Gender Institute. The research project, funded by the British Academy, asks about the ways that states’ relationships are affected by and effect people’s sexual relationships. Most of my research has addressed gender in international security, from politically violent women to theorizing about war. I will be teaching a module called Gender and Armed Conflict in the Spring of 2021.

2. You’ve recently launched the Gender Institute; can you tell us what it entails?

The Gender Institute is an interdisciplinary, cross-college effort to recognize the centrality of gender to research, teaching, and community-building efforts. The Institute has three primary goals: to support faculty and student research and research collaboration in the study of gender and sexuality, to support teaching and learning of and around gender and sexuality, and to produce resources for community engagement and impact around gender and sexuality. Right now, we are working on a few launch events with speakers to introduce students and staff to the Gender Institute – check back on our website or follow us on Twitter @genderRHUL for updates. We are also working on setting up cross-disciplinary conversations, trainings for grant and job applications, and collaborative grant applications.

3. What inspired you to set up the Gender Institute?

I wanted to make a resource where scholars and students interested in gender (and sexuality, and race, and class) could have easily find a community, and at the same time look to contribute to the working environment for all members of the Royal Holloway, University of London community. Also, I really enjoy getting to talk to people with similar interests across the School, the College, and the broader community.

4. How can people get involved?

First, visit our website and follow us on Twitter (@genderRHUL) – get to know a little about what we do. Second, influence what we do! Our website has a survey we’d love you to fill out (ten minutes, we promise!), you can DM us on Twitter, or you can email us at gender@royalholloway.ac.uk. We have opportunity for students and staff to affiliate with the Gender Institute. We’d like to get you involved in the programming we have planned, and get suggestions from you about what to do next!

5. What do you enjoy most about working at Royal Holloway?

I really enjoy my colleagues. They are very smart, and incredibly dedicated to the students at Royal Holloway. I love being around people who really care about what they do.

6. How do you like to spend you free time?

I play enjoy playing duplicate bridge competitively. I also love travelling, and am a big nerd about both cooking and eating food.