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The Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professorship Lectures


Professors Diane Middlebrook and Carl DjerassiThe Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professorship was generously endowed by Carl Djerassi (Professor Emeritus, Stanford University and inventor of the contraceptive pill) in honour of his late wife Diane Middlebrook (Professor Emerita and Head of Gender Studies, Stanford University). The Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professors each give a high profile public lecture on a gender related topic.  



Visiting Professorship Lecture: Michaelmas Term 2018

Professor Bina Agarwal

International Balzan Prizewinner 2017, Professor Bina Agarwal, Professor of Development Economics and Environment, University of Manchester is the Diane Middlebrook and Carl Djerassi Visiting Professor for the Michaelmas Term 2018. 

Professor Agarwal's Visiting Professorship Lecture, 'Women and the Collective: Managing South Asia’s Forests and Farms' was held at the Divinity School, St. John’s College, on Wednesday 10 October 2018.

We would like to extend our thanks to Professor Agarwal for a fascinating lecture, and to all contributors. 

Recording of lecture available at:

Visiting Professor: Academic Year 2018-19

Women’s relationship with collectives is complex. On the one hand, historically, they were largely excluded from mixed gender collectives—parliaments, village councils, or community institutions of governance—and recent inclusions are often due to gender quotas. On the other hand, women have frequently led social movements, and all-women collectives are widely promoted for social empowerment. Both types of collectives raise questions. In mixed gender collectives, what proportion of women would be effective? In all-women groups, should homogeneity be promoted for better cooperation or heterogeneity for the benefits of diversity? And is the power of numbers enough, or is a gendered consciousness essential for impact? In her lecture Professor Agarwal addressed these questions, based on her primary surveys of collectives in South Asia: one of community members managing local forests (a common pool resource), the other of women farming in groups on private land. Eschewing the much beaten narrative of women’s exclusion, she examined the little-examined impact of their inclusion. Can such inclusion enhance forest conservation in the one case, and farm productivity in the other?

 Women and the Collective