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PhD Students 2017-18

Jules Allen

Ms Juliet AllenESRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship

Social Norms and Fathers’ Use of Parental Leave Entitlements

Supervisor: Professor Jude Browne (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)

Advisor: Dr Maria Iacovou (Department of Sociology)



My research examines the ways that social and cultural norms influence fathers’ decisions about use of parental leave, using an understanding of parenting as gendered and performative. Despite significant changes made to parental leave allocations in Europe in recent years, fathers’ take-up of leave entitlements remains consistently lower than mothers’, even in countries with the most gender-sensitive frameworks including ‘daddy quotas’ and other paternal incentives.  

This research uses a mixed methodology and focuses on Portugal, Sweden and the UK. The project investigates the significance of social norms and gendered responsibilities in decisions about who uses leave, and examines how parenting practice has the potential to both reinscribe and unsettle the gender binary.

I co-convene the Gender and Working Lives reading and research group and tweet at Jules_Allen_


I hold an MSc in Gender Research with distinction from LSE’s Gender Institute. My research interests include sociology of gender; reproductive sociology; reproductive labour and care; heteronormativity and kinship; feminist economics, social policy and postcolonialism. Prior to undertaking my PhD, I specialised in funding, and working in the international development, UK health/social care and higher education sectors.

Publications and Reports:

Allen, J. (2020). 2020 WBG Briefing: Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave. London: Women’s Budget Group. Available at:

Allen, J. and Norman, J. “All the parties have failed to promise the new parental leave system we need.” The Times, December 11 2019.

Allen, J. (2016). Changing Parenting Roles for Transforming Gender. LSE Engenderings. Available at: from 

Julia Doyle

Ms Julia DoyleEmmanuel College Derek Brewer Scholarship

Supervisor: Dr Lauren Wilcox (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)

Navigating Gendered and Racialised Discursive Landscapes as a Refugee Subject: The Genres and Contexts of Syrian Refugee Narratives


My PhD research focuses on storytelling by Syrian refugees, namely involving feminist & postcolonial readings of texts including original oral history interviews, memoirs, first person journalistic accounts and other media. My research is positioned in IR as well as the broader, interdisciplinary fields of refugee/migration studies, narrative studies. The motivation of my research is to explore the production of subjectivity in the context of numerous discourses around refugee identity which often requires negotiation of existing stories about forced migration and tropes around security, difference and the meanings assigned to journeys. I am especially interested in how systems of gender and race are understood and intertextually engaged with in reference to space, security, movement, memory and identity. My oral history data collection is supported by The Welcoming, a migrant and refugee support service in Edinburgh. My dissertation will also focus on the politics of researching refugee subjects and communities, the relationships of power and privilege between the academy and research subjects as well as developing feminist collaborative methodologies which attempt to respond to such analyses of academic practice.


I completed my BA in History and English at Merton College, Oxford in 2014 and graduated from a Research MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics in 2016. Following that I trained as a CELTA qualified English as a Second Language teacher and taught university students in Seville, Spain until returning to the U.K. to begin my PhD. Throughout my studies, in different disciplines and at different institutions, I have focused on narrative, identity, trauma and forced migration, most notably in regard to post-Partition India and Pakistan in both my BA and MSc theses. My PhD research marks a turn to studying these themes in a contemporary context. Alongside my studies, I have written for a recently launched foreign affairs website that aims to promote writing by women on International Relations and foreign policy; my articles have focused on the ‘scripts’ of online diplomacy after disaster and on the silencing of female politicians in their respective houses of representation.

Research Interests:

Memory; trauma; narrative; collective identity; national identity; forced migration; borders; oral history; human security; subjectivity.

Other writing:

‘From Westminster to Washington, an “Old Boys Club” is Silencing Female Politicians’ (28/09/17)

 ‘We’ll Keep You in Our Tweets: Leaders Respond to Tragedy in the Digital Age’ (01/06/17)

Kerry Mackereth

Ms Kerry Mackereth 2019Gates Cambridge International Scholarship

Bodies at their limits: rethinking political violence through women’s hunger strikes

Supervisor: Dr Harald Wydra (Department of Politics and International Studies)



Hunger strikers operate in a liminal space between the active political subject and the passive “victim” of violence that underpin many theories of political violence. Through a feminist and anti-racist analysis of two women’s hunger strikes in the United Kingdom – the hunger strikes conducted by the British suffragette movement between 1909-1914 and the 2018 hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre (IRC) – this thesis makes three arguments regarding how women’s hunger strikes challenge conceptions of political violence centred around the liberal humanist subject and its victimised humanitarian “other”. First, in response to approaches that frame hunger strikes as a form of political speech, this thesis argues that gender and race shape how the pained body “speaks”. Second, it insists that an analysis of what hunger-striking body “says” must also include an interrogation of what the hunger striking body “does”. Consequently, this thesis examines the performative qualities of the hunger strikes in the suffragette movement and at Yarl’s Wood IRC, showing how the significance and the effects of these hunger strikes extended beyond their vernacular qualities. Third, this thesis argues that hunger strikes contain the potential to undermine the liberal humanist figure at the centre of theories of political violence. It contends that the suffragettes’ use of hunger strikes in the service of an imperialist political platform demonstrates how the hunger striking in and of itself does not necessarily disrupt this liberal humanist ideal. Nonetheless, it suggests that the Yarl’s Wood hunger strike shows how hunger striking can challenge the division between the liberal humanist subject and the humanitarian victim through relations of solidarity and interdependency. Together, these three arguments lay the foundations for rethinking certain precepts of political violence, in particular how political violence produces the human and its humanitarian others and how political protests resist this distinction. 

Academic Background:

Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in Human, Social and Political Sciences at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge

MPhil (Distinction) in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies at Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge


Mackereth, K. (forthcoming) “mechanical maids and family androids: racialised post-care imaginaries in Humans (2015-), Sleep Dealer (2008) and Her (2013)” Feminist Review, Special Issue on Digital Labour.

Research Interests:

Feminist and gender theory; critical race theory; embodiment; political violence; hunger; science fiction; the political imagination.

Lisa Vickers

Ms Lisa VickersCambridge Trust Scholarship

Feminist Political Parties: Sustainability, Longevity, and Impacts

Supervisor: Dr Jude Browne (University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies)


The primary question my doctoral research seeks to answer is the following: Are feminist political parties built to last? To answer this question, I will investigate if feminist political parties need to be formed with the intention of permanence in order to address the subject of female representation, under what conditions feminist political parties are most likely to survive, how feminist political parties attempt to represent women, and how grassroots feminist political movements and feminist organizations view themselves as interacting with the state through parties. To complete this research, I plan to run a discourse analysis, engage in participant observation analysis, and conduct interviews with former and current affiliates of feminist political parties in the United Kingdom, Iceland, and Sweden.

Academic Background:

MPhil in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies, University of Cambridge (2016-2017)

BA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies / History, University of Connecticut (2011-2015)