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Kerry Mackereth

Ms Kerry Mackereth
Kerry Mackereth (UCCGS Gates International Scholarship)

Female political self-sacrifice

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


My doctoral thesis in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies examines spectacular acts of political violence committed against the self, and the narratives surrounding these acts of political self-sacrifice. Women who undertake acts of bodily political self-sacrifice are marginalised or completely ignored within the current literature on self-sacrifice. Additionally, despite the key contributions made by feminist and critical race theorists towards the role of embodiment in politics, structural violence, subjectification, and conceptions of power, feminist and critical race theory rarely plays a prominent role in theorisations of political self-sacrifice. Hence, my thesis takes a gendered approach to political self-sacrifice in two ways. On one hand, I focus on women who undertake such radical acts, using a variety of case studies such as female hunger-striking, female self-immolation, and other varying types of bodily self-sacrifice. On the other hand, I also use feminist and critical race theory as a way of challenging the hegemony of certain political thinkers in the field of political self-sacrifice, so I draw upon a variety of feminist and critical race theorists whose work is less prominent in this area. I hope that my thesis will provide an alternative to the sexist and heteronormative interpretations common to both media reporting and academic analyses of political self-sacrifice.

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

Research Interests:

Feminist and gender theory; critical race theory; embodiment; political violence; hunger; politics and film/literature; the political imagination.