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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Dr Holly Porter

Deputy Director, UCCGS

Dr Holly Porter


Dr Holly Porter is an anthropologist focusing on Africa and her work centres around issues of gender, sexualities, violence, and local notions of healing and justice after war—particularly in northern Uganda where she lived for more than ten years. Previously, Holly worked in South Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, and Palestine in the fields of access to justice, gender-based violence, transitional justice, peacebuilding and human rights. Prior to coming to Cambridge, she held positions at the London School of Economics, and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Antwerp and Gent University. Holly is the author of many articles and the 2018 Herskovitz Book Prize finalist for After rape: violence justice and social harmony in Uganda, published by Cambridge University Press.

Research Interests

Gender, sexualities, intimate relationships, violence, and local notions of healing and justice after war




Holly teaches for the MPhil and PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies including: Gender Theory and Controversy; Theorising Gender and Method; Multi-disciplinary Text Seminars and Multi-disciplinary Gender Research Seminars.

Key Publications

Porter, Holly. 2017. After rape: violence, justice and social harmony in Uganda. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Porter, Holly. 2020. Moving Toward 'Home': Love and Relationships Through War and Displacement. Journal of Refugee Studies;

Porter, Holly. 2019. Naked Bodies and Collective Action: Repertoires of Protest in Uganda’s Militarised, Authoritarian Regime. Civil WarsAhead of Print.

Porter, Holly. 2019. Moral Spaces and Sexual Transgression: Understanding rape in war and post-conflict. Development and Change.

Porter, Holly 2018. Rape Without Bodies?: Reimagining the phenomenon we call “rape.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society 25(4): 589-612.

Hilhorst, Dorothea, Holly Porter and Rachel Gordon. 2018. Gender, Sexuality and Violence in Humanitarian CrisesDisasters 42(S1): S3-S16.

Hopwood, Julian, Holly Porter and Nangiro Saum. 2018. Resilient Patriarchy: Public authority and women’s (in)security in Karamoja, Uganda.  Disasters 42 (S1): S140-S158.

Porter, Holly and Letha Victor. 2017. Dirty Things: spiritual pollution and life after the Lord’s Resistance ArmyJournal of Eastern African Studies.

Macdonald, Anna and Holly Porter. 2016. The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo: opportunity or spectre?  Reflections from the ground on the first LRA prosecution. Africa. 86 (4): 698-722.

Porter, Holly. 2015. After rape: Comparing civilian and combatant perpetrated crime in northern UgandaWomen’s Studies International Forum. 51 (2015): 81-90.

Porter, Holly. 2015. ‘Say no to bad touches’: Schools, sexual identity and sexual violence in northern UgandaInternational Journal of Educational Development. 41 (1): 271-281.

Porter, Holly. 2015. Mango trees, offices and altars: The role of relatives, NGOs and churches after rape in northern Uganda.  International Journal for Minority and Group Rights. 22 (3): 309-334.

Porter, Holly. 2012. Justice and rape on the periphery: The supremacy of social harmony in the space between local solutions and formal judicial systems in northern UgandaJournal of Eastern African Studies. 6 (1): 81-97.