The Gender and Sexuality Study Group of the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD) hosted world-renowned feminist international relations academic Professor Cynthia Enloe during O-Week.

Professor Enloe delivered the Annual Politics and International Relations Lecture to the undergraduate students and staff of the Department of International Relations on the topic: Explore with a Feminist Curiosity – it will Make you Smarter!. In this lecture, Cynthia Enloe urged students to take an interest in things they assumed were insignificant and to always question taken-for-granted assumptions. She vividly described how thinking about the the production and history of sneakers [trainers] reveals the gendered global political economy of labour and US military hegemony.

On Thursday 22 September, Professor Enloe met with the staff and student members of the Gender and Sexuality Study Group for a research lunch. Topics of discussion included the group’s ongoing research projects and broader themes of the challenges and priorities for feminist researchers were discussed. Feminist international lawyer and activist Madeleine Rees OBE also attended.

Professor Cynthia Enloe and Westminster academics
Professor Enloe with staff and student members of the Gender and Sexuality Study Group.

Later that evening, Cynthia Enloe delivered the public lecture: 'How can you tell if you’re becoming militarized? Doing a feminist audit.' Over 300 people attended the lecture – many attendees were from universities outside of London and from non-governmental organisations and peace movements. Enloe spoke inspiringly for two hours, addressing the multi-faceted ways that governments encourage men and women to be complicit with military and foreign policy goals, and the opportunities for protest and political change.

Dr Daniel Conway, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations and Convenor of the Gender and Sexuality Study Group at the CSD, commented: "Cynthia Enloe has changed the nature of international relations as a discipline and hosting her at Westminster was an honour. She is a captivating speaker and brilliant researcher and writer. Cynthia said how impressed she was by Westminster students’ engagement and questions, by the CSD’s research agenda and how inclusive we clearly are as a Department."

Third year Politics and International Relations student Jordi Cortes, who attended all three events, said: "I couldn't have chosen a better way to start my third and last year at uni. Meeting and listening to Professor Cynthia Enloe and her positive way of addressing life was a real treat. I could have listened to her for hours. She is a true inspiration for me, not only for being a feminist – but for being a fighter."

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