The MA Gender Studies and Law at SOAS caters for students with a variety of backgrounds and objectives:
- those coming from Women’s Studies or Gender Studies who wish to engage more deeply with gender theory in relation to regional specialisation and to connect this with legal knowledge, especially, but not exclusively, the societies of Asia, Africa and the Middle East;
- those coming from Asian, African or Middle Eastern Studies who wish to incorporate the study of gender and law into their own areas of expertise; and
- those having previously trained in particular disciplines, such as Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Cultural and Media Studies, History, Politics, Religious Studies, Sociology, Refugee/Diaspora Studies etc.
This programme provides:
- specialised research training in Gender Studies, in addition to focused study of feminist legal theories and a particular area of law. This pathway is suitable for students considering advanced postgraduate research in Gender Studies with a regional specialisation;
- a broad MA programme for students with some background in Women’s Studies, Gender Studies, and Area Studies etc. who wish to enhance their knowledge of gender in relation to cross-cultural legal issues;
- a special interest MA, which enables students to study gender issues in depth in relation to a particular regional or disciplinary specialisation alongside the acquisition of knowledge of feminist legal approaches and a study of a legal sub-discipline.
The MA Gender Studies and Law at SOAS is a unique programme, its principal aim being to re-focus issues prioritised in western Gender Studies and Legal Theory on the complex specificities of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East. Jointly housed by the Centre for Gender Studies and the School of Law, the programme offers the specialised study of gender and law in relation to the cultures of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, together with rigorous training in, and questioning of, contemporary gender theory. In terms of gender theory, it offers a solid foundation with sufficient breadth and depth to facilitate a range of specialist pathways. In terms of specialisation, it draws on the expertise of internationally recognised scholars of Asian, African and Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS.
Students take courses to the value of four units and complete a dissertation (which is also the assessment for the fourth course Feminist Legal Theory).
All students take the Preliminary course in law, legal reasoning and legal methods. This is a compulsory component which runs as an intensive two-week course in September, prior to the start of term.
All students take the compulsory core courses Gender Theory and the Study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East and Feminist Legal Theory (Dissertation). Further options include a wide range of gender and gender-related courses from a comprehensive list. Students also choose one Law option from the general MA in Law list (subject to course convenor approval).
Upon completion of coursework and written examinations in May/June, students will write a 10,000 word dissertation based on material acquired from Feminist Legal Theory.
Students will have access to a wealth of study resources available in the SOAS Library and in nearby institutions such as the British Library, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University College London Library and Senate House Library.
Teaching & Learning
Courses are taught by a combination of methods, principally lectures, tutorial classes, seminars and supervised individual study projects.
Each taught course has its own approved methods of assessment, designed to address the particular learning outcomes of that course. Assessment methods may include essays, weekly reaction papers, unseen, seen or take-home examinations, research projects, individual or group presentations, translations, learning journals, oral examinations etc., as appropriate.
Students are also required to attend regular seminars organised by the Centre for Gender Studies, details of which are included in the handbook and further details of which are advertised on the Centre’s website and notice board.