Dr Bice Maiguashca
BA (Princeton), MA (York, CA)
To date, my research has focused on a set of questions around the origins, strategic trajectory and political significance of contemporary forms of left-wing politics, in general and feminist activism, in particular. My approach to this subject is interdisciplinary, involves both theoretical and empirical research and is qualitative in nature taking me to a range of fieldwork sites from the World Social Forums in Mumbai, India and Porto Alegre, Brazil to the Labour Party conference in Liverpool. As can be seen from my publication record, in recent years, my empirical focus has shifted from the gendered politics of the global anti-capitalist movement (a topic of interest to International Relations) to various renditions of national left politics, including “Corbynism” (a subject primarily addressed by British Politics). What has remained constant is my engagement with and commitment to feminist theoretical and methodological approaches which continue to inspire my thinking and writing as well as my pedagogy
Research group links
My current research projects revolve around and contribute to three different, but related strands of inquiry. The first, which is primarily theoretical in nature and stems from a Leverhulme grant, involves the critical interrogation of “populism” as an analytical concept and as a political signifier. Pushing against the current tendency in IR and Political Science to label most forms of oppositional politics, from right to left, as “populist”, I am trying to make the case that, as it is currently being deployed, this concept is being overstretched to the point where it is no longer is analytical useful. The second project also has its roots in my Leverhulme grant and concerns my empirical research into “Corbynism” as a new left landscape that has been largely neglected by British political studies and that needs to be subjected to academic scrutiny. Last but not least, I have returned to my earlier interest in the challenges that feminist activists face in the context of gendered power relations and globalised neoliberalism. In this context, I am seeking to develop a feminist theoretical defence of the 'politics of safe spaces', too often mis-understood as an assault on our freedom of speech.
Since 2007 I have supervised 10 PhD students to completion and am currently supervising three funded students. I am able to support PhD students working in the following research areas:1) social movement activism, particularly forms of left-wing politics, although I am also interested in right-wing variants; 2) the theory and practice of feminism and 3) critical theoretical debates including radical democratic theory, poststructuralist perspectives and neo-Marxist approaches to politics.
Recent Administrative Posts:
Jan 2019 – College Director of Post-Graduate Research for the School for Social Sciences and International Studies. In this role, I am responsible for devising and implementing strategies to monitor and support 600 PhD students across five departments within the College.
May 2018 - Academic Lead..
Feb. 2018 - Equality and Diversity Group. As a member of this committee, I meet monthly to discuss strategies to support the departmental Athena Swan application on gender equality as well as other departmental Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity initiatives.
Sept. 2017 -2018 PhD Admissions Officer. Responsible for processing PhD applications to the department.
January 2015 - 2016 Pathway Lead for Interdisciplinary ‘Security, Conflict and Human Rights’ Program within SWDTC.
Oct. 2015 – Sept. 2017 Senior Tutor..
Sept 2012 –Sept 2014 Department Director of Doctoral Studies. .
External impact and engagement
Most of my engagement/impact work relates to my project on left politics in Britain (i.e., Leverhulme project). The aim of this effort has been to highlight the gender/race and class politics of ‘Corbynism’ and in this respect to rebut prevailing accounts offered by both the mainstream media as well as British political scientists.
I completed my Bachelor of Arts at Princeton University majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and then went on to do an MA degree at York University (Toronto) in Political Science. I completed my PhD entitled 'Social Movements and the Making of World Politics' at the London School of Economics in 2001. I have been working at Exeter University since 1998.