Geography & Environment
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Professor Sylvia Chant FRSA FAcSS
Professor Sylvia Chant - LSE Expert Page
BA (King's College Cambridge), PhD (University College London), FRSA, FAcSS, is Professor of Development Geography, who has conducted field-based research in Latin America (Costa Rica, Mexico), Southeast Asia (Philippines), and West Africa (The Gambia). Professor Chant's main and enduring interests are in gender, poverty, migration, women's employment, household survival strategies and female-headed households. She has published widely on these subjects including Women in the Third World (with Lynne Brydon) (1989, reprinted 1993) Women and Survival in Mexican Cities (1991), Gender and Migration (Editor) (1992),Women of a Lesser Cost: Female Labour, Foreign Exchange and Philippine Development (with Cathy McIlwaine) (1995), Gender, Urban Development and Housing (1996), Women-headed Households: Diversity and Dynamics in the Developing World (1997, reprinted 1999), Three Generations, Two Genders, One World (with Cathy McIlwaine) (1998), Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development: Debates, Reflections and Experiences (with Matthew Gutmann) (2000) and Gender in Latin America (in association with Nikki Craske) (2003). The latter was published in Spanish as Género en Latinoamerica in 2007, the same year as Professor Chant's latest sole-authored book Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the 'Feminisation of Poverty' in Africa, Asia and Latin America (see below, and publications page). Early 2009 saw the publication of Geographies of Development in the 21st Century: An Introduction to the Global South, co-authored with Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor in Geography, Queen Mary, University of London. More recently Professor Chant has also worked on the preparation of a major edited volume for Edward Elgar entitled The International Handbook of Gender and Poverty : Concepts, Research, Policy. Published in hardback in 2010 (and in paperback in 2011), the Handbook comprises over 100 chapters addressing different aspects of gendered poverty in all major world regions from 125 authors across the globe. In March 2011 the book was formally launched at an LSE reception following a Panel Discussion on Gender and Poverty in the 21st Century. Sylvia chaired a panel of three leading experts - Professor Diane Elson, Professor Nancy Folbre and Professor Maxine Molyneux - in a session opened by convenors of the departments sponsoring the Event - Geography and Environment, and the Gender Institute - along with support from the LSE Annual Fund. For further details please see http://www2.lse.ac.uk/genderInstitute/events/eventsProfiles/genderPoverty.aspx
Link to on-line version of book http://www.elgaronline.com/abstract/9781848443341.xml
Professor Chant is Director of the joint Department of Geography and Environment/Department of International Development (ID) MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This is a cutting-edge MSc programme vital to understanding the causes and implications of development in a world where over 50% of the population is now urban, and most future urban growth will take place in the Global South. The programme draws on the expertise of a large number of LSE's development and urban faculty with research experience in a diverse array of countries such as Lebanon, India, China, Korea, Philippines, South Africa, Tanzania, Cameroon, Ghana, Gambia, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and beyond. Please visit the following websites for basic details of the programme, and take a look at our short video which features staff, students and alumni: MSc Urbanisation & Development promo video.
Urbanisation and Development Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/London-United-Kingdom/LSE-Urbanisation-and-Development/10150118794605430
Urbanisation and Development Linked-in - for current students and alumni http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=4222331.
See also The Global Urbanist at http://globalurbanist.com, brainchild of former MSc Urbanisation and Development student Dr Kerwin Datu, now involving a team of other former students!
For an extended list of recent and forthcoming PUBLICATIONS please click HERE.
Over time Professor Chant's work has branched into men and masculinities in relation to the family and to Gender and Development (GAD), and into gender, youth and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa (The Gambia and Ghana) with Professor Gareth A Jones. In the period 2003-2006 she benefited from a three year Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. This enabled her to undertake comparative research on inter-generational and household dimensions of the 'feminisation of poverty' in The Gambia, Philippines and Costa Rica. The principal output of the project was Gender, Generation and Poverty: Exploring the 'Feminisation of Poverty' in Africa, Asia and Latin America, published by Edward Elgar in June 2007. Information on Gender ,Generation and Poverty (flyer and ordering details on publications page).
Published in 2015 was a four-volume Major Works on Gender, Poverty and Development under the auspices of
Routledge's Critical Concepts in Development Studies series, which Sylvia
has co-edited with former PhD student Dr Gwendolyn Beetham. (link to contents and ordering
Among Professor Chant's current ventures is co-authorship (with Professor Gareth A Jones, Dr Katherine Brickell and Dr Sarah Thomas de Benitez) of a book entitled Bringing Youth into Development (to be submitted to Zed, London in 2016). This has entailed new fieldwork into youth and sexuality, and youth and employment in The Gambia. In the meantime, just published is Sylvia's co-authored book with Professor Cathy McIlwaine (Geography, Queen Mary, University of London) entitled Cities, Slums and Gender in the Global South: Towards a Feminised Urban Future, which has a Foreword written by one of the world's leading experts on gender in urban environments, Professor Caroline Moser (Emerita, University of Manchester). For more details and ordering information, please click here.
Professor Chant is currently embarking on new geographically and historically comparative research into gendered poverty in the Global South with Drs Sarah Bradshaw and Brian Linneker at Middlesex University. Interrogating new methodologies and sources of data which have emerged for various developing countries in the past decade, coupled with field-based study, the aim of this evolving project is to explore the parameters of gendered poverty trends in 'post-2015' Africa, Asia and Latin America, and the relevance, inter alia, of current poverty alleviation programmes and the Sustainable Development Goals in addressing women's and girls' multiple, and multifacetted, disavantages.
Professor Chant also forms part of the LSE Contingent for the DfID-funded. ODI-led project: Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (2015-23). The LSE team, comprising Dr Ernestina Coast and Professor Lucinda Platt from Social Policy, and Professor Sonia Livingstone from Psychology, is headed-up by Professor Naila Kabeer (Gender Institute/Department of International Development). Sylvia's part in the project involves inputs relating to adolescence and urbanisation on which she will be working with Dr Martina Klett-Davies and Jordana Ramalho during summer and autumn 2016.
In addition to these initiatives, in 2011 Professor Chant was appointed Series Editor of a major new set of Handbooks on Gender by Edward Elgar. The first of these -- The International Handbook on Gender, Migration and Transnationalism: Global and Development Perspectives -- was edited by Laura Oso and Natalia Ribas Mateos, and published in 2013.http://www.elgaronline.com/view/9781781951460.xml. Three further Handbooks will be published in 2016: Handbook on Gender and Health (edited by Jasmine Gideon), Handbook on Gender in World Politics (edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe-Belfrage), and Handbook on Gender and War (edited by Simona Sharoni, Julia Welland, Linda Steiner and Jennifer Pederson).
Linked with her research and writing, Professor Chant has acted as a consultant to various international organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, UNICEF, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the International Labour Organisation. She has recently been engaged (with Professor Cathy McIlwaine) in preparing UN-HABITAT's first ever report on the State of Women in Cities 2012/13: Gender and the Prosperity of Cities. Currently she is serving as an Expert Advisory Group member for UN Women's Progress of the World's Women 2018, which will be on the theme of families in a changing world. She has also held visiting professorial appointments at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, the Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla, and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and outside the UK has presented conference papers and lectures in the USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Turkey, Netherlands, France, Austria, Germany, Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, the Philippines and Japan. In 2009 she was guest of honour and plenary speaker at Ghana's Gender Development Institute's international conference 'The Feminisation of Poverty: A Gender Challenge' in Accra, and she also delivered the 2009 Annual Global Development Lecture at the University of Bergen, Norway. Her speaking engagements in 2011 included keynote addresses at the 8th Cadbury Conference on ‘Women and Inequalities in the 21st Century: African Experiences’ at the University of Birmingham and the first Annual Development Lecture at Birkbeck, University of London. (video excerpt from Birkbeck lecture). Professor Chant also addressed The Economist's Risk Summit 2011 on the theme of urbanisation. Engagements in 2012 included the Phyllis Kaberry, Audrey Richards and Barbara E Ward Annual Commemorative Lecture at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford (see pictures by photographer Susan Taylor), the Annual Conference of the North-South Centre, ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich (for photos and brief coverage of event please see http://www.rural21.com/english/news/detail/article/gender-perspectives-in-research-for-development-0000334/), and the Sixth World Urban Forum in Naples. In 2013, Sylvia's gave guest lectures at the University of Lund, Sweden, and the University of Bern, Switzerland, and conference presentations at the University of Oslo (Measuring Poverty and Gender Disparity), and the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Catalunya (Migration, Development and Gender). In 2014 she shared the Public Lecture for the 20th anniversary of the LSE's Gender Institute (podcast), presented a seminar at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden in connection with her Adlerbertska Guest Professorship (2013-15) (see below), gave a keynote address to an international conference 'Las Ciencias Sociales Aqui y Ahora' at Unidad Occidente de CIESAS, Guadalajara Mexico, and another keynote at the International Colloquium 'Childhood in Feminine: Girls' at the Universitat de Barcelona. In November 2015, Sylvia presented a guest lecture to the Institute for Women's Leadership Consortium at Rutgers University, and in April 2016 gave one of three keynote addresses (alongside Professors Raymond Tallis and Guy Standing) at Manchester Metropolitan University's event on neoliberalism and austerity.
In 2010 Professor Chant was nominated for an LSE Student Union Teaching Excellence Award, and again in 2015.
In 2011 she became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts on grounds of 'her expertise and exploration of gender in geographical development', with 'helping to stake out the field of gender and and development' being mentioned in her conferment as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2015. https://www.acss.org.uk/news/fourty-four-leading-social-scientists-conferred-as-fellows-of-the-academy-of-social-sciences/
In 2013 she was listed as one of 22 'global thinkers' in Robin Cohen's and Paul Kennedy's third edition of Global Sociology (Palgrave) in a new chapter on Gender and Sexualities (http://www.palgrave.com/sociology/cohen3e/students/globalthinkers.html)
Between 2013 and 2015 Sylvia held a three-year appointment as Adlerbertska Guest Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. This involved making yearly visits to Gothenburg to engage in exchange and mentoring, mainly with the institution's development geographers.
Between 2014 and 2017 Sylvia is acting as an Advisory Team member on the ESRC-funded Growth Research Programme on 'Agriculture and Growth in Africa', headed by Professor Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt at the Department of Geography, Lund University, Sweden.
In addition to membership of the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE, Professor Chant is affiliated to the LSE Gender Institute (contact: email@example.com)
For some PHOTOGRAPHS
taken during fieldwork, conferences and external and LSE courses, please click HERE.
For selected photographs by Sylvia displayed in the Geography and Environment Department, LSE, please click HERE
Sylvia's photography has also featured on the Urban Vignettes website established by postgraduate students at the LSE during summer 2012. Please search the following website for Sylvia's images and commentaries, under the themes of 'mobility', 'family', 'psst!', 'signs', 'youth', 'renewal' and 'food' (http://urbanvignettes.com). Please also navigate website for Sylvia's contributions to Season 2, launched summer 2013, in relation to 'the beat of the city', 'the urban commons', 'urban life - anything but Western', and 'urban street markets: trading and consuming on the street'. Her most recent contribution is to Urban Vignettes Season 3 (2014), and is entitled 'Fashioning the city', which can be accessed on http://urbanvignettes.com/articles/fashioning-the-city/
For more photography and information please visit http://sylviachant.com
In 2013 Sylvia served as one of three judges for the 'Photo' entry in LSE's Research Festival.
At the LSE 2014 Research Festival, Sylvia herself was an exhibitor, with three of her images of young women at an event celebrating community renunciation of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) organised by GAMCOTRAP (Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices), in Wassu, Upper River Region, selected for display:
Sylvia entered three photographs on the theme of youth and the informal economy to the 2015 LSE Research Festival, and is also one of the judges of the 'Strictly Come Researching' competition which offers an opportunity to PhD students to showcase the public as well as scholarly impact of their research.
Teaching at LSE
Gy421 Gender and Development
Gy431 Cities, People & Poverty in the South
Gy459 Urban Theory and Policy in the Global South (contributor)
GI407 Globalisation, Gender and Development (contributor)
GI409 Globalisation and Gender (contributor)
Gy303 Geography of Gender: Global Perspectives (convenor, and co-teacher)
Past and present PhD supervision
Cathy McIlwaine. - Gender, Ethnicity and the Local Labour Market in Limón, Costa Rica (1993)
Nazneen Kanji. - Gender and Structural Adjustment Policies: A Case Study of Harare, Zimbabwe (1994)
Allyson Thirkell - The Informal Land Market in Cebu City, the Philippines: Accessibility, Settlement Development and Residential Segregation (1995)
Sarah Bradshaw - Female-headed Households in Honduras: A Study of their Formation and Survival in Low-income Communities (1996).
Cecilia Tacoli - Gender, Life Course and International Migration: The Case of Filipino Labour Migrants in Rome (1996)
Mary Kawar - Gender, Employment and the Life Course: The Case of Working Daughters in Amman, Jordan (1997)
Jo Beall - Households, Livelihoods and the Urban Environment: Social Development Perspectives on Solid Waste Disposal in Faisalabad City, Pakistan (1997)
Silvia Posocco - Secrecy, Subjectivity and Sociality: An Ethnography of Conflict in Petén, Northern Guatemala (1999-2000) (2004).
Deborah Smith - Finding Power: Gender and Women’s Political Participation in Rural Rajasthan, India (2005).
Anna Coates - Health, Reproduction and Identity: Indigenous Women of Chiapas, Mexico (2006).
Katherine Brickell - Gender Relations in the Khmer Home: Post Conflict Perspectives (2007).
Henda Ducados - Women in War-torn Societies: A Study of Households in Luanda’s Peri-urban Areas (2007) (MPhil).
Carolyn Williams - Sexuality, Rights and Development: Peruvian Feminist Connections (co-supervised with Professor Henrietta Moore) (2009).
Gwendolyn Beetham - Representing 'Success' in Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment Programming: A Feminist Ethnography of Aid in Haiti 2005-2009 (2011).
Alice Evans - 'What Women Can Do, Men Can Do': The Causes and Consequences of Growing Flexibility in Gender Divisions of Labour in Kitwe, Zambia (2013)
Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed - The Same, but Different: The Everyday Lives of Female and Male Domestic Workers in Lagos, Nigeria (2016)
Pablo Navarrete - From Survival to Social Mobility: The Role of Local Public Policies in Enhancing Informal Economy Performance in Santiago de Chile (started 2013). **** Pablo not only won the prize for the 'Best PhD paper in Economics Paper' at the 52nd annual conference of the Academy of Economics and Finance, held in Jacksonville, Florida in February 2015, but in May 2015 also was one of three winners of the 'Strictly Come Researching' competition for PhD students at the LSE Research Festival. See Pablo talk about his research in a 'grilling' by Professor Conor Gearty http://www.lse.ac.uk/IPA/Engagement/LSEResearchFestival/Strictly%20Come%20Researching%20Event.aspx
Jordana Ramalho - Gender, Risk and Resilience: Perspectives from Informal Settlers in Metro Cebu, Philippines (started 2014)
Jeanne Firth - The Promise of Celanthropy: Hunger, Food and Anti-Poverty Interventions in the Gulf of Mexico (started 2015)
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