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Professor Donna Pankhurst

PositionProfessor of Peacebuilding & Development BA PhD Liv.
LocationPemberton P1.08
DepartmentPeace Studies and International Development
Feedback HoursBy appointment please email me
Telephone+44 (0)1274 23 4176

Research Interests (key words only)

Gender and Conflict; Gender and Peacebuilding; Masculinities and Soldiers; Post-Conflict Justice and Reconciliation, Memory and Peacebuilding; Main Geographic Area: Africa (especially Southern and Eastern countries)

PhD Supervision

 Donna has supervised twelve PhD researchers to successful completion, has examined eighteen, and continues to supervise further candidates.

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Donna’s main teaching areas are development studies and gender issues and she has over twenty years of experience at undergraduate and masters levels.

Administrative Responsibilities

Donna was Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in the Faculty of Social Sciences from 2000-2009, and has been Dean of Graduate Studies since 2009, with responsibilities for PhD students. These roles have involved her in considerable university responsibilities beyond the Department of Peace Studies and sadly limited her time for research. She is expected to return full time to Peace Studies in 2015.

Professional History

Lecturer in Development Studies (University of Manchester); Research Fellow on the Politics of Famine (University of Leeds).

Professional Activities

Regularly reviews research proposals for ESRC and publications submitted to key journals on gender, conflict, development and masculinities

Research Areas

Donna Pankhurst's main area of research interest is gender issues in conflict and post-conflict settings. Such issues include men's experiences, and issues of masculinity and violence, as well as the post-conflict experiences of women. She is part of a network of scholars who work in these areas.

Her research history concentrated more on land issues in Southern Africa (particularly Zimbabwe and Namibia) and post-conflict politics in other countries in East and West Africa. She has also worked with a number of NGOs and international organisations as advisor and consultant.

Current Projects

Donna is currently developing research on how gender roles and identities change in conflict and post-conflict settings, with a particular focus on attitudes to inter-personal violences. There are three strands to this future work:

  • Ex-Army Servicemen in the UK: The experiences and perceptions of men who have seen active service in the British army and then tried to re-engage in civilian life. This will be completed within the REF period.
  • International Policies on Male Ex-Combatants: The policy and methodological lessons from the UK research which can be applied to international organisations and other contexts, particularly in Africa.
  • Male Ex-Combatants in African Locations: parallel research in African settings with ex-combatants, especially at sites of ‘traditional conflict resolution’ and memorialisation. 


Editor, Gendered Peace. Women's Struggles for Reconciliation and Justice, Routledge, August, 2007.

This volume makes a contribution in the growing literature on women, conflict and peacebuilding, and arose from a United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) publication. Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World, Report for A decade after the UN conference at Beijing, 2004.

It contains two chapters authored by Donna (which are available from and as a joint UNRISD/ Peace Studies Working Paper). The first chapter intervenes in the debates about the different experiences of women and men during and after war. In particular it subjects to scrutiny the phenomenon of the `backlash’ against women that often takes place when wars end, and reviews the efficacy of different post-conflict peacebuilding policy approaches. The final chapter focuses on the explosion of violence by men against women that often takes place as part of the backlash, and examines different explanations that are offered. In particular it explores the usefulness of the concept `masculinity’ in this context and finds it lacking, suggesting that instead we need to understand more about the lived reality of men’s lives, just as we strive to do with regard to women’s lives.

Other Publications:

  • ‘Sexual Violence in War’, in Shepherd, Laura J (ed), Gender Matters in Global Politics. A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, Routledge, 2010: 148-160 
  • ‘Gendered Peace’, in Pugh, M. et al, Whose peace? Critical perspectives on the Political Economy of Peacebuilding. Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2008
  • 'Gender, Armed Conflict and the Search for Peace’, chapter 3, Gender Equality: Striving for Justice in an Unequal World, Report for United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) A decade after the UN conference at Beijing, 2004 
  • 'Sex Wars and Other Wars. Towards a Feminist Approach to Peacebuilding', Development in Practice, vol 13, nos 2 & 3, May 2003: 154-178), and in H.Afshar & D.Eade (eds), Development, Women and War, 8-42, Oxford, OXFAM, 2004


Consultant to United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), for project on Gender, recently renewed to write a Think- Piece’ on ‘Women’s Rights 20 Years After the Beijing Platform for Action’

Public/Academic/Stakeholder Engagement

Donna is also a long-standing Chair of Governors of one of Bradford's biggest inner-city comprehensive schools, with a predominantly ethnic minority intake, and is active in representing the voices of governors in consultation with the Local Education Authority. She is also Chair of Governors of a co-located special needs school, and Chair of the Trust to which they both belong. She received a DfES Teaching Award as a regional finalist for Governor of the Year in 2007. She was the inaugural chair of the District's Education Strategy Group, which aims to facilitate public debate about strategic educational issues, and has been an active member of various interventions to improve secondary education in Bradford, eg

Donna worked with Prof. Jenny Pearce on the Ouseley Commission to look at race issues in Bradford in 2001, and is a founding member of the University's Programme for a Peaceful City. 

In the News/Media

Telegraph and Argus 25th March 2009: We are failing too many young people

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