Dr Holly Porter


Director of Studies

Holly Porter

College Roles

  • Director of Studies in History & Politics (Politics Parts IA & IB)
  • Director of Studies in Human, Social & Political Sciences (Politics & International Relations Part IIA, and Politics & Sociology Parts IIA & IIB)

University Roles

  • Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies
  • Director, MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies
  • Deputy Director, University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Email: hep44@cam.ac.uk

Holly Porter


Dr Holly Porter is Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and International Studies in the University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies. An anthropologist focusing on Africa, her work centres around issues of gender, sexualities, violence, and local notions of healing and justice after war—particularly in northern Uganda where she has lived for more than ten years. Previously, she has worked in South Sudan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, and Palestine in the fields of access to justice, gender-based violence, transitional justice, peacebuilding and human rights. Prior to coming to Cambridge, she has held positions at the London School of Economics where she also received her PhD, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Antwerp and Gent University. Her first book, After rape: violence justice and social harmony in Uganda, published by Cambridge University Press, was a finalist for the 2018 Herskovitz Book Prize.

Dr Porter directs the MPhil and teaches for the MPhil and PhD in Multi-disciplinary Gender Studies including: Gender Theory, Controversy and Methodology; Multi-disciplinary Text Seminar; Multi-disciplinary Gender Research Seminar. She also teaches POL17, Politics and Gender.

Research Interests

Dr Porter’s current research is best summarized by the working title of her second book in-progress: Sex, Love and War: Intimate relations in a violent world. It looks at the wider context of intimate gender relationships in northern Uganda and how war serves variously to continue, exaggerate and/or rupture ‘normal’ social and gendered ordering in society. In one article stemming from this work, ‘Moral Spaces and Sexual Transgression’, (2019) Dr Porter looks at the construction of moral spaces (village, camp, bush, town, and home) and how the logics and sexual norms in each help explain sexual violence. In another, ‘Moving Toward Home: Love and relationships in the aftermath of war and displacement (2020), looks at intimate relationships during displacement and return. It argues for a shift in conceptualizing marriage as primarily processual–a key tenet of Africanist anthropology—suggesting instead a view of marriage as movement.