School of Social and Political Science

Suvi Lensu

Job Title

PhD title: Women’s Livelihoods in African Borderlands

Suvi Lensu's photo

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Research interests

Research interests

Gender and Sexuality, Social Anthropology, Visual Anthropology, Borderlands, Women's livelihoods, Cosmopolitanism, Feminist Research, Sex Work, LGBTQ, Rwanda, East Africa, Latin America


I am a PhD candidate in African Studies and Social Anthropology and simultaneously part of the ANTHUSIA research project. By drawing from feminist anthropologist methods, I examine the feminisation of the informal economy in the East African borderlands. I am also a writer, editor and digital content producer at AntroBlogi, a Finnish language anthropological online journal.

2018-Present   University of Edinburgh and Aarhus University — PhD Anthropology and African Studies
2013-2015   Stockholm University — MA Latin American Studies
2009-2012   SOAS, London University — BA Development Studies and African Studies

PhD Title:

Women’s Livelihoods in African Borderlands

Research Description:

My research examines gendered informal economy in East African borderlands. Based on 12 months’ ethnographic fieldwork (conducted in the year 2019) I study how Rwandan women and transwomen use international frontiers for their benefit – to gain economic profit and social and cultural independence  – and to what extent do the (re)produced gendered roles, attitudes, representations and norms play in the access to livelihoods and societal agency.

This PhD forms part of the ANTHUSIA project - a multi-disciplinary research project in the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa conducted by a consortium of four universities in Aarhus (Denmark), Edinburgh (United Kingdom), Leuven (Belgium) and Oslo (Norway).

It has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 764546 and will train 16 Early Stage Researchers.


Professor Paul Nugent (University of Edinburgh) and Dr Heather Anne Swanson (Aarhus University)