Professor Ann Varley
Professor of Human Geography
Convenor of UCL Gender & Sexuality Studies
Department of Geography
UCL (University College London
26 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 5519
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 7565
Ann Varley holds a double first class honours degree in Geography from the University of Oxford. She first came to UCL as a research student; her doctoral thesis on illegal housing development in Mexico City won the British-Mexican Society Postgraduate Prize. She worked on an Overseas Development Administration-funded research project on rental and shared housing in Mexico before being appointed as lecturer in the Department of Geography.
Ann has a broad range of research and publication interests – from disasters to property titles and from ageing to family law – but her work has focused consistently on urban Mexico and Latin America and revolves around the central theme of housing and the home. She has co-authored or edited four books, the latest of which, Decoding Gender (edited with Helga Baitenmann and Victoria Chenaut) was published by Rutgers University Press in 2007; a revised and translated version was published in 2010 by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México with the support of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM.
Ann was Christensen Fellow at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and was awarded an individual residency at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center in Bellagio, Italy, in 2003. She was one of the first recipients of the new University of London Research Fellowship, enabling her to spend several months at the Institute for the Study of the Americas in 2007. She is a member of the ESRC's Peer Review College and the advisory panel of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK, and has reviewed research proposals for the Research Council of Norway.
In 2010 Ann was awarded the Busk Medal, one of the senior awards of the Royal Geographical Society, for her field work in Mexico. She received the Medal from the Society's President, Michael Palin (photo).
In Denmark, Ann has been visiting lecturer in the Department of Geography, University of Copenhagen, and the Department of International Development Studies, University of Roskilde. She has worked with the Department of Geography at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim and has also been a visiting lecturer in the Graduate School and Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Architecture and Design, American University of Beirut, Lebanon.
Invitations to speak at events overseas have taken her to Mexico (CIESAS-Occidente, El Colegio de México, El Colegio de Puebla, Instituto Mora, UAM-Azcapotzalco, UAM-Xochimilco, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad de Guadalajara and at the 5th National Congress of Urban Land, Tijuana), Brazil, the USA (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, MIT, Northwestern University, University of California San Diego, University of Florida, University of Texas at Austin, and Yale University), Canada (York University), Denmark, France, Spain (the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Oñati), Lesotho, Lebanon and Egypt.
Wherever possible, Ann publishes her work in Spanish as well as English. Her book Illegal Cities (co-edited with Edésio Fernandes) was translated and published in Bolivia by the Programa de Capacitación para el Mejoramiento Socio-Habitacional as Ciudades Ilegales. She has translated contributions by researchers from Mexico, Brazil and Venezuela to Illegal Cities and Decoding Gender.
Education and professional history:
- 2014 First social scientist appointed as convenor of UCL Gender Studies
- 2010 Royal Geographical Society Busk Medal winner
- 2009- Professor of Human Geography, UCL
- 1999-2009 Reader in Geography, UCL
- 1986-1999 Lecturer in Geography, UCL
- 1985-1986 Research Officer, Department of Geography, UCL
- 1985 PhD Ya somos dueños: ejido land development and regularisation in Mexico City, UCL
- 1980 BA (Hons) in Geography, First Class, University of Oxford
- 1978 First class Honour Moderations and College Exhibition, St. Hilda’s College, Oxford
- 1977 Coal Industries’ Social Welfare Organisation University Scholarship
Professional and other bodies:
- 2015- Advisory panel, Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK
- 2014 - Research proposal assessor, Norwegian Research Council
- 2013- Co-editor, Bulletin of Latin American Research
- 2013 Research proposal assessor, Russian Federation Ministry of Education and Science
- 2010- Member, ESRC Peer Review College
- 1999-2001 Secretary, Developing Areas Research Group, RGS-IBG
- 1988-1999 Council, British-Mexican Society
- 1987-1994 Membership Secretary, Society for Latin American Studies
- 1983-1985 Women and Housing Advisory Group, London Borough of Camden
- 2015 'Home and belonging: reflections from urban Mexico' in C. Klaufus and A. Ouweneel (eds) Housing and Belonging in Latin America, Berghahn.
- 2015 'At home in the city? Gender and urban poverty', in A. Coles, L. Gray and J. Momsen (eds) The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development, Routledge.
- 2014 'Gender, families and households', in V. Desai and R. Potter (eds) The Companion to Development Studies, Revised ed., Routledge.
- 2013 'Feminist perspectives on urban poverty: de-essentialising difference', in L. Peake and M. Rieker (eds) Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban, Routledge.
- 2013 'Feminism's pale shadows: older women, gender and development', in S.M. Bamford and J. Watson (eds) A compendium of essays: has the sisterhood forgotten older women? International Longevity Centre-UK. Available at: http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/has_the_sisterhood_forgotten_older_women
- 2013 'Postcolonialising informality?' Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(1) 4-22. Earlier version available at: http://www.n-aerus.net/web/sat/workshops/2010/pdf/PAPER_varley_a.pdf
- 2010 'La domesticación del derecho', in H. Baitenmann, V. Chenaut and A. Varley (eds) Los códigos del género: Prácticas del derecho en el México contemporáneo, Programa Universitario de Estudios de Género, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM.
- 2010 Los códigos del género: Prácticas del derecho en el México contemporáneo, Programa Universitario de Estudios de Género, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and United Nations Development Fund for Women, UNIFEM. (Revised edition translated by Lucrecia Orensanz. Edited with Helga Baitenmann and Victoria Chenaut).
- 2010 'Modest expectations: gender and property in urban Mexico' Law and Society Review 44, 1, 67-99.
- 2008 'A place like this? Stories of dementia, home and the self' Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26, 1, 47-67.
- 2007 , Rutgers University Press (Edited book. With Helga Baitenmann and Victoria Chenaut).
- 2007 'Domesticating the law', in H. Baitenmann, V. Chenaut and A. Varley (eds) Decoding Gender: Law and Practice in Contemporary Mexico, Rutgers University Press.
- 2007 'Gender and property formalization: conventional and alternative approaches', World Development, 35, 10, 1739-53.
- 2007 'Law and gender in Mexico: defining the field', in H. Baitenmann, V. Chenaut and A. Varley (eds) Decoding Gender: Law and Practice in Contemporary Mexico, Rutgers University Press (with Helga Baitenmann and Victoria Chenaut)
- 2004 Ciudades ilegales: la ley y el urbanismo en países en vías de desarrollo, Programa de Capacitación para el Mejoramiento Socio Habitacional (PROMESHA) (Edited book. With Edésio Fernandes).
- 2004 'Geographies of home', Cultural Geographies, 11, 1, 3-6 (with Alison Blunt).
- 2003 ‘Older women's living arrangements and family relationships in urban Mexico ', Women's Studies International Forum , 26, 6, 525-39 (with Maribel Blasco).
- 2002 'Gender, families and households', in V. Desai and R. Potter (eds) The Arnold Companion to Development Studies, Edward Arnold.
- 2002 'Private to public: debating the meaning of tenure legalization', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 26, 3, 449-61.
- 2001 'Exiled to the home: masculinity and ageing in urban Mexico', European Journal of Development Research, 12, 2, 115-38 (with Maribel Blasco. Reprinted in C. Jackson (ed.) Men at Work: Labour, Masculinities, Development , Frank Cass)
- 2000 'Intact or in tatters? Family care of older women and men in urban Mexico' Gender and Development, 8, 2, 47-55 (with Maribel Blasco).
- 2000 'Women and the home in Mexican family law', in E. Dore and M. Molyneux (eds) The Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America, Duke University Press
- 1999 'A new model of urban land regularisation in Mexico? The role of opposition government', European Journal of Development Research, 11, 2, 235-61.
- 1999 , Pomegranate Press, Hassocks (with David Arscott)
- 1999 ‘The reconquest of the historic centre: urban conservation and gentrification in Puebla, Mexico', Environment and Planning A, 31, 9, 1547-66 (with Gareth Jones).
- 1998 , Zed Press (Edited book. With Edésio Fernandes)
- 1998 'Law, the city and citizenship in developing countries: an introduction', in E. Fernandes and A. Varley (eds) Illegal Cities: Law and Urban Change in Developing Countries, Zed Press (with Edésio Fernandes)
- 1998 'The political uses of illegality', in E. Fernandes and A. Varley (eds) Illegal Cities: Law and Urban Change in Developing Countries, Zed Press.
- 1996 'Delivering the goods: Solidarity, land regularisation and urban services', in R. Aitken, N. Craske, G.A. Jones and D. Stansfield (eds) , MacMillan.
- 1996 'Women heading households: some more equal than others?', World Development, 24, 3, 505-520.
- 1995 'Neither victims nor heroines: women, land and housing in urban Mexico', Third World Planning Review, 17, 2, 169-82.
- 1994 , John Wiley (Edited book).
- 1994 'Housing the household, holding the house', in G.A. Jones and P.M. Ward (eds) , UCL Press.
- 1994 'The exceptional and the everyday: vulnerability analysis in the International Decade for Natural Disaster Risk Reduction', in A. Varley (ed.) Disasters, Development and Environment, John Wiley.
- 1993 'Clientilism or technocracy? The politics of urban land regularization', in N. Harvey (ed.) , Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London and British Academic Press.
- 1993 'Gender and housing: the provision of accommodation for young adults in three Mexican cities', Habitat International, 17, 4, 13-30.
- 1991 , Routledge (with Alan Gilbert).
- 1990 'Renting a home in a third world city: choice or constraint?' International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 14, 1, 89-108 (with Alan Gilbert).
- 1990 'The Mexican landlord: rental housing in Guadalajara and Puebla' Urban Studies, 27, 1, 23-44 (with Alan Gilbert)
- 1987 'The relationship between tenure legalisation and housing improvements: evidence from Mexico City', Development and Change, 18, 3, 463-81.
Major research grants:
Gendered Housing: Identity and Independence in Urban Mexico ESRC (£124,646) Research officer: Dr Maribel Blasco (Associate Professor at Copenhagen Business School). ESRC evaluation: ‘outstanding’.
Ann has over 30 years’ experience of social research in urban Mexico, with particular emphasis on housing and land tenure, using household surveys, interviews, discussion groups and life histories. She produced a report on the impact of agrarian law reform on urban housing for the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development to mark Mexico's accession in 1994. She wrote an assessment of women’s role in self-help housing for UNIFEM and the Mexican government’s Social Development Secretariat, and contributed to a joint report by the Mexican agency Desarrollo Integral de la Familia and the University of Texas on socio-economic vulnerability among families in the Mexico-US border region. Her work on older people’s living arrangements in Mexico led to the award of an ESRC-funded CASE studentship with HelpAge International and that on land tenure formalisation has led to the award of a UCL Impact Award to support postgraduate research, co-sponsored by the Cambodian Development Resource Institute, CDRI. The translation of Illegal Cities was carried out by Promesha, a programme on housing issues in Latin America funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and that of Decoding Gender was supported financially by UNIFEM.
The meeting of three experts with interests in Latin America at a conference on disasters Ann organised for the Royal Geographical Society led to the formation of La Red de Estudios Sociales en Prevención de Desastres en América Latina.
Ann contributed an essay on 'Feminism's pale shadows' to a report published by the International Longenvity Centre-UK to mark International Women's Day 2013, asking Has the Sisterhood Forgotten Older Women? (see http://www.ilcuk.org.uk/index.php/publications/publication_details/has_the_sisterhood_forgotten_older_women).
Ann also uses her language skills in outreach activities. She translated a report on ‘Strategies for sustainable socio-economic development of the Doñana Region’ by the Comisión Internacional de Expertos sobre el Desarrollo del Entorno de Doñana (Spain), and is a volunteer translator for an international housing rights NGO. She is a member of the ESRC Peer Review College and a research proposal assessor for the Norwegian Research Council, as well as other UK and overseas research funders.
Since 2013 Ann has been co-editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research, the journal of the UK's Society for Latin American Studies. She is on the editorial board of Home Cultures and, in Mexico, Investigaciones Geográficas and Revista Sociológica.
A roof over their heads
The United Nations Global Campaign for Secure Tenure recognises that “securing tenure for the household does not necessarily secure tenure for women and children”. How should this insight be translated into practice?
In 2014, Ann was nominated for a Student Choice Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching.
1st year Writing and Analysis in Geography (convenor)
2nd year Geography of Global Poverty and Development (contributor); The Practice of Geography (contributor)
3rd year Gendered Geographies (convenor); Human Geography Dissertations (convenor)
Postgraduate Public and Private Modernities - module shared with UCL’s interdisciplinary (convenor)
Postgraduate - Social Research Methods and Methodologies (contributor)
Postgraduate - Cities, Space and Power, M.Sc. in Urban Studies (contributor)
Postgraduate - Convenor,
Postgraduate - Core Course, M.A. in Gender, Society and Representation (convenor/contributor)
Postgraduate - Research Methods, M.A. in Gender, Society and Representation (convenor/contributor)
As the first social scientist to convene UCL Gender Studies, Ann proposed that it should be renamed to Gender & Sexuality Studies, with a view to working towards the creation of an MA in Sexualities to share part of the sylllabus with the MA in Gender, Society and Representation, and towards attracting more postgraduate researchers to work on sexualities themes. She will be working on these plans with the Director of UCL's LGBTQ+ research network over the next few years.
Current research students:
Global property rights and universal tenure security in Phnom Penh
Ben had been working for NGOs in Phnom Penh for two years when he received a UCL Impact Award studentship. The Impact Award partner is the Cambodian Development Resource Institute
Fatema Rouson Jahan
Gender, embodiment and agency: women factory workers in the garment industry of Bangladesh
Fatema is a lecturer in the Department of Women and Gender Studies in the University of Dhaka. She holds a Commonwealth Scholarship
Spaces of exclusion or sites of resistance: Hijra communities in Delhi
Ina holds a scholarship from the INLAKS foundation in India. She is a UCL Gender & Sexuality Studies research student, jointly supervised by Richard Mole (SSEES) and Ann.
Transforming gender, transforming spaces: exploring the experiences of people with transgender identities
Laura's research is funded by an ESRC 1+3 studentship. Jointly supervised by Ann and Ben Campkin, it focuses on the relationship between gender, sexuality and urban spaces
Lourdes Toledo Tapia
Social entrepreneurship, social value creation and women's wellbeing and empowerment in Mexico
Funded by CONACYT, Lourdes did her first degree at the Tec de Monterrey, Mexico, followed by an MA in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She works with student social enterprise society Enactus.
Leaving empty home(s) behind: the aftermath of the Spanish building boom
David works for London-based homelessness charity Thames Reach. His research focuses on the meaning of 'home' in a country that has experienced a flood of evictions following an unprecedented building boom.
Out of Soho, back into the closet - re-thinking London's gay community
Marco is a Gender Studies PhD student, supervised by James Agar, with Ann as his second supervisor. His research looks at the role of Soho in processes of identity- and community-making for gay men.
Women's weddings in Zanzibar: negotiating identities in a cosmopolitan society
Kate is working with Ben Page in Geography, with Ann as her second supervisor
Social, economic and physical dimensions of displacement, shelter and housing in crisis
A senior technical advisor with UN-HABITAT Haiti, Maggie is studying with John Twigg of UCL's Centre for Urban Sustainability and Resilience. Ann is her second supervisor.
The significance of public and private spaces for Lithuania’s LGBTQ population
Rasa’s studied Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths after a first degree in Psychology and Education in Lithuania. She is supervised by Richard Mole at SSEES, with Ann as her second supervisor
External research student:
Lourdes Marcela López Mares
Social interest housing in San Luis Potosí, Mexico
Center for Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Former research students:
Negotiating gender: women and emergency employment in Peru
Nina is Professor of Development and the Environment, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
José Francisco Bernardino Freitas
Townscape and local culture: the use of streets in low-income residential areas in Vitória, Brazil
Chico is an architect and lecturer in the Architecture and Urban Planning Department, Universidade Federal de Espírito Santo, Vitória.
Gender, migration and the household: a case study of Guadalajara, Mexico
Liz is now a publisher with Financial Times Prentice Hall, Pearson Education.
Lived experiences of empowerment: a case study of a vocational training programme for women in Bangladesh
After completing her PhD, Tanja became Christian Aid’s Country Representative in Bangladesh. She is now CAFOD's gender adviser.
Re-placing home: displacement and resettlement in India’s Narmada Valley Dam Project
Kuheli is now Regneration Manager at the Homes and Communities Agency.
Livelihood strategies in old age: older people and poverty in urban Bolivia
The holder of an ESRC CASE award with HelpAge International, Emmy now works in the Policy and Research Division, Department for International Development.
Decentralised disaster management: local governance, institutional learning and reducing risk from hurricanes in the Yucatán peninsula, Mexico
Emily is a Research Fellow in Climate Change Adapatation at the Overseas Development Institute. She has worked for El Colegio de México and the Benfield UCL Hazard Research Centre.