Gender and Sexuality in Poland - Feminist and Queer Approaches

   School of Applied Sciences

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Roberto Kulpa  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The aim of this PhD project is to explore gender and sexuality in Poland, drawing on feminist/queer perspectives.

Grounded in critical epistemologies and interdisciplinary approaches (e.g. sociology, human geography, anthropology, cultural studies, epistemology, art history, activism, history, etc.) and drawing on your chosen cases, the project will push new understandings of how gender and sexuality function in Polish culture (broadly understood through prisms of e.g. society, economics, politics, etc.).

Giving attention to the Polish contexts, on which personal and communal forms of intimacies, relations, politics are lived and mobilised on a micro/meso/macro scales – your PhD project will grapple with contemporary changes we observe in various domains of life. Specific focus of the project is yours to define according to your interests, and comparative research looking at Poland and other ‘locations’ is welcomed.

Your project can include research around Poland and contemporary intimacies, ‘sexual citizenship’, and mobilisations for greater gendered/ racial/ sexual social justice against raising xenophobic ‘anti-gender’ populisms. The applicant and their initial ‘Expression of Interests’ may wish to address selected following issues, but will not be confined to them.

Indeed, the supervisor counts on the creative, imaginative, and individual ideas to be crafted and honed, capturing interests and fascinations of the applicant. Considerations can be given to:

  • representations and manifold forms of power organising and impacting everyday lives; knowledge production about them; cultural translation;
  • overlooked practices and strategies of living ‘liveable lives’ by non-conforming individuals and groups; intimacies;
  • institutionalisation, politicisation, and coercion of genders/sexualities for national(ist) and populist projects; ‘anti-gender’ mobilisations; 
  • recuperating ‘resilience’ beyond abusive, neoliberal individualist paradigms; forms of queer resistance, fighting, and social activism; queer commons and communing for social justice.

Recent decade in queer studies has seen particular attention to epistemological myopic, too narrowly focused on the ‘Western’ geo-cultural and temporal loci, offering important interventions and questioning this stale status quo. We see proliferation of queer studies scholarship that not only examines the ‘Other regions’ but also draws on knowledge(s) and practices that are overlooked or, indeed, unrecognised within the scholarly legacies of the Enlightenment, coloniality, and cultural hegemonies of the ‘West’.

Theoretically, therefore, your PhD project will nest in the broad fields of queer, gender, sexuality, trans, feminist- studies that draw on critical epistemological interventions inspired by critical post-socialist, post-colonial, decolonial, post-humanist and other geo-politically-minded debates questioning orientalist and occidentalist ‘knowledge formations’.

Methodologically, you will draw on feminist-inspired, reflective practices mobilising your existing experiences and previous work (be it academic, or activist, or other), from the diverse pool of qualitative and mixed-method approaches. The PhD candidate will craft their own methodological toolbox that best addresses research objectives, and creative methodological designs are encouraged.

Successful applicants will work under the supervision of Dr Roberto Kulpa ( at the Edinburgh Napier University, UK. Based in Edinburgh, you will become part of the exciting, intellectual community of Scotland’s capital, forging inter-university links and life-long connections with other researchers.

This is three years long, fully funded (UK/EU/International fees and living stipend, support with visa), full-time scholarship and unfortunately due to funding conditions we are not able to accept part-time applications.

Academic qualifications

A UK first degree (at least a 2.1) or an international equivalent, ideally in social sciences and humanities, or with a good fundamental knowledge of topics related to gender and sexuality, social justice and (in)equalities, and other relevant issues.

English language requirement

IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.

Essential attributes:

  • This project is about gender & sexuality in Poland thus good knowledge of Polish language is needed to successfully complete the fieldwork.
  • Competent in qualitative research methodologies and critical epistemologies to develop and complete an individual PhD-level research programme.
  • Interest in feminist, lesbian and gay activisms; emerging trans* activisms and scholarship; inter-sectorial and inter-disciplinary queer approaches to understanding social change, cultural fabric, and historical continuum of non-normative formations in Poland is essential.
  • Willingness to engage with academic theories, intellectual perspectives, other forms of knowledges and epistemologies that question and thus ameliorate, the dominant scholarly ‘canons’ of social sciences and humanities.
  • Shared values of intersectional queer feminisms, non-occidentalist drive towards social justice and meaningful, liveable lives for all. 
  • Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project, incl. ability for systematic, independent work and effective time management.

Desirable attributes:

Critical and questioning approach; socially engaged and opinionated attitude; love of books and reading; non-acceptance of social injustice; curious and inquisitive mind; keen discussant and attentive, mindful listener; self-motivation and independent personality; and finally – rebellious, when the time comes…

DEADLINE is 30 November 2022, 16:00 (GMT). Please quote the application reference SAS0174 on your form. Interviews will take place after the deadline, with successful applicant expected to start in March 2023. Potential candidates are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Roberto Kulpa about their interests and ideas before submitting the application.


  • Completed online application form on the Edinburgh Napier University website
  • CV
  • Expression of Interests (see below)
  • 2 references, using the Postgraduate Educational Reference Form (found on the application process page)

An Expression of Interests must consist of the following (please use clear sub-headings):

  • Research idea/focus/objectives that you would like to pursue (no more than 450 words).
  • Theoretical and methodological approaches (e.g. Schools, writings, writers, tools and methods) with which you might/ would like to engage (no more than 300 words).
  • Self-reflective account of why you want to pursue a doctorate, and how the supervisor (Dr Kulpa) can help you (max. 300 words).
  • Please note: EoI is not a full PhD research proposal, and there are no expectations of having one at this stage. EoI serves as a selection tool to invite chosen candidates for the interviews. We understand the ideas at this stage will be in the nascent form and thus don’t expect a full proposal.
Anthropology (2) Communication & Media Studies (7) Creative Arts & Design (9) Geography (17) History & Archaeology (19) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32)

Funding Notes

This is fully funded PhD Scholarship (UK/EU/International fees and a living stipend) offered by the Edinburgh Napier University. All students worldwide are welcome to apply.


Ahmed, S., 2010. The Promise of Happiness. Duke University Press, Durham.
Aldrich, R., 2003. Colonialism and Homosexuality. Routledge, London.
Binnie, J., 2004. The Globalization of Sexuality. SAGE, London.
Bhambra, G.K., 2014. Postcolonial and Decolonial Dialogues. Postcolonial Studies 17, 115–121.
Brown, G., Browne, K. (Eds.), 2016. The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities. Routledge, London.
Dhawan, N., Engel, A., Holzhey, C.H.E., Woltersdorff, V. (Eds.), 2015. Global Justice and Desire: Queering Economy. Routledge, London.
Drucker, P., 2015. Warped: Gay Normality and Queer Anti-Capitalism. Brill, Leiden.
Kuhar, R., Paternotte, D. (Eds.), 2017. Anti-Gender Campaigns in Europe: Mobilizing Against Equality. Rowman & Littlefield, London.
Kulpa, R. (2022). Dangerous Liaisons: Neoliberal Tropes of the ‘Normal’ and ‘Middle-Class Respectability’ in the Post-socialist LG(BT) Activism. In: Mapping LGBTQ Spaces and Places. A Changing World. Eds. M. Blidon & S. D. Brunn. Cham: Springer.
Kulpa, R., Mizielińska, J. (Eds.), 2011. De-Centring Western Sexualities: Central and Eastern European Perspectives. Ashgate, Farnham.
Kulpa, R., Silva, J.M., 2016. Decolonizing Queer Epistemologies: Section Introduction, in: Brown, G., Browne, K. (Eds.), The Routledge Research Companion to Geographies of Sex and Sexualities. Routledge, London, pp. 13–142.
Padilla, M. (Ed.), 2007. Love and Globalization: Transformations of Intimacy in the Contemporary World. Vanderbilt University Press, Nashville.
Sabsay, L., 2013. Queering the Politics of Global Sexual Rights? Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13, 80–90.
Santos, B. de Sousa., 2007. Another Knowledge Is Possible: Beyond Northern Epistemologies. Verso, London.
Stanley, E., 2018. The Affective Commons: Gay Shame, Queer Hate, and Other Collective Feelings. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 24, 489–508.
The Care Collective, 2020. The Care Manifesto. The Politics of Interdependence – The Politics of Compassion. Verso Books, London.
Tlostanova, M.V., Mignolo, W.D., 2009. Global Coloniality and the Decolonial Option. Kult: A Journal About Postcolonial Denmark 6, 130–147.
Wiedlack, K., Shoshanova, S., Godovannaya, M. (Eds.), 2019. Queer-Feminist Solidarity and the East/West Divide. Peter Lang, Oxford.
(2022-2026) ‘RESIST. Fostering Queer Feminist Intersectional Resistances against Transnational Anti-Gender Politics’ (EU Horizon Europe grant no. 101060749),

How good is research at Edinburgh Napier University in Social Work and Social Policy?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.