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Ann Towns


Ann Towns is associate professor in political science at the University of Gothenburg.

She received her PhD in political science, with a minor in feminist studies, at the University of Minnesota in 2004. She was then awarded a Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant from the European Commission for a post-doc at the University of Gothenburg, worked as assistant professor in political science and international relations at the University of Delaware and as assistant professor in political science at University West, Sweden. In 2013, she was awarded a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Towns is associate editor of International Studies Quarterly and a member of the editorial boards of Cambridge Studies in Gender and Politics, International Studies Review, Politics and Internasjonal Politikk.

Research interests

• Norms, social hierarchies and gender in international politics
• Discourses of civilization in international politics
• Diplomacy and gender
• National identity / nationalism, gender and cultural diversity

Ongoing Research

Towns’ research centers around questions of norms, power and resistance in international politics, generally with a focus on gender. She is currently conducting a large research project on gender norms in diplomacy, an inter-state institution that has long been dominated by men but where more women have entered within the past decade. What does the encounter between these women and male-dominated diplomacy look like? Is diplomacy characterized by gender norms? To what extent and how do women resist (or make use of) gender norms, given the restrictions of diplomatic code? The research is financed 2014-2019 by a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship and a grant from the Swedish Research Council. Towns has recruited assistant professor Birgitta Niklasson into the project and is starting collaborations on the topic of gender and diplomacy with scholars around the world.

Towns continues to write on international social hierarchies and on gender and corruption.


• International politics
• Gender and politics
• Qualitative methods
• Advisement of theses at the senior and master levels

Towns has supervised two PhD-students to completion of their dissertations: Angela Wolfe (main adviser, University of Delaware, defense 2012) and Joshua Martineau (main adviser, University of Delaware, defense 2014). She is currently supervising two PhD-students: Atnreakn Alleyne (main adviser, University of Delaware) and Karin Persson Strömbäck (secondary adviser, Gothenburg university).


Towns is the author of Women and States: Norms and Hierarchies in International Society (2010, Cambridge University Press). Her research has also appeared in International Organization, European Journal of International Relations, Millennium, Party Politics, NORA, Cooperation & Conflict and Women & Politics, etc. She has also contributed to a number of edited volumes and, recently, to the Oxford Handbook of Feminist Theory.

For a complete list of publications, see Towns’ CV.


Contact Information


Room B506,

+46 (0)31 786 1153

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