- Associate Academic (Institute of Health and Wellbeing)
- Senior Lecturer (Sociology)
telephone: +44 (0)141 330 4049
School of SPS
Adam Smith Building
40 Bute Gardens
Current research focuses on issues of human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in international contexts, and developing the sociology of human rights. Postgraduate Research Convenor, Sociology. Updates via Twitter
Research interests: human rights and global sexual politics; sexualities; gender; sociological, political and cultural theory; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people; feminist and queer politics and theories; youth and childhood; activism, NGOs, social movements & citizenship; critical analysis in contexts of multi-dimensional inequalities. Interdisciplinary research has contributed to sociology, politics, law, socio-legal studies and history, engaging cultural theory.
A central concern is the contested relationship of the Commonwealth of Nations to sexual orientation and gender identity issues, in a context where the British Empire criminalised same-sex sexual behaviour, explored in the first book on the topic: Corinne Lennox and Matthew Waites, eds. (2013) Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change (published on a not-for-profit basis by School of Advanced Study, University of London, and available free online: http://events.sas.ac.uk/supportresearch/publications/989; for a short video introduction via Policy Scotland click here). The book has been developed in partnership with Institute of Commonwealth Studies, from a conference jointly convened by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; a Facebook site has been developed to assist international dissemination and facilitate feedback ['like' to follow updates: https://www.facebook.com/#!/HumanRightsSOGICommonwealth]. The book offers data on 54 Commonwealth states, with detailed discussion of 16 states by activists and academics - and comparative analysis - covering UK, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Uganda, Malawi, Botswana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas. It provides the most internationally extensive analysis to date of the global struggle for decriminalisation of same-sex sexual behaviour. The book also seeks (eg. in chapters by G. Kinsman on Canada and myself on United Kingdom) to document existing critical theoretical analyses of earlier decriminalisation struggles, and suggests their relevance to activism, politics and analysis in current global contexts.
The cover image is from the first Pride Uganda (2012) used with collaboration of Sexual Minorities Uganda, Freedom and Roam Uganda, Pride Uganda and i freedom Uganda; and the book includes two chapters on Uganda including by leading activist Adrian Jjuuko. To support Ugandan LGBT activists in their struggle against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (2014), donate online for example to FARUG.
Contributors include: Human Rights Watch (Alok Gupta with Scott Long); The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG; Frederick Cowell; Gary Kinsman; Graham Willett; Simon Obendorf; Shanon Shah; Sumit Baudh; Gustavo Gomes da Costa Santos; Monica Tabengwa; Nancy Nicol; Undule Mwakasungula (of Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation, Malawi); Adrian Jjuuko (of Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, Uganda); Kevin Ward; Joseph Gaskins Jr.; Conway Blake and Philip Dayle (who have worked with Human Dignity Trust); Dimitrina Petrova (of Equal Rights Trust). Following major international dissemination work, international organisations providing links to the book on their websites as a free resource include the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA-World), ILGA-Europe, Association for Women's Rights in Development, Commonwealth Writers and the Kaleidoscope Trust which describes it as 'highly recommended'. National organisations such Stonewall (UK) and RFSL (The Swedish Federation for LGBT Rights) have added links on websites and many others such as J-Flag in Jamaica, Boys of Bangladesh and Equal Ground in Sri Lanka, have shared the book via social media including Facebook and Twitter.
I am a publicly engaged sociologist who contributes to mainstream public debates, and also to activist/movement debates in counter-publics, as well as having published analyses of the public sphere, NGOs and movements in sexual politics. The UK book launch of Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in The Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change was hosted by Institute of Commonwealth Studies at Senate House in London on 5 July, with speakers including chapter authors Adrian Jjuuko on Uganda and Philip Dayle & Conway Blake on Jamaica (video of Matthew Waites' opening introduction to the book: http://www.sas.ac.uk/videos-and-podcasts/politics-development-human-rights/human-rights-sexual-orientation-gender-identit#.Uhkq7cJp1Kk.facebook). A Canadian book launch was held in Toronto on 26 June during Pride week, at the event 'Sexuality Repression and the Law' in partnership with the Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights project led from York University, involving chapter authors speaking on Botswana and Canada (videos by Prof. Nancy Nicol of Matthew Waites' opening presentation and all speakers: Part 1 http://vimeo.com/70217990 ; Part 2 http://vimeo.com/70371903 ; Part 3 http://vimeo.com/70417403). Further invited speaking engagements in Canada included at Department of Political Science, University of Guelph; on 'Sex City' on radio station CIUT; and at the Glad Day LGBTQ bookstore, Toronto. More recently the book's concluding comparative analysis was presented at the International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society bi-annual conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the UK I have engaged in discussion with UK government Minister Lynne Featherstone MP from Department for International Development, and Alistair Stewart, Assistant Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, at a fringe meeting of the Liberal Democrat Party conference on 'LGBT Rights Abroad and in the Commonwealth' - making suggestions about how to change the politics of LGBT human rights in the Commonwealth by bringing voices from the global South to the fore, as the book argues. Academic dissemination in the UK has included a paper at the British Sociological Association conference, an invited keynote for the BSA Postgraduate Forum, and an invited presentation commencing the University of Edinburgh's Sociology Seminar Series 2013/14. Contributing to Policy Scotland (video), I have discussed policy implications of the book internationally. The book's Scottish launch was held at the event 'The Family, Sexuality and Human Rights in Global Perspective', hosted by Glasgow Human Rights Network and Gender and Sexualities Forum at University of Glasgow on 23rd January 2014.
I am a member of the steering group for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games exhibition project of Equality Network, Scotland's leading LGBT equality and human rights organisation. Glasgow Human Rights Network is a partner and the project is supported by the Scottish Government. I'm also leading Glasgow Human Rights Network collaboration with Equality Network and Pride Glasgow on a conference focussed on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, to be held on 18 July at University of Glasgow to precede Pride Glasgow (19 July) and the Commonwealth Games (23rd July-3rd August).
The research on human rights in the Commonwealth developed from work concerning India. In January 2008 I was an invited faculty member lecturing at the Sexuality and Rights Alumni Institute, an advanced forum for sexual and reproductive rights practitioners from across India, organised in Khandala (near Pune) by CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment Action) and TARSHI (Talking About Reproductive and Sexual Health Issues). From this an analysis was developed of the groundbreaking 2009 Delhi High Court ruling which decriminalised adult same-sex sexual behaviour: 'Human Rights, sexual orientation and the generation of childhoods: analysing the partial decriminalisation of "unnatural offences" in India' (International Journal of Human Rights, Vol.14, no.6, November 2010). Following the Supreme Court's reversal of this decision on 11 Dec 2013, to oppose this I have been engaging with mainstream media in India and internationally, for example being quoted in The Times of India and the Wall Street Journal's live blog (12 December): 'India was one of very few examples of states having decriminalized same-sex behavior in the global south. It was a beacon. [...] Section 377 is a legacy of British colonialism'. Simultaneously I am participating in transnational activism via social media such as Twitter, in new ways partly made possible by the free online availability of the Commonwealth book; for example on the Global Day of Rage against Section 377 on 15th December 2013, links to this resource (including a chapter by Sumit Baudh on South Asia) and others (videos, press and journal articles etc) were directly offered to queer activists in India and internationally, via assistance from groups including 377 Global Day of Rage (@377gdr), Genderlog (@genderlogindia) and Delhiqueerpride (@delhiqueerpride), and BritishAsianLGBTI (@BritishAsianLGB). This is exciting particularly because the book is not only a source of comparative evidence on activist/movement strategies, it is also a medium for sharing sociology itself, including social movement theories and the sociology of human rights, and the critical theories of - for example - Foucault and Gramsci.
Relatedly over recent years I have been developing research on the sociology of human rights, associated with launching the British Sociological Association's Sociology of Rights Study Group, as Co-Convenor from 2009 (with Patricia Hynes, Michele Lamb and Damien Short). This work contributed to the institutionalisation of the sociology of rights through creation of a BSA conference stream addressing rights, a BSA Sociology of Rights study group wiki-website, co-organisation of workshops and co-editing of three special issues of journals: Sociology and Human Rights: New Engagements, special issue of International Journal of Human Rights in November 2010 (also published as a Routledge book, 2011); The Sociology of Human Rights, special issue of Sociology, October 2012; and New Directions in the Sociology of Human Rights, special issue of International Journal of Human Rights in 2012 (also published as a Routledge book, 2013; see 'Publications' for details). I have also contributed to British sociology on the Editorial Board of Sociology, journal of the British Sociological Assocation (2007-9), for example by proposing the expansion of the International Advisory Board to achieve improved global representation, especially from the global South. I am one of four founding members on the steering group of Glasgow Human Rights Network; and Associate of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at University of Glasgow.
An earlier book The Age of Consent: Young People, Sexuality and Citizenship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) has been cited in law reform debates in Canada as well as debated in the UK press, with earlier articles on this theme fed into a Home Office review of sex offences and appearing to influence the form of laws in England and Wales (cf. Chapter 8). Its proposals remain relevant to consider in current UK age of consent debates. The book was discussed by Professor Judith Butler in a Keynote Lecture at the Judith Butler Symposium (video) in Columbia Law School, New York, on 5 March 2010.
Developing future research will focus on deepening analysis of the global queer politics of human rights through further development of themes and theories in the sociology of human rights for that purpose.
This research agenda engages with the University of Glasgow's research aims focused on international excellence, and the internationalisation strategy. In particular there are opportunities for collaboration, for example as Postgraduate Research Convenor for Sociology I am conscious of these for PhD supervision (see 'Supervision'), via the Universitas 21 network of research universities of which University of Glasgow is a member; University of Glasgow is also a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
My work also contributes to research on LGBT and queer people's experiences in Scotland, for example through PhD supervision on issues such as transgender experience or LGBT psychological wellbeing and online experience in Scotland (see 'Supervision'); and by co-hosting and co-organising the second one-day seminar in the Economic and Social Research Council 'LGBT Lives' Seminar Series in Scotland, on the theme 'Place/Space - Global Local' (University of Glasgow, 12 May 2009, co-organised with Ian Rivers, Richard Ward, Kelly Kollman and Jeff Meek). I am a member of the Gender and Sexualities Forum for staff and postgraduate students based in School of Social and Political Sciences, and also participate in the Colonial and Postcolonial Discussion Group.
Please direct media enquiries initially to University of Glasgow Media Relations (tel. 0141 330 3535; email@example.com).
- Interviews include: BBC Radio 4 'The World at One' with Martha Kearney discussing Tom Daley, coming out and sexual or romantic identities (4 Dec 2013); CIUT radio station, 'Sex City', Toronto, Canada, discussing LGBT rights in the Commonwealth (25 June 2013); BBC Radio 5 Live interview with Kate Silverton discussing homophobia and hate crime (1 November 2009).
- Authored newspaper articles include: The Herald, on Nelson Mandela's role in gay liberation (7 Dec 2013); The Independent; New Law Journal.
- Quoted from interview by Wall Street Journal in 'India "Was a Beacon" for Gay Rights, Till Today' following India's Supreme Court ruling to re-criminalise same-sex acts as 'unnatural offences' (12 Dec 2013). Also quoted and discussed on this ruling on 12 December by The Times of India; Zee news; Sahara Samay; Business Standard; and World Latest News.
- Quotation/discussion in newspapers including: The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph, The West Australian, The Scottish Sunday Mirror.
- Quoted in National Children’s Bureau journal Children and Young People Now.
- Quoted and discussed on websites including The Sociological Cinema and Britske Lisky (in Czech Republic; 12 Dec 2013).
Postgraduate Research Convenor, Sociology:
I am responsible for receiving initial enquiries for PhD and MPhil research degrees in Sociology and Anthropology, please feel welcome to contact me via email or phone (above) if you are interested in discussing possible supervision or an application. All prospective applicants, please first read postgraduate research information on the Sociology website. See further information and links in the 'Supervision' section of my site, including links to current PhD student websites and Graduate School (tab above).
Recent and forthcoming conference and seminar presentations, and public speaking events:
17/18 January 2014: 'The Same-Sex Marriage effect in human rights politics in the Commonwealth', invited presentation at seminar From Civil Partnership to Gay Marriage 2004-2014: Interdisciplinary Reflections, co-hosted by Birkbeck Institute for Gender and Sexuality/Birkbeck School of Law/Kent Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Law. Birkbeck, University of London.
23 January 2014, 5.00-8.00pm: 'The Family, Sexuality and Human Rights in Global Perspective'. Joint book launch at University of Glasgow hosted by Glasgow Human Rights Network and Gender and Sexualities Forum, chaired by Vikki Turbine (Politics) with three speakers from School of Social and Political Sciences: Kelly Kollman, Politics (The Same-Sex Unions Revolution in Western Democracies); Roona Simpson, Sociology (Living Alone: Globalization, Identity and Belonging, co-authored with Lynn Jamieson); and Matthew Waites (Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth: Struggles for Decriminalisation and Change, co-edited by Corinne Lennox). Facebook site for this event.
11 February 2014, 5.00-6.30pm: 'International comparative perspectives on Russia' at 'LGBT equality and the geopolitics of human rights: insights from Russia', seminar of Gender and Sexualities Forum in association with Central and East European Studies and Glasgow Human Rights Network, University of Glasgow.
7 March, 12.00am-1.30pm Protest - LGBT Human Rights in Uganda and Nigeria, The Mound Precinct, Edinburgh - organised by Equality Network. Facebook event.
4 April 2014 Invited paper 'Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Commonwealth and Global Queer Politics', seminar 'Rights, Rules and Responses: LGBT Identity and the International', Centre for Global Constitutionalism, School of International Relations/Department of Philosophy, University of St Andrews.
28-30 May Orientations and Identities: Sexuality and Human Rights on the Global Stage - workshop (invitation only), Los Angeles, USA. Co-sponsored by Program on Global Health and Human Rights, Institute for Global Health, University of Southern California (USA); La Trobe University (Australia); Williams Institute, University of California Los Angeles (USA); and Occidental College (USA).
5 June 2014: Invited Opening Keynote 'The New Transnational Politics of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Decriminalisation and Human Rights', Sexual Causes: Sexuality and Collective Mobilization, International Symposium, Association Internationale des Sociologues de Langues Francaise (AISLF) GTO7, Universite de Lausanne, Switzerland.
13 June 2014: Invited Keynote 'The New Transnational Politics of LGBT Human Rights: Critical South/North Reorientations’, seminar, Cultural Significance of Place Interdisciplinary Research Group, University of Newcastle, 12.30-5.00pm.
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matthew-waites/39/57b/497 (existing contacts)
Postgraduate Research Convenor, Sociology
Responsibility for 40 PhD students in Sociology subject area, including annual progress reviews. Formerly also Director of Postgraduate Research, School of Social and Political Sciences (2010-11).
How to apply for a research degree in Sociology
Graduate School, College of Social Sciences - information on how to apply for PhD or MPhil, and funding opportunities.
ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, Scotland - University of Glasgow Sociology Pathway representative. http://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/pathways/sociology http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/postgraduateresearch/researchcouncilsukrcuk/esrc/esrcdtcpathways/
PhD and MPhil supervision information
I welcome approaches from individuals considering the possibility of a PhD or MPhil, who are seeking supervision. I have experience of supervision across a wide range of topics as indicated below, but particularly welcome applications related to my current research interests in sexuality, gender and/or human rights (see my research interests on 'Profile' page of this website). There are numerous staff working on these themes with whom the required team of two supervisors can be formed; on LGBTIA/queer issues and in our Gender and Sexuality Forum these notably include Dr. Kelly Kollman (Head of Politics/Senior Lecturer in Politics); Dr. Francesa Stella (Sociology) and Dr. Matt Dawson (Sociology).
The Universitas 21 global network of research universities, of which University of Glasgow is a member, includes several institutions in Commonwealth states and offers particular opportunities for joint or collaborative PhD supervision.
I will be glad to support suitable applicants for Commonwealth Scholarships to fund postgraduate research: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission. University of Glasgow is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
- External Examiner for Danny Beusch, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, 11th December 2008. Queering Nazism of Nazi Queers? A Sociological Study of an Online Gay Nazi Fetish Group.
- External Examiner for Robert Rhodes-Kubiak, School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds, 7 June 2013. Activist citizens: Social movement theory, citizenship and the development of LGBT activism in Serbia.
- Internal Examiner for Francesca Stella, Department of Central and Eastern European Studies, University of Glasgow, 11th November 2008. Lesbian identities and everyday space in contemporary urban Russia.
- Internal Examiner for Sarah Vernon, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences, University of Glasgow, 13th January 2010. The Private, The Public and The Pubic: Naked Power in Scotland.
PhD successful completions
- Christine Rivers Interrogating Pathology: An Exploration of Mental Distress and Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Identity. 2006. London South Bank University. Second supervisor; Prof. Janet Holland Director of Studies, and Prof. Jeffrey Weeks.
- Jen Birks Newspaper Campaigns, Publics and Politics. 2009. University of Glasgow. First supervisor Prof. Greg Philo; second supervisor M. Waites). Funded by Economic and Social Research Council, UK.
- Meghan Ferriter Changing the Game: Gender, Ethnicity and Age in Mediated Sport. 2011. University of Glasgow. First supervisor.
- Christian Holz The Public Spheres of Climate Change Advocacy Networks: An Ethnography of Climate Change Action International within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 2012. University of Glasgow. First supervisor. Funded by Economic and Social Research Council, UK.
- Carin Runciman, Mobilisation and Insurgent Citizenship of the Anti-Privatisation Forum in South Africa: An Ethnographic Study. 2012. University of Glasgow. Second supervisor with Prof. Satnam Virdee. Funded by University of Glasgow Postgraduate Scholarship.
- Lisa Curtice, Lessons for Inclusive Citizenship? Difference, Disability and Rights in the Lives of People with Learning Disabilities who have High Support Needs. 2010. University of Glasgow. Second supervisor with Prof. N. Watson.
Current PhD and MPhil students
- Sylvia Morgan, Ber-dashing the binary, dealing with difference: a study of transgender phenomena in Scotland. First supervisor, part-time, from 2009.
- Joseph Boyle, Human Rights and the End of Life Assistance Debate within the Scottish Context, selected for Economic and Social Research Council quota studentship by Sociology, commenced September 2010. Second supervisor.
- Jenny Speirs The Mental Health and Wellbeing of LGBT Young People Online. First Supervisor, from September 2011. School of Social and Political Sciences Scholarship.
- Andria Christofidou Male Dancer Identity in the Twenty-First Century: Dragging with Stereotypes? First supervisor, commenced September 2012.
- René Wolfstellar, The Order of Human Rights. Second supervisor (with Prof. Chris Thornhill), commenced September 2012.
- Lyle Christine Processes of Recovery from Problem Gambling: A Qualitative Exploration, PhD commenced Oct 2010, second supervisor from Nov. 2012. MPhil. Funded by Responsible Gambling Trust.
- Karen Cuthbert ‘Doing gender’ without sexuality: asexual masculinities and femininities, from September 2013. Funded by ESRC Sociology pathway, ESRC DTC Scotland.
For information on PhD students see: http://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/socialpolitical/research/currentpgrs/
A number of PhD students who I supervise participate in the Gender and Sexualities Forum for staff and postgraduate students.
Jenny Speirs and Andria Christofidou lead a Sexuality & Gender Reading Group for PhD students, in which other students I supervise also participate, which provides an informal environment to share and discuss ideas. For information contact J.Speirs.firstname.lastname@example.org or A.Christofidou.email@example.com .
René Wolfstellar participates in the postgraduate cluster of Glasgow Human Rights Network (for which I am a founder and on the steering committee): http://www.gla.ac.uk/research/az/glasgowhumanrightsnetwork/researchclusters/