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Official Fellow Dr Lena Holzer awarded 2023 Prix Senior Maurice Chalumeau for best PhD thesis addressing issues of sexuality in Switzerland

Dr Lena Holzer accepting the 2023 Prix Senior Maurice Chalumeau prize

Official Fellow, Dr Lena Holzer, has been awarded the 2023 Prix Senior Maurice Chalumeau from the Centre Maurice Chalumeau of Social Sciences of the University of Geneva. The award is bestowed upon the best PhD thesis addressing issues of sexuality in Switzerland.


Dr Lena HolzerDr Holzer is an Assistant Professor in Gender, Race, and the Law at the University of Cambridge's Law Faculty and Sheila Lesley Fellow at Girton College. She received her PhD in International Law, with a minor in International Relations, from the Geneva Graduate Institute.

The awarded PhD thesis, titled The Binary Gendering of Individuals in International Law: A Plurality of Assembled Norms and Productive Powers of the Legal Registration of Gender, explores the role of international law in shaping gender as a legal identity assigned to individuals at birth. It employs a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on queer-feminist theories and assemblage theory as methodological tools. The thesis concludes that the attribution of legal gender has played a role in state-building processes and has facilitated the codification of hetero-patriarchy and cisnormativity. By demonstrating how international law has shaped the construction of the gender binary in social and legal relations, the thesis helps to denaturalise the gender binary and contemplates ways to make the law more inclusive of all people’s experiences of gender.

Dr Holzer said:“I am honoured to have received the 2023 Prix Senior Maurice Chalumeau. The opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary legal research that resonates across academic communities has been both a privilege and a source of great satisfaction. I would like to thank the Scientific Committee of the Maurice Chalumeau Centre for valuing my work and I am deeply appreciative of the guidance and support provided by my two PhD supervisors, Professor Elisabeth Prügl and Professor Paola Gaeta.”

More information on the award can be found on the University of Geneva website.