Virginia Tech™home


Please Note: The remainder of the Women and Gender in International Development Discussion Series has been cancelled for the Spring semester 2020. We will be rescheduling in the Fall. Please check back for more announcements on the Discussion Series. 

Spring 2020 Speaker Series


February 13, 2020 - Dr. Rebecca J. Williams

Assistant Research Scientist, Human and Institutional Capacity Development
Officer for Global Research Engagement & Livestock Systems Innovation Lab

Gendered performances, masculinities, and (dis)empowerment through the intersection of food insecurity, migration, and violence in rural Honduras

Dr. Rebecca J. (Becky) Williams’ research has two primary focuses including the connections between climate change, violence, and migration; and gender and participatory development with a focus on natural resources and indigenous communities. Dr. Williams is an Assistant Research Scientist with the Office for Global Research Engagement and the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems at the University of Florida. Dr. Williams also teaches as adjunct faculty in the Center for Latin American Studies and frequently guest lectures in the Master of Sustainable Development Practice program. Dr. Williams holds an M.S. from Florida State University in Instructional Systems Design and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida in Interdisciplinary Ecology with a focus on Tropical Conservation and Development.


Fall 2019 Speaker Series


September 12, 2019 - Dr. Andrea Baldwin

Assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech.

Caribbean Women and Reparatory Justice: Reclaiming, Rebuilding and restoring Communities Through Migration

Andrea N. Baldwin is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech.  She is an attorney-at-law who also holds a MSc. in International trade policy and a PhD in Gender and Development Studies. Dr. Baldwin has several publications including her most recent work published last November entitled “Moving Forward and Looking Back: Transnational Feminist Spaces - Margins, Methods and Modalities”, in Outside In: Voices from the Margins of Academe.  Dr. Baldwin was born and raised on the small Caribbean island state of Barbados and considers herself an all-around Caribbean woman who loves everything coconut and soca.

October 17, 2019 - Dr. Bikrum Singh Gill

Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Core faculty, Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) at Virginia Tech.

Indigeneity in Exile: The significance of food sovereignty for displaced Palestinians 

Bikrum Singh Gill is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Core Faculty, Alliance for Social Political, Ethical and Cultural Thought.  His research interests are generally situated at the intersection of international political economy, political ecology, agrarian studies, decolonial studies, critical race theory, and global history. Dr. Gill has published on the impacts of the global food system on indigenous peoples, including an article titled “Can the River Speak? Epistemological Confrontation in the Rise and Fall of the Land Grab in Gambella, Ethiopia” in the journal Environment and Planning ‘A.’  In addition to ongoing research on the intersection of colonialism and the climate crisis, Dr. Gill is currently part of a SSHRC funded documentary film project titled Four Stories on Food Sovereignty.

October 21, 2019 - Dr. Rose Mwonya

Professor and Vice Chancellor. Department of Applied Community Development Studies and Faculty of Education and Community Science. Founding Director of the Institute of Gender and Women Development Studies. Egerton University, Kenya

Lessons from Kenya and Beyond: A Reflection on Building the Gender, Women and Development Studies Program at Egerton University

Rose Mwonya is a Professor and Vice Chancellor at Egerton University of Kenya. She is with the Department of Applied Community Development Studies and faculty of Education and Community Studies. In the 28 years she has been at the institution, she has held various positions, among them founding director of the Institute of Gender and Women Development Studies and also chairperson of the Department of Agriculture and Home Economics. Dr. Mwonya holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture at the Iowa State University and a MSc and PhD in Home Economics Education from the same institution. During her career she has been involved in HIV/ AIDS, gender awareness, and Women Studies projects. She has several publications and more than 50 presentations in seminars, conferences and workshops. Dr. Mwonya is a current member of the African Leaders in Agriculture and Environmental Association, the American and African Home Economics Associations, and the Nutrition Association of Kenya. 

November 14, 2019 - Pallavi Raonka

Pallavi Raonka is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Virginia Tech.

Munda, Land, and Gender- Understanding Indigeneity in the Neoliberal Jharkhand, India

Pallavi Raonka is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of sociology. Her research interests are resource extraction, land-grabbing, indigenous communities, peasant livelihoods, gender, development and social movements in India. She has also been engaging in advocacy work on the issues related to food security with several subaltern grassroots groups specifically, Adivasi and Dalit communities in rural India.  Her Ph.D. dissertation analyzes forms of resistance engaged in by Adivasis in response to corporate land grabs, specifically in conflict-hit states of India and the red corridor, specifically Jharkhand. Before joining Virginia Tech, she graduated with a Master in Rural Development from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India.