Ann Towns


Department of Political Science
Visiting address
Sprängkullsgatan 19
41123 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 711
40530 Göteborg

About Ann Towns


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

She received a PhD in political science, with a minor in feminist studies, at the University of Minnesota in 2004. In 2013, she was awarded a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. She has been visiting scholar at Georgetown University 2017-2018 and the University in Oslo 2017-2019.

Towns’ research has been honored with a number of awards from the American Political Science Association and the International Studies Association. The latest of these was a Bertha Lutz Award (Diplomatic Studies Section) of the International Studies Association, 2018, for her research on diplomacy.

Research interests

• Diplomacy and gender • Hierarchies, order and norms in international politics • Discourses of civilization in international politics • National identity / nationalism, gender and cultural diversity

Ongoing Research

Towns’ research pivots around questions of norms, hierarchies and resistance in international politics, generally with a focus on gender. She currently runs the research program GenDip on gender norms, gendered practices and hierarchies in diplomacy, an inter-state institution that has long been dominated by men but where more women have entered in the past decade. What does the encounter between these women and male-dominated diplomacy look like? In what ways are diplomatic interactions, norms and institutions gendered, and how do international and gender hierarchies intersect in diplomacy? To what extent and how do diplomats resist (or make use of) gender norms, given the restrictions of diplomatic code? GenDip also consists of a formal network that ties together diplomacy scholars from around the world.

Her research is financed 2014-2021 by a Wallenberg Academy Fellowship and a grant from the Swedish Research Council. Towns has recruited associate professor Birgitta Niklasson for a study on gender in the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in a comparative perspective and Katarzyna Jezierska (associate professor, University West) for a study of how diplomats manage the feminist foreign policy in Poland and Hungary, contexts where opposition to feminism and gender perspectives is considerable. Both of these projects are funded by grants from the Swedish Research Council.

Towns continues to write on international social hierarchies.


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

Towns has supervised three PhD-students to completion of their dissertations: Angela Wolfe (main adviser, University of Delaware, defense 2012), Joshua Martineau (main adviser, University of Delaware, defense 2014) and Anne-Kathrin Kreft (main adviser, University of Gothenburg, defense 2018).


Towns is editor of Gendering Diplomacy and International Negotiation (with Karin Aggestam, 2018, Palgrave) and author of Women and States: Norms and Hierarchies in International Society (2010, Cambridge University Press). Her research has also appeared in journals such as International Organization, European Journal of International Relations, Millennium, Party Politics, NORA, Cooperation & Conflict and Women & Politics. She has also contributed to a number of edited volumes and handbooks.

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