Jan 7 2020

Sylvia Chant, 24 December 1958 – 18 December 2019

Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant

Sylvia Chant, Professor of Development Geography, who has died at the age of 60, was a world-leading feminist geographer who fundamentally shaped the field of gender and international development. She was a pioneering and passionate advocate of the need to recognise women’s roles in international development which she argued in various ways in her 18 authored or edited books and over 150 papers. Beginning with Women in the Third World (1989) (with Lynne Brydon), this book was the first of its kind arguing for the importance of analysing women’s roles in rural and urban areas of the developing world. Sylvia went on to develop ground-breaking conceptual, empirical and policy-engaged work on the gendered nature of poverty, inequalities and urbanisation, all based on meticulous fieldwork and a deep feminist commitment to the transformative power of research. She was also a dedicated teacher whose kindness, generosity and vision have left a deep and lasting legacy within and beyond the academy, and far and wide globally.

In her lifelong quest to challenge gender blindness in researching and teaching international development, Sylvia brought her characteristic fervour to revealing and understanding the lives of women living in poor urban communities, and especially those heading their own households. She did this through profoundly engaged fieldwork in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Philippines, and the Gambia as well as through sustained theoretical innovation. As the world’s leading expert on female-headed households and poverty, Sylvia dedicated many years of her career to arguing against simplistic understandings of the feminisation of poverty and the misleading ways in which this was causally linked with female household headship in mainstream policy formation and much academic literature. She developed these arguments in her books, Women-headed Households (1997) and Gender, Generation and Poverty (2007) as well as in numerous papers as recently as 2019 in Feminist Economics. She not only theorised an alternative to the feminisation of poverty through the much more nuanced ‘feminisation of responsibility and/or obligation’ to show how women are increasingly burdened with dealing with poverty, but she consistently called out those who insisted on using erroneous and homogenising data and research to portray the lives of women in the global South. Reflecting her profound personal and academic generosity, Sylvia was always keen to collaborate and co-author with others and to share her ideas. This is perhaps best reflected in the hugely impressive edited collection International Handbook of Gender and Poverty (2010) comprising over 100 chapters from 125 established and early career authors.

Sylvia was born in Dundee to June and Stuart, a microbiologist, on 24 December 1958. She grew up in London and attended Lady Margaret School in Parson’s Green and subsequently, Kingston College for sixth form before studying for a BA in Geography at King’s College, Cambridge. It was at Cambridge that she developed her feminist sensibility and disquiet at the lack of female role models in the academy as well as an awareness of the male bias inherent in existing work on the geographies of international development.  After Cambridge, being well-versed in feminist writing gleaned from her membership of an inter-collegiate women’s group at Trinity Hall, and determined to challenge the gendered status quo, Sylvia began her fully-funded PhD at University College London in 1981 under the supervision of Professor Peter Ward (and Professor Alan Gilbert) studying the role of women in the construction and consolidation of self-help housing in Querétaro, Mexico. Indeed, this ground-breaking study was one of the first ever to recognise women as key actors in self-build housing in poor urban communities. This research laid the foundations for Sylvia’s enduring commitment to exploring the geographies of gender in the developing world as well as her belief in the importance of empirical research rooted in sustained fieldwork. Just as in her life in general, Sylvia had a gift for engaging with people, for interviewing them with great integrity and warmth. People opened up to her because they trusted her and knew that she was genuinely interested in their lives and in making the world a better place.

Following a period as a post-doctoral researcher at University College London, Sylvia moved to the University of Liverpool where she shared a post between Geography and the Institute of Latin American Studies for over a year before moving to the Department of Geography and Environment at the London School of Economics in 1988 where she remained for the rest of her career with an important affiliation with the School’s Gender Institute from 1992 onwards (she also held visiting professorships at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and the Universidad Pablo de Olavide de Sevilla in Spain, as well as the universities of Fribourg, Bern and  Gothenburg). It was at LSE that Sylvia carved out her position as a global authority on gender, poverty and development. Among her many accolades, in 2013 she was featured as a Global Thinker on Gender and Poverty in Robin Cohen and Paul Kennedy’s [eds] Global Sociology and in 2015 she was appointed as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, which described her as a “world-leading figure in international social science, helping to stake out the field of gender and development”. She was also the President of the Society for Latin American Studies, UK, from 1997-9.

Sylvia was a wonderful teacher who inspired many generations of undergraduates, postgraduates and PhD students. A natural communicator with a wonderful sense of humour and fun, Sylvia’s lectures and seminars were fabled far beyond LSE. She was especially proud of her PhD students whom she assiduously and kindly mentored along with numerous early career scholars as a core aspect of her feminist ethical philosophy on her working life. Indeed, her support of younger generations of scholars was legendary and has ensured the continued health of so much feminist research in the global South and international development policy where many of her students have ended up.

Sylvia herself made extremely important contributions to the development policy world reflecting her commitment to engendering positive change in the global South. Her engagement with policy-makers included working as an advisor or consultant for, among others, UNFPA, UN-DESA, Commonwealth Secretariat, UN-Habitat, the ILO, UNICEF, ECLAC, the UNDP, and the World Bank. She was also an expert advisory group member on the UN Women State of the World’s Women 2018: Families in a Changing World: Public Action for Women’s Rights and co- lead author of the UN-Habitat’s first ever report on the State of Women in Cities 2012/13. As well as shaping international gender policy through her engagement with these organisations, Sylvia also worked on the ground to institute change. Most notable was her work striving to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting (FGMC) in the Gambia alongside the Gambian human rights organisation, GAMCOTRAP, whose campaigning led to the final outlawing of FGMC in November 2015. Her work within and beyond the Gambia was pivotal in this landmark ruling.

As one of the world’s most respected feminist development geographers, Sylvia’s work has transformed thinking and policy-making on gender and poverty and her inspirational teaching has created an amazing legacy of talented people across the globe who think about the world through a gendered lens.

Sylvia’s stellar career was matched by a wonderfully rich personal life full of legions of friends, a very close and loving family and numerous passions and interests. She was a keen photographer and photographic documenter, a gym fanatic and bicyclist, a cinema goer and avid reader, and she had a passion for stylish clothes and jewellery. She also loved animals, music, to dance and to travel, but maybe most of all she enjoyed catching up with her family and friends, sharing a drink, a joke and an experience, revelling in the simple pleasure of the human company of those most dear to her.

Sylvia is survived by her husband Chris, her mother June, her two sisters Adrienne and Yvonne, four of her five nieces and nephews, and her five godchildren.

Professor Cathy McIlwaine, Professor of Development Geography, King’s College London

The funeral service will be held on Wednesday 15 January 2020, 2pm at St. Marylebone Crematorium, East End Road, East Finchley, London, N2 0RZ.

Charitable donations may be made to the RSPCA.

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57 Responses to Sylvia Chant, 24 December 1958 – 18 December 2019

  1. Dr G. Raul Diaz says:

    My condolences go to Sylvia family, colleagues, and friends. We will surely miss Sylvia.

    • Condolences to Chris and the family. Dear Sylvia thanks for all your help in the Posdoc. Muchas gracias por ayudarme a empoderarme y crecer como mujer. Eres un gran ejemplo de mujer. Besos desde Querétaro, México!..

  2. Professor Sonia Livingstone says:

    Many sympathies to Sylvia’s family and friends. LSE will be much the poorer for her loss, too. I recall the exciting days when a group of us began planning for a Gender Institute at LSE, and Sylvia’s enthusiasm and determination then were inspiring, as ever since. Seeing her come and go on her amazing travels, receiving her cheeky wink in a dull committee meeting, or just having a chat in the corridor, was always a pleasure. I am so sorry she lost the fight against cancer when she had so much more to do, and to give. We will indeed miss her.

  3. Professor Dennis Rodgers says:

    This is such sad news. Sylvia was such an exuberant, larger than life presence, with an adventurous and infectious enthusiasm that she combined with a real sense of care and empathy, even when she was struggling with the illness that took her away from us. She was incredibly kind and supportive to me as a colleague in the LSE Department of Geography and Environment in 2005-07, and it was always great to meet up with her afterwards at conferences and workshops, brimming with new ideas and anecdotes to share over a drink or two. She will be sorely missed. Condoleances to her family and friends.

  4. Flora Cornish says:

    I hope it is testament to Sylvia’s enormous energy and inspirational power to say that, although I did not know Sylvia personally, her leading feminist presence and voice have made a massive difference to my sense of the solidity of the LSE tradition of critical emancipatory theory and practice. She gave me hope that LSE could be feminist. Her PhD students have been among the most exciting I have taught. The ripples of her impact traveled well beyond the Dept of Geography and Environment and her immediate circles. I feel her loss keenly, and I didn’t know her. That’s how amazing she was.

  5. Carwyn Morris says:

    Truly sad that Sylvia is no longer with us, she was a star! She wasn’t my supervisor at LSE but was my mentor. We shared cat memes and photos, discussed feline friends and life outside of the department, always knew that in her I could find someone to discuss life with, and we did. We threw jokes at each other regardless of occasion, then shared emails apologising for the inappropriateness of it all and laughing once more. Will treasure the card I received this year.

  6. Dr Rochelle Burgess says:

    Sylvia was one of the most inspiring lecturers I had during my time at the LSE. I remember the first lecture she gave me- I couldn’t believe that someone like her existed in academia, it made me think I could too. I was blessed to have her as a teacher, and later as a mentor. The academy and the world owe her a great deal, and we will miss her terribly. My deepest condolences to her family.

  7. Prof Simon Batterbury says:

    I met Sylvia several times when working as a lecturer at DESTIN, 1999-2001. She always stuck out, in an institution dedicated to conventional academic outputs [although she actually authored many publications], and back then, still prioritising the mainstream social sciences [more mainstream than her interests in gender studies, the feminisation of poverty, and human geography!]. Her practical and moral support for women’s movements was inspiring. She was also outspoken, and outgoing – again, rather different to the majority of LSE academics. I was sad to hear of her passing.

  8. Condolences to family, friends and colleagues.
    Sylvia’s scholarship impacts far beyond the Latin American contexts on which it so richly draws. It will long continue to do so.

    James D Sidaway,
    Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

  9. Professor Sharon Bessell says:

    I first met Sylvia at a rather formal workshop – mainly of middle-aged, suited professors. Sylvia walked into the room – with her hair flying and in an amazing outfit – and instantly transformed it with her brilliance and presence!
    Sylvia was one of the world’s great researchers, a kind and generous colleague and friend, and a remarkable person. She will be missed by everyone whose life she touched. Her professional contribution to the field of gender and development will live on, and will continue to inform and inspire others. Her approach to the world, her care and support for others, and her sense of humour will continue to inspire all who were fortunate enough to have known her. My deepest sympathies Sylvia’s family and friends.

  10. Patricia Noxolo says:

    I never really knew Professor Chant personally, but I want to say that her work has been immensely important, particularly in my teaching. Her work was groundbreaking in terms of research, but it is also highly accessible for undergraduates – her power to communicate has been key in helping young people in the Global North to really understand the basic message that women in the Global South have agency and should not be ignored. I am so sorry that her life has been cut short this way, but she has done a great deal with the life that she had.

  11. Adriana Allen says:

    Extremely sad news. Sylvia was an amazing woman and an extraordinary scholar who deeply touched the life of everyone who had the gift to know her. Throughout her life as a scholar she developed endless contributions to power a feminist perspective on the gendered nature of poverty, inequality and urban change. Thanks Sylvia!

  12. My condolences to Sylvia’s family, friends and colleagues; this is very sad news. As a woman doing fieldwork in Latin America on issues around gender and development, Sylvia made an early, crucial and vibrant contribution, which she made into an international endeavour. Our paths first crossed at the University of Liverpool and we later wrote on gender and migration. Sylvia has contributed so much to the acknowledgement of the centrality of women’s experiences and lives to our understanding of social change in the global South. Her inspiration lives on.

  13. Isabel Shutes says:

    Sylvia Chant was a truly inspiring academic, in teaching and research. I first met her as an MSc student at LSE for advice on my dissertation and still remember vividly that meeting, and the impact of reading her research. She was a wonderful, warm and inclusive scholar. I hope her approach continues to shape LSE and beyond.

  14. Dr Charlotte Lemanski says:

    I am so sorry to hear this news. Sylvia was like a bright burst of energy in the academic world. I first met her when I was a student at the LSE twenty years ago, and then more recently she participated in some workshops I organised. While the impact of her scholarly work on gender in the global South is widely acknowledged, it was her unbridled energy, passion and ‘joie de vivre’ that I will remember her for most vividly. You never quite knew what she might say or do during a meeting!

  15. Mara Nogueira says:

    I’ve got to know Sylvia better since returning to the LSE Geography & Environment Department as a fellow. She wasn’t officially my mentor but she took me under her wings and gave me all the support I needed as an early scholar, which was fundamental. Her kindness and passionate dedication to her work will remain as life lessons to me. I’ve had the pleasure to sit in her last lecture, delivered with incredible diligence and energy, just over a month before her passing. She was phenomenonal. Indeed an irreplaceable loss!

  16. Patrick McGovern says:

    The St Clements Building will not be the same without Sylvia. There were the smiles, the passing conversations and the laughs, often with a smattering of gossip. And she was always on the move, coming from the airport, heading for the airport, dashing up and down corridors or on her way to classrooms chatting two or three people along the way. She had a steely side too but that’s a story for another day. Her usual exuberant energy was dimmed by illness but the smiles and the chats continued so I always had hope… and then the sad news. So often the very best scholars are also the nicest people.

  17. Sharad Chari says:

    Sylvia was an unstoppably warm person, before anything else. Her laugh, her smile, and her positive energy will be missed by all whose lives she touched. Warm condolences to Chris, her mother, sisters and close friends, with the hope that in time the weight of this loss will be softened by wealth of her precious life.

  18. Alli Appelbaum says:

    Sylvia was an extraordinary, energetic and passionate teacher who inspired her students to think differently and critically about the world; about development: about gender; about space. I am so grateful to have been taught be her, and to have worked my way through her syllabus in Gender and Development (which, it must be said, had one of the longest supplementary reading lists I have seen – such was the vast scope of Sylvia’s knowledge and generosity). For me, so much about Sylvia was unexpected: from her bright blonde hair, ever-tanned skin and perpetual smile, to her talent for photography, exuberant lectures (that contained an infinite number of slides), her humor and her warmth. My condolences on this devastating loss to her family, colleagues, students and future students, who may no longer be able to experience a tour de force lecture of Sylvia Chant’s, but who will no doubt still be nurtured through her writing. Thank you, Sylvia, for pushing boundaries and generously giving of your immense talent – the world was lucky to have you for 60 years.

  19. Thank you for this wonderful tribute to a pioneering feminist.

  20. Gerry Kearns says:

    Condolences to Chris and the family. Sylvia lit up Liverpool with her cheerfulness, charity and intellectual honesty.

  21. Dorothea Kleine says:

    Sylvia Chant will be greatly missed as a leader in the field of gender and development. Thankfully much of her thinking is documented in her landmark publications, shaping the way researchers, students and policy makers make sense of the world. But Sylvia was much more than that- a force of nature, expressive, insightful, warm, funny, fiercely committed. I first met Sylvia while working on my PhD at LSE many years ago, and fortunately many times since. She always demonstrated some key lessons in feminist academic practice: 1) be present in your research, 2) speak truth to power, 3) support students, and colleagues at different career stages, 4) practice solidarity, 5) don’t forget to have a good giggle at all forms of pomposity. Sylvia was much respected, much loved, and will be much missed by so many – across the world.
    Condolences to family, friends, colleagues.

  22. Fran Tonkiss says:

    Sylvia was a wonderful and inspiring person who will be very greatly missed. The brilliance of her scholarship and her teaching was matched only by her immense warmth and openness of spirit and her boundless sense of fun. As one of many colleagues whom she encouraged and supported, I’m so grateful for Sylvia’s friendship and sisterhood and for the time she gave so generously to others. And I think happily of the last time I saw her – ‘Great craic!’ as she wrote, in typical Sylvia style, the next day. Deepest condolences to Chris and all her family, and to her many, many friends.

  23. Róisín Ryan-Flood says:

    Sylvia Chant was one of a kind. A brilliant feminist scholar, she lit up a room and brought energy and charisma to everything she did. She was also deeply kind and very supportive of junior feminist academics. There will never be another like her.

  24. Jo Beall says:

    I am still in numb denial at the loss of Sylvia, a wonderful academic, colleague, friend and my PhD supervisor decades back. She was an exuberant and indefatigable feminist scholar and advocate who was loved and enjoyed by her students and admired by her colleagues at LSE. She was part of the fabric of the institution and her presence, energy and legacy will continue to infuse the School for years to come. Though sad now, we will all be the better for that. My heart goes out to Chris and her sisters at this time.

    • anne marie goetz says:

      Exuberant is the right word for Sylvia — bursting with energy, enthusiasm, inspiration, light. This is terribly sad.
      Anne Marie

  25. Andrea Lampis says:

    Also those who knew Sylvia Chant less personally, as students and readers of her lasting work, I’m sure, are mournful too. Her ideas sunk from the slides and the pages to the unwritten books of our daily life demonstrating that gender-aware, just and fair transformations are possible when so wholeheartedly inspired!

  26. Emily Jackson says:

    What a terrible loss to her family and to her colleagues and students at LSE. My condolences to Sylvia’s family and her many friends.

  27. DR LESLIE SKLAIR says:

    Very sad news, though I know Sylvia had been ill for some time, this didn’t stop her from taking the trouble to send cheerful and helpful emails. She was a wonderful colleague, her pathbreaking work on women in development was an inspiration to us all. She also enjoyed a good laugh. Condolences to her nearest and dearest.

    Leslie Sklair (Sociology)

  28. Laura Dawson says:

    We only met once, but once was enough to see what a truly sparkling, irreverent, vibrant and clever person Sylvia was. Sad to read of her passing but a lovely tribute, thank you.

  29. Michael Storper says:

    When I arrived at LSE, Sylvia welcomed me so warmly and engaged me so naturall on different subject. She did so with a combination of humour, and irreverence and humility coupled to solid conviction and sharp insight about the many subjects we discussed. I saw her not long ago in the hallway, giving her time generously to students and colleagues. I feel genuinely privileged to have known her, even in the limited way I did. Her example will not be forgotten.

  30. Nikki Craske says:

    I was lucky enough to have Sylvia as my PhD examiner – she was supportive but exacting. This was the beginning of a lovely friendship. She was always an inspiration and great fun too. As all the comments here attest, along with her ground breaking academic contribution, she also had so many interests and really knew how to party. She will be sorely missed by so many. My deepest condolences to Chris and her family.

  31. Janet Hunter says:

    What a terrible loss, Sylvia will be missed by so many. She was an inspiration to many women at LSE. My condolences to family and friends.

  32. Dr. Mary Kawar says:

    This is such sad news. A great loss. My sincere condolences to her family, friends and all the gender and development community who benefited from her great scholarship and passion.
    She was a wonderful woman and a big influence on my life. I still think of her often as I go through my career and how she got me through my PhD. She was a pillar to me. I tried seeing her last time I was passing through London back in June 2019. She was at a conference. It was complicated and I just told her next time. I so regret this now. I should have tried harder.
    RIP and thank you Sylvia

  33. Diane Perrons says:

    Sylvia contributed so much to the life and times of the LSE. She was intensely committed to students and colleagues in her own Department of Geography and the Environment while providing unstinting support for those in the Department of Gender Studies. She was a loyal colleague and friend and it will be really odd to think of the LSE without seeing her rushing along with coat flying, bags, beads and papers everywhere, but still time to say hello and ask how you are doing. My lasting memory will be of sitting in her beautiful North London Garden, sipping a glass of sparkly having finalised the grades for Gy 421 and Gi 407. Many condolences to Chris, her sisters and to her many many friends.

  34. Sandra Jovchelovitch says:

    As Jo, I am still in denial and find difficult to imagine the School and our lives without Sylvia. She was the genuine star, an inspiring and fundamental feminist scholar whose insight, intelligence, wit and personal kindness shone without effort and with real light. How wonderful it was to have her around the School, always beautiful and stylish, always fun, always perceptive, the tinkle in her eye illuminating the darkest of days. I feel privileged to have had her as a friend and colleague. Our loss is immense and the School will not be the same without Sylvia, but her sparkle and influence on us will continue. Deepest condolences to Chris, her family, friends and colleagues in the Department of Geography and Environment.

  35. Caroline Moser says:

    This is very sad news. Sylvia was a wonderful colleague and friend since we first worked together way back in the 1980s on women and housing at the DPU. Her career was remarkable and her contribution to gender and development debates seminal. Along with her flamboyant character, she was extraordinarily generous and supportive to colleagues, friends and students alike. She leaves a very big gap for all who knew her. Many condolences to Chris and her family.

  36. Robin Cohen says:

    My condolences to Sylvia Chant’s colleagues, friends and family. She was instrumental in persuading the British Academy to fund a programme on diasporas and was very helpful in getting the programme established. She was a warm and helpful colleague.

  37. Megan Ryburn says:

    What an enormous privilege to have counted Sylvia as a colleague, informal mentor, and friend over the past four years. I was first introduced to her work years before I met her and ever since it has been an inspiration to me. As a PhD student of Cathy McIlwaine’s, I was also inspired by Sylvia and Cathy’s long-standing friendship and collaborative relationship, as well as the collaborative relationships that Sylvia developed with many other feminist scholars. It has been hugely refreshing as an early career academic to witness and learn from such supportive ways of doing scholarship.

    Being welcomed by Sylvia to the LSE fold when I started my post as a fellow made everything slightly less nerve-wracking. Over the years, she offered unfailing support and gentle guidance, as well as a genuine interest in my career progress but also my much broader wellbeing. And her abundant generosity and ever-ready wit really did light up the Department and the School. Sylvia also demonstrated such extraordinary courage in the face of a long and difficult illness. Even during our last visit with her, she was still making us laugh. I will miss her dearly. My thoughts are with Chris and family.

  38. Anne Marie Goetz says:

    I was so excited when I first met Sylvia to find that this intimidating scholar on paper was actually warm, funny, gorgeous, and so stylish. So kind and human, which was so important for a completely overwhelmed junior academic like myself, back then. My overwhelming sense impression of Sylvia was of glow and flow — her draped white cotton, her sunny head. For all those of you going to the funeral, I share your sorrow, and wish I could be there in solidarity. To Sylvia’s partner, I send my condolences and can’t imagine how hard this is. She made a difference to the lives and thinking of so many people, she made sense of tough issues, she opened eyes.

  39. Linda McDowell says:

    Sylvia leaves a gap that will be almost impossible to fill but her legacy lives on in her books and papers and all the students whom she taught and supervised. Geography conferences will never be the same again though – how we shall miss her.

  40. Danny Green says:

    Dearest Sylvia, it was a pleasure and a privilege to have been taught by you, albeit briefly. I will never forget that chat we had in your study when I was still trying to decide whether to take the plunge and accept my place at LSE after many decades out of education. You couldn’t have been kinder or more generous with your time. “This woman is a force of nature”, was my overriding impression. I accepted my place the next day and I’m so happy I did. You will be sorely missed, but your books are currently strewn across my kitchen table as I grapple with my latest essay – a daily reminder of your brilliance and influence in gender studies.

  41. Gemma Todd says:

    Rest in Peace Sylvia, your legacy – all those you empowered, believed in, pushed, and encouraged, – lives on. Prayers are with your family.

  42. Shaun Jordan says:

    Very nice lady, always had a smile on her face. Will be missed.

  43. Andreia says:

    Hola!! Minha querida!!!!
    Solamente ahora me enteré que nos dejaste!!!
    Para mi fue un gran placer, una suerte, una alegría haber compartido lindos momentos de risas contigo!
    Pues siempre que piense en ti, te voy a recordar com una gran sonrisa!!
    Descansa en paz ,amiga mía!!!
    Te quiero y te voy recordar siempre!!

  44. Ilona Roth says:

    I just heard of Sylvia’s death and am profoundly saddened. Sylvia was in every way a beautiful person. Besides her brilliance, charisma and glamour, she was exceptionally kind and caring. Even while battling courageously with her own serious illness, she showed true concern for other people’s problems. She had a heart of gold.

    My deepest condolences to Chris and all Sylvia’s family.

  45. Bob Bennett says:

    This is very sad news for such a vibrant individual. Her appointment as a lecturer at LSE was the first appointment that I was able to make when convenor (Head of Department) at LSE, and Sylvia was always one of the most stellar individuals in what became a very vibrant department. It was a privilege to have been able to help her on her way; and it was rewarding to see her grasp the opportunities offered and develop a career progression to Reader and then Professor at LSE. She was always someone who developed the best out of the opportunities she met, and her impact on gender research world-wide remains as a major legacy.

  46. Isata Jawara says:

    My dearest Sylvia, words fail me when trying to articulate the impact you had in my life over the past 10 plus years. I met Sylvia in 2008 when pursuing my Masters in Urbanisation & Development studies and her guidance, kindness and support, particularly when I started to despair over my dissertation truly helped me to complete the program successfully.
    I vividly remember the first time we met and how your face lit up when I mentioned that I am Gambian. Your passion for my country was remarkable and I always teased you that it should be you holding as the Gambian passport, as you knew more about The Gambia than I did! Over the years, we became family and I will always treasure our cafe catch-ups, annual end of year dinner in the Gambia with Chris and remarkable pictures.
    Thank you for always checking up on me and creating a safe place where i could share almost anything with you. Thank you for including me in your celebrations, I truly felt part of the family. The world is much poorer today without your presence but I take solace knowing that the legacy you’ve left behind will impact generations to come.

  47. Tim Hall says:

    Very saddened to recently have heard of the loss of Sylvia. She was an incredibly kind person and was always supportive during my return to education last year (she was also my supervisor). I also thank her for her freindship. My thoughts are with Chris and her family, her colleagues and friends. I will miss her.

  48. Federica Gerber says:

    I vividly remember my lectures with Sylvia Chant between 2005-2007 🙂 she was a true inspiration and I will cherish that time forever. RIP, Sylvia.

  49. Emma Bindloss says:

    I was a KCL Geography undergraduate from 1990 – 93 when the department was a joint school with LSE and I was lucky enough to sneak a couple of courses on the other side of the Aldwych! Sylvia Chant was a wonderful lecturer who illustrated facts with personal experience, turned even the most rugger obsessed students into feminists – at least during her lectures and most of all inspired me to see the world in a different way. Thank-you!

  50. Ed Hart says:

    Some people just exude life and love. She was one of them. Being in her company made you feel delighted to be alive. She’ll be greatly missed. My sympathies go out to Chris, June, Adrienne and Yvonne and wider family.

  51. Frida Lopez Martinez says:

    Me apena haberme enterado apenas de la muerte de mi amiga Silvia Chant soy una mujer Mexicana que me hizo bien con sus palabras de superacion cuando ella vino a Mexico; me hizo sentir valorada y elevo mucho mi autoestima. A la familia que le sobrevive mi mas profundo pesame por su perdida siempre la eh llevado en mi fondo de mi corazon.

    Juana Martinez Gomez
    Leon,Gto. Mexico

  52. Minkyu Lee says:

    I was just so surprised and word-less when I found this news that is very sad and tragic. I remember meeting her for the first time at our GI reception, very first social event we had with all GI members. She was very curious and made herself open to everyone. She was thankful for her colleagues and friends. She was witty and showed a great personality. In her lecture, she was very powerful in her delivery of her experience and knowledge she accumulated through her actual field research trip or her work with the United Nations and local people in the regions of the world. She was just being there in the lecture hall as how she would have been everyday. I mean her presence, herself, was a kind of literature itself. She embodied every knowledge she has through her experience of the work she loved. I took only 1 lecture from her unfortunately, but it was very enough to feel that. I would sincerely miss her and her great work in the Gender, Development and Globalisation field, which was also my cohort at GI. She was truly amazing woman, person, friend, lecturer and scholar. Rest in peace, Sylvia Chant, a woman who made a new history.

  53. Pingback: Professor Sylvia Chant, 1958 – 2019 | Urbanisation, Planning and Development (UPD) Research Cluster

  54. Kevin Burchell says:

    I am so sad to belatedly learn this news. Sylvia was a massive inspiration to me as as a sudent in the mid 1990s.

  55. Natalia Perez says:

    The news of Sylvia’s passing deeply moves me. I left London over a decade ago and had lost contact with her ever since. However, she has been one of the most influential teachers I have come across. The class I took with her during my masters determined the topic and the angle I choose for my dissertation and was also fundamental to the decision to do a Ph.D. in Geography I made later on. Sylvia’s charisma, passion, sense of humour, warmth, and support was immensely valued and appreciated among those of us who had the privilege of being her students. The memories I have of her will continue to inspire me, and I hope to honour her legacy in my own life as an academic.

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