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María Paulina Rivera Chávez

Doctoral Fellow


Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


by appointment only

Dissertation Project

How ideas travel: Mexico’s Feminist Foreign Policy as part of a hegemonic global project

Foreign policy has been one of the most male/masculine dominated areas of study and practice of international politics. Hence, the adoption of a feminist foreign policy (FFP) by a growing number of countries may seem to have a transformative ambition, as it proposes to eliminate structural differences and promote gender equality through new practices and frameworks at both national and international level. However, these policies could be used as a tool of national identity and exceptionalism that maintain global hierarchies and create a new standard of “civilized nations”.

In my research, I focus on analysing the Mexico’s Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) as part of a global project. My aim is to trace the origins of this proposal, understand how dominant ideas of gender and foreign policy travelled to Mexico, and identify who are the subjects of this policy. I argue that FFPs, instead of disrupting the global hierarchies that exclude women and feminised subjects —i.e., the patriarchal, and heterosexual biological organisation of social relations that are co-constituted with race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality— are (re)producing normalised regimes of power and concealing them through a feminist discourse due to their colonial underpinnings. Mexico’s FFP, as part of this “universal” project, can be used as a colonial technology of gender.


I am an aspiring academic from the “Global South” in the quest of undoing the normative ways of knowing that I have been taught. My work focuses on the intersection of foreign policy, feminism and decolonial theory. I studied a BA in International Relations at El Colegio de México and an MSc in International Relations Theory at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before entering academia, I was advisor to the Vice-Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am also the foundress and first director of the International Research Centre of the Matías Romero Institute. I taught the courses on gender studies, international organizations, and global governance at Tecnologico de Monterrey and Universidad Iberoamericana, both in Mexico.

Research Interests

  • Decolonial theory
  • Feminism(s)
  • Foreign Policy
  • Critical Theory


"Feminist Foreign Policy: Coloniality in New Clothes?", Feminist Perspectives, 2022.

Seeing through Alterity/Otherness. A Conceptual Approximation from a Postcolonial to a Decolonial Feminist Foreign Policy”, Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior, 120 (2021), pp. 7-24. ISSN 0185-6022.


Gender in global perspective, Tecnológico de Monterrey — 2022

International Organizations, Tecnológico de Monterrey — 2021

Global governance, Universidad Iberoamericana — 2021