The Gender and Identity Cluster focuses on investigations on ideas, thoughts, opinions, legislations and policies on and around issues of gender, gender relations, behaviours and attitudesin private and public spaces. Its research concerns and interests centre primarily on the social perception, status, positioning and construction of such notions as masculinity, femininity and childhood (in terms of boyhood and girlhood); that is, in simple terms the social notions and interpretations of the biological reality and fact of a person being male, female or child in the African context and in relations between Africa and the wider world, in the several considerations and conceptions of the phenomena local and global African sense and perspective. Essentially, the cluster interrogates gender issues as they operate at the individual, institutional and state levels. Though, Gender has been generally known and understood as a natural attribute in many regards and perspectives, social perceptions, considerations and constructions of the phenomenonhas essentiallybeen varied, diverse and even contradictory; which sometimes makes it contentious and also conflictive. In addition to the challenges, dilemmas and contradictions of gender and the implied sociocultural, philosophical and political underpinnings, the phenomenon has tended to elicit wide ranging academic and intellectual attention and debates. This could largely be largely accounted for by the fact that issues of gender are ubiquitous and dominant in many African societies and the global African world; and therefore deserve special consideration and focus. The roles, responsibilities and roles assigned for people because of the fact of their being either man, woman or child and the images, perceptions and conceptions of these have enormous sociocultural undertones and far-reaching implications.
Another significantfocal aspect of the Gender and Identity research cluster is concerned with the phenomenon identity, a matter that seems to underlie most human affairs and endeavours, more so in the African situation. Though issues of identity could be exclusive of gender in many respects, research in identity (or identities) is as important and interrelated with gender in terms of scope, presence and intensity.The phenomenon of identity has far reaching implications and prominence as many issues of human concern and interest. Even in association with gender identity is as significant as it is diverse. In gender studies, the question of being and who one is or represents or signifies at the individual, social, national level and the broad human set up is a noteworthy subject of interrogation. And has dominated discourse in the field.
Globally, the question of identity is as ubiquitous as it is controversial in human affairs and relations that it deserves intense and serious intellectual engagement and interrogation. Identity, in its diverse scope and implications, is relevant to human social existence, and therefore shares a direct correlationwith the sustenance of human social systems and entire human development project.