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Dr. Natalie Hudson

Dr. Natalie Hudson

Written by Mary McLoughlin '20

When Natalie Hudson was growing up, academia was never part of her plan. But now, Dr. Hudson teaches, researches, and directs the Human Rights Studies program at UD. She firmly insists her job is the best one possible because it brings her in contact with the best faculty and students and puts her “in a space of constant learning and curiosity.”

As an educator, Dr. Hudson says she feels called to “expose students and young people to the world around them, to different ways of thinking, different ways of knowing, different ways of being in order for those young people to embrace difference, crave difference, and recognize their own place within difference.” She is committed to interdisciplinary learning and excited about the ways the Human Rights Studies program allows her and her students to think of power and gender from a variety of angles and perspectives.

As a scholar, Dr. Hudson’s research focuses on women and global security at both the personal and policy level, considering the lived experience of women in conflict zones all the way up to the UN’s institutionalization of and advocacy around gender and security issues. Dr. Hudson’s goal is to produce research that is relatable, accessible, and useful to the people whose lives she studies, and her hope is that her research is able to make people think and reflect more carefully about the impact of gender and its consequences within their experiences and actions. She has presented in countries all over the world From the UN to the Hague, she has shared her knowledge in some of the most important global human rights arenas. But her most meaningful research experiences are the moments of inspiration that come from meeting “women who are articulating their own rights.”

As a mentor, Dr. Hudson empowers students by walking beside them, making space for their curiosity, and giving them the resources to make human rights their vocation. She describes the opportunity to “watch my students do things that I will never get to do and live and learn vicariously through them” as a privilege. When asked what gives her hope, her answer is quick and simple: “My students.”

Looking back at her career thus far, Dr. Hudson is most proud of the relationships she’s made with her students and colleagues. She emphasizes collaboration as central to her work—she writes very little solo and stays energized from learning and researching alongside her students and peers. To her, “Being a woman of UD is about building up the other women around you.” Looking forward, she is excited to keep learning, asking questions, and moving the study of gender into new arenas. She insists that, “The most exciting things are always the scariest. If it’s not a little scary, and if it doesn’t feel a little overwhelming, then it’s probably not worth doing.”