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Presentations

Defending women’s and Ukrainians’ rights in Poland

Friday, February 23, 2pm to 3pm (New York Time)

on Zoom with

Olena Morozova (V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University/University of British Columbia)

Ania Switzer (University of British Columbia)

Please join us for our second session of Spring 2024, with Professors Morozova and Switzer on “Collective mobilisation in defence of women’s rights and Ukrainian displaced persons in Poland”

The presentation discusses the impact of sexual and reproductive health policies in Poland in the context of Russia’s war in Ukraine. While Ukraine’s sexual and reproductive health policies align with dominant European standards of care, Poland, with one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, is an outlier. Women who fled the war in Ukraine to Poland entered the field of Poland’s contentious bio-politics. The paper examines two of their emergent positions: (1) as unexpected beneficiaries of social mobilisation set in motion during large-scale protests resulting from the 2020 tightening of Poland’s abortion laws, and (2) as agents of change, since their medical needs spurred re-formulation of strategies employed by women’s rights advocates and led both to the broadening of local third-sector coalitions and expanding of transnational ties of activism. The paper examines the intersectional effect of social mobilisation and the agency of women in this context.

Olena Morozova is linguist and a Full Professor at the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Ukraine. She is currently serving as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies at the University of British Columbia. Broadly interested in cognitive linguistics, discourse studies, media linguistics, political linguistics, Morozova’s current research projects include analysis of the mechanisms of deception and manipulation in public spheres in the time of Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Ania Switzer is a sociologist and a historian, graduate of Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland) and University of London (UK). She is a past Chevening Scholar and a recipient of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award. Her areas of specialisation include nationalism, production of knowledge and memory, and political change in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Holocaust studies. Currently, her research explores the intersections of women’s rights and social mobilisation in the context of war in Ukraine. Switzer has been teaching at the University of British Columbia since 2015.

Format: We ask that participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, the speakers will give a brief introduction, after which participants are invited to ask questions and make suggestions based on the paper and presentation.

To receive the paper and Zoom link, Register here

This presentation is also part of the
Brooklyn College 
Women’s & Gender Studies Endowed Chair 
Miniseries on “Russia’s Continuing War against Ukraine”  

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Special Presentation

Dec. 8: Boston on Gay Polish Migrants

Special time: 12:-30-2PM New York Time in person and online
Room 5203, the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016

To receive paper and attend online, register here. To receive paper and attend online, RSVP to cunyreeeskruzhok@gmail.com.

Co-hosted by the CUNY Graduate Center History PhD Program and the CUNY REEES network. For more information, see below.

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Special Presentation

Recording of Ghodsee on Everyday Utopia

In case you missed the event at Brooklyn College on Oct. 10, we have a recording available here.

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Special Presentation

Oct. 30: Enloe’s Feminist Lessons of War and Ukraine

Book launch: Cynthia Enloe’s Twelve Feminist Lessons of War (Footnote Press, 2023)

Moderator: Janet Elise Johnson, Endowed Chair in Women’s and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College

Co-hosted by Institute on Gender Law, and Transformative Peace Imitative, CUNY Law School

Monday, Oct. 30, 2023 | 2:15-3:30PM
Women’s Center | 227 Ingersoll Hall Extension
Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, New York

To attend in person, please RSVP. To attend online, please register here.

Twelve Feminist Lessons of War draws on firsthand experiences of war from women in places as diverse as Ukraine, Myanmar, Somalia, Vietnam, Rwanda, Algeria, Syria, and Northern Ireland to show how women’s wars are not men’s wars. Professor Enloe demonstrates how patriarchy and militarism have embedded themselves in our institutions and our personal lives. As the book is dedicated to Ukrainian feminists and includes a chapter on the lessons Ukrainian feminist have to teach us, there will be a particular focus on Russia’ s war in Ukraine in the conversation.

Cynthia Enloe is Research Professor at Clark University and author of fifteen books, including Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. In 2018, Enloe’s name was installed on the Gender Justice Legacy Wall at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Janet Elise Johnson is Professor in Political Science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. Her most recent book, The Routledge Handbook of Gender in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia (co-edited with Katalin Fábián and Mara Lazda, 2022), won the Heldt prize for the best book from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies. 

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Special Presentation

Oct. 10: Ghodsee on utopian ideas about care and love

Book launch of Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life (2023 Simon & Schuster) by Kristen Ghodsee and conversation with Liza Featherstone

Tuesday, October 10, 2023 | 2:15-3:30PM
Brooklyn College Library | Woody Tanger Auditorium
Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY

also streaming via Zoom: registration link

Everyday Utopia whisks you away on a tour through history and around the world to explore those places that have boldly dared to reimagine how we might live our daily lives: from the Danish cohousing communities that share chores and deepen neighborly bonds to matriarchal Colombian ecovillages where residents grow all their own food; and from Connecticut, where new laws make it easier for extra “alloparents” to help raise children not their own, to China, where planned microdistricts ensure everything a busy household might need is nearby. It offers a radically hopeful vision for how to build more contented and connected societies. In this conversation, we will focus on feminist utopian visions of love and care, including on the radical imagining of St. Petersburg-born (and half Ukrainian) Alexandra Kollantai. 

Kristen R. Ghodsee is a Professor of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and the critically acclaimed author of Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence, which has been translated into fourteen languages. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Jacobin, among other outlets, and she’s appeared on PBS NewsHour and France 24 as well as on dozens of podcasts, including NPR’s Throughline and New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives outside of Philadelphia.

Liza Featherstone is a columnist at Jacobin and The New Republic, as well as a contributing writer at The Nation. Featherstone’s work has also been published in Lux, TV Guide, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ms., The American Prospect, Columbia Journalism Review, Glamour, Teen Vogue, Dissent, The Guardian, In These Times, Newsday and many other publications. Featherstone is the author of Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation, published by O/R Books in 2018, and Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Workers’ Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic Books, 2004), among other books. She teaches journalism and opinion writing at NYU and Columbia, respectively. From 2013 to 2015, she was the Belle Zeller Visiting Professor at Brooklyn College. Featherstone is a member of New York City Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

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Special Presentation

Call for Papers 2023-24

online and in-person

due Aug. 7, 2023

We’re celebrating three decades! Founded in 1993, amidst the conflicts in Yugoslavia, this workshop is driven by the exploration of questions related to gender in postcommunist countries of East, South and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, including the Baltic countries and Central Asia. Centered on debates on communism’s impact on women and gender and on how to converse and theorize across the East-West divide, this workshop strives to include voices from not just the New York City area, but also from the region and around the world. We continue to be an informal and friendly gathering for feminist scholars, activists, and journalists to discuss recent theoretical and/or critical work, empirical research, and critical and scholarly reflections on activism. 

Theme: We invite papers on any topic related to these themes, but it is hard not to keep thinking about the impact of Russia’s long war against Ukraine. We remain especially interested in  proposals that consider the impact of Russia’s aggression on gender in the region, state gendered violence inside and outside the state borders, and the role of state propaganda in fostering ultranationalism and war. The war has led scholars of the region to reflect on their own work, prompting many questions on the continued influence of Russia-centrism in scholarship. Academics and non-academics alike have reevaluated the relationship between scholarship and activism–at this time of war, is all scholarship political?  The war has also caused us to revisit debates about collaboration between scholars from the region and scholars in the so-called “West,” revealing both cooperation and missed opportunities.  

We also hope to have one in-person session to foster mentoring and collaboration among those who are local.

Details:

  • Meet monthly on Fridays, at the CUNY Grad Center in New York City (with Zoom participation available) or via Zoom only, 2-3 PM New York time (8-9PM Poland time)
  • Presenters share a 10-15 page paper in advance to those who have registered. We ask authors to limit their presentation to 20 minutes to allow maximum time for conversation.
  • We will moderate the sessions so that we check in with what we are all thinking about, hear and see the key ideas of the paper, and have lots of time to discuss collaboratively.

To participate, please fill out this google form with your name, email, location/affiliation, current related interests.  We have also created a space there for you to share your thoughts and suggestions about the workshop as well as to indicate interest in participating in a NYC-based networking session.

If you’d like to present your work/project  this year, please also add the following: 

  • tentative title for your talk
  • abstract of less than 200 words describing your proposed talk
  • up to 5 recent publications or information about your activism
  • your schedule clarifying which Fridays you could present
  • Preferred format: Zoom or in-person

We regret that, despite our best efforts, we do not have funds for an honorarium. All are welcome to participate.  We will start reviewing proposals on Aug. 7, 2023.

Categories
Special Presentation

Mar 17 (online) on “maternity” and “traditional values” in Russia’s militarizing state with Yulia Gradskova

Mar 17 (online): 2-3PM EDT

Note that that US moved one hour ahead to Daylight Savings Time this last weekend whereas Europe and other places change time later.

“Strong family makes strong Russia:” Maternity and “traditional values” in a militarizing state

Yulia Gradskova, Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, Sweden

The presentation is dealing with the implications that the ideas and politics of “traditional values” and “familism” in Russia have for interpretations of maternity in the context of militarization of the country and growth of its imperial and nationalist ambitions (early 2010-2022). While the preoccupation with the falling birth rate and “crises of family” was in the center of the public discussions in Russia already in the period of the late socialism and perestroika, it was in 2010s when the state-manipulated “civic organizations” started systematical educational, legal and cultural activities aimed for promoting families with several children, restricting reproductive rights and fostering “patriotic” upbringing of children. The presentation analyses ideas on “good mothers” expressed through activities of very different participants of this campaign: pro-life and homeschooling organizations, Christian Orthodox psychologists and state-associated women’s organizations like Women’ Union of Russia and Union of Women’s Forces. Following N.Yuval Davis (1997) criticism of the historical construction of women as responsible for the reproduction of the collective identities and the nation itself, I explore how different actors behind the traditionalist discourses on maternity and family became mobilized for serving the Russian aggressive war on Ukraine. The presentation is a part of the project “Maternity in the time of ‘traditional values’ and femonationalism” supported by the Baltic Sea Foundation.

We ask that workshop attendees read the paper in advance. Please email mara.lazda@bcc.cuny.edu for the paper.

Updated registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us

/meeting/register/tZAod-CvrDgiGt2MhrQLdJhOiPJuHhITa-tI

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Schedule

Celebration of Ann Snitow’s last book

 Visitors: 
An American Feminist in East Central Europe

just published in Polish translation

“A feminist organizer in East Central Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall reveals the struggles of women fighting for their rights during the rise of the Right in Europe

Visitors tells the story of Ann Snitow’s adventures as a Western feminist helping to build a new, post-communist feminist movement in Eastern Central Europe. Snitow stumbles onto this fast-changing, chaotic scene by chance, but falls in love with the passionate feminists she meets in Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania. What kinds of feminism should they hope for?

Visitors is a book about forging enduring relationships and creating formerly unimaginable institutions—a feminist school, the Network of East-West Women, women’s centers, gender studies programs. It is about unity amid fractiousness and perseverance through uncertainty, Snitow’s flickering lodestar. Visitors moves gracefully between vivid anecdote, political analysis, and unsparing introspection. It is richly peopled with “brilliant” comrades and vexing detractors alike, all described with respect and humor. Every sentence is imbued with the experience and insight of this sui generis feminist activist, writer, and pedagogue of 50 years. Most of all, Visitors is the story of friendship, the heart and sinew of the leaderless feminist movement.

Reading like the best historical novel, it is intimate and worldly, resolutely unsentimental yet finally, even as the political skies darken, optimistic in the conviction that feminism can make life meaningful, fascinating, fun, pleasurable—and better for everyone, even as better is redefined again and again.”

In person RSVP: mara.lazda@bcc.cuny.edu and on Zoom, Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtdO-oqzkoHddWdeQYsDWLIKoplZ2kNjUK

European Union Studies Center

CUNY Graduate Center

365 5th Avenue, New York

Room 5203

Note for in-person attendees: ID and proof of vaccination or negative PCR test within 7 days required.

Ann Snitow was Professor Emerita of Literature and Gender Studies at Lang College, The New School. A longtime activist, Snitow cofounded The Network of East-West Women, No More Nice Girls, Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce, Take Back the Future, and New York Radical Feminists. She co-founded the women’s studies program at Rutgers University and gender studies programs at The New School, where she taught for three decades. Snitow’s best-known book is The Feminism of UncertaintyVisitors is her sixth book.

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, and The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America. Her recent memoir, In the Darkroom, won the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction.

Categories
Special Presentation

Women and sexual health: The intersections of medical science and politics during state socialism in East-Central Europe

Please join us for our third Fall 2022 meeting of the Gender & Transformation in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia workshop (In-person and Zoom)

Kateřina Lišková

Associate Professor, Masaryk University, Czechia

Friday, Nov. 4, 2022

2pm to 3pm

European Union Studies Center,

CUNY Graduate Center

365 5th Avenue, New York

Room 5203

With the advent of socialism, East-Central European (ECE) states emphasized women’s equality. I will show the unexpected progress brought to the fore by medical science in women’s sexual health. Drawing on my own and my team’s research on Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, I will focus on the first postwar decade during which abortion on demand was legalized in most ECE countries, and gynecological and pregnancy care became institutionalized. During the 1950s, medical doctors in all ECE countries focused on female reproductive capacities in the new context of women’s growing participation in the labor force. Gynecologists debated whether work presented risks to pregnancies and concluded that paid jobs actually improved women’s chances at healthy childbearing because of socialist legislation regulating work safety, improved access to gynecological check-ups and, importantly, thanks to equality and better economic standing the working status brought to women. However, experts scolded housework for posing a danger to pregnant women: often, hard work, without any regulations, was exhausting to women and underscored their unequal status compared to men. The 1950s also marked the beginning of medical experts’ sustained attention to women’s marital and sexual satisfaction. While the Western-centered accounts place women’s liberation, including in sexual and reproductive lives, in the 1960s/70s, I will argue for an earlier and systemic liberation that took place in the 1950s in the countries of the Cold War East-Central Europe. I will underscore the vital role experts played in these developments.

In person RSVP: mara.lazda@bcc.cuny.edu

on Zoom, Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqceirrDwpHtcw3BT-rOHoi3HMPgwVmoSN

We ask that participants read the paper before the workshop, which we will share with registered participants one week in advance. After a brief presentation by Prof. Lišková, most of the workshop will be devoted to discussion.

Note for in-person attendees: ID and proof of vaccination or negative PCR test within 7 days required.

Kateřina Lišková, Ph.D., is Associate Professor in sociology at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Her research focuses on gender, sexuality, expertise, and the social organization of intimacy, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. She is also affiliated as a guest researcher with the Department of History and Art History of Utrecht University. 

In 2021, she was a Senior Fellow at the Descartes Center for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities. As a Marie Curie fellow, she was affiliated with Columbia University and Technische Universität in Berlin. Previously, she was at the New School for Social Research as a Fulbright Scholar; a Visiting Scholar with New York University; and a Fellow with the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena, Germany. Cambridge University Press published her previous research in a monograph titled Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–89, which won the 2019 Barbara Heldt Prize for Best Book and received an honorable mention for the 2019 Adele E. Clarke Book Award.

Her papers have appeared in Medical History, History of the Human Sciences, History of Psychology, Sexualities, and History of the Family. She serves as an Editorial Board member for the European Journal for the History of Medicine and Health.

Categories
Presentations

Resisting Genderphobia in Hungary

Please join us for our second Fall 2022 meeting of the Gender & Transformation in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia workshop (Zoom only):

Judit Takacs

Research Professor, Centre for Social Sciences – Hungarian Academy of Sciences Centre of Excellence, Budapest, Hungary

Friday, Oct. 7

2-3PM New York City time

By analysing relevant pieces of legislation and policy documents, we show how genderphobia became a fundamental feature of an expanding far-right agenda that has been playing out in practice since the “System of National Cooperation” was established in Hungary in 2010. Genderphobia is the aversion of disrupting dominant gender and sexual hierarchies, by addressing and critically interrogating gendered differences and gender as a social construct. Genderphobia is both an ideology about the fearfulness of gender as well as the action of fear mongering for political effect. State institutions are gendered and sexualized in that they have been structured on dominant gender and sexual norms that reinforce male and heterosexual dominance. We argue that genderphobia is evident in the rise of anti-LGBTIQ policies and contributes to the weakening of democratic and liberal institutions in Hungary. We will also present examples of the Hungarian government’s attempts to monopolise the definition of “the family” and hollow out the social representation of child protection. In addition, we will explore resistance against the recent anti-LGBTIQ policies through children’s literature

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUtdumvpz8iHtUafvaXkj0W_X6S5k14YUPG

We ask that participants read the paper before the workshop, which we will share with registered participants one week in advance. After a brief presentation of the paper, most of the workshop will be devoted to discussion.

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