Seditious Bodies: The Subversive Aesthetics of Vulnerability in East European Feminist Performances

Aniko Szucs

(Queen’s College, CUNY)

Friday April 12 2024

2pm to 3pm (New York Time)

In person at CUNY Graduate Center CUNY Graduate Center (room 5203, Ralph Bunche Institute)

and Zoom


Workshop format: We ask that participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, Dr. Szucs will give a brief presentation, after which we invite discussion with the in-person and online audience.

Aniko Szucs is a theater and performance studies scholar, dramaturg, and curator. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Drama, Theater, and Dance at Queens College. Dr. Szucs completed her Ph.D. in Performance Studies at New York University and earned an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy from the University of Theater and Film Arts in Budapest. She has worked as a resident and a production dramaturg in theaters across the US and Hungary. Dr. Szucs’s research interests include Central and East European political theater, feminist protest movements and performances, politics of memory, and the genealogy and critique of state surveillance.


 Seditious Bodies: The Subversive Aesthetics of Vulnerability in East European Feminist Performances 

In the recent transnational crisis of neoliberal austerity and rising neo-authoritarianism, there has been increased scholarly attention placed on forms of cultural resistance and social protest that—through performative gestures—foreground bodily vulnerability, mobilizing it as a site of connection and potentiality. Vulnerability, in this context, is a socio-political predicament that is perceived as a condition of resistance. This talk, however, considers vulnerability as an affective-aesthetic quality that distinctively characterizes contemporary East European feminist performances. Building on the genealogy of feminist body art and theory of the region, performance artists Maria Kulikovska (Ukraine) and Mikolt Tózsa (Hungary) yet again turn the female body and feminine corporeality into a vehicle of feminist resistance. The vulnerable body at the center of these performances is not merely a product of the precarious social and material conditions but a matrix of affective forces, symbolic gestures, and performative routines, one that liberates the artists from the ontological precarity of their existence. 



Special Presentation

Jewish Women in Post-World War II Eastern and Central Europe

Friday, March 8 2pm to 3pm (New York time, on Zoom)

For the workshop link and articles: Register Here

Please join us for a special workshop session with Prof. Lappin-Engel and Prof. Pető to discuss the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Nashim. This special issue of Nashim analyzes Jewish women’s history in post-World War II Eastern and Central Europe, a topic long overlooked by scholarly investigation, owing to overlapping circles of forgetting.  Addressing this gap in the scholarly literature is all the more timely in the context of the political turmoil occurring in many countries. History can be inspirational: It can show how destroyed and disappearing communities, nationalized educational and cultural infrastructure, collaboration with secret services, betrayal, and loss can be told in different ways. All these horrors, loss, destruction, misery and trauma contributed to the formation in East Central and Central Europe of a reactive and negative Jewish identity. However, the 1980’s brought an important change in Jewish life not only in the former Communist states but also in Western oriented countries. A new generation of women worked towards Jewish renewal and a new appraisal of the Jewish women of the generations preceding them. By offering a pivotal gesture of creative elaboration of new histories of Jewish women in this vast region, we hope to participate in reclaiming the future and creating models of a proactive, positive Jewish identity. All four papers by Andrea Peto, Eleonore Lappin-Eppel, Elisa Klapchek, and Galina Zelenina deal with different forms of Jewish women’s agency within the Jewish and non-Jewish environment.

For the issue see:

Workshop format: At the workshop, Prof. Lappin-Engel and Prof. Pető will have a short presentation, after which participants are invited to ask questions based on the presentation and the articles.

Andrea Pető is a historian and a Professor at the Department of Gender Studies at Central European University, Vienna, Austria, a Research Affiliate of the CEU Democracy Institute, Budapest, and a Doctor of Science of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Her works on gender, politics, Holocaust, and war have been translated into 23 languages. In 2018 she was awarded the 2018 All European Academies (ALLEA) Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values and the 2022 University of Oslo Human Rights Award. She is Doctor Honoris Causa of Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden. Recent publications include The Women of the Arrow Cross Party. Invisible Hungarian Perpetrators in the Second World War. Palgrave, Macmillan, 2020. And Forgotten Massacre: Budapest 1944. DeGruyter, 2021. Pető tweets about academic freedom and state of gender and Holocaust studies as @petoandrea

Eleonore Lappin-Eppel is an Austrian historian living in Vienna. After studying Comparative Literature and History of Ideas in the US and in Israel she worked at the Institute for Jewish History in Austria. In 2009 she became senior researcher at the Institute for Cultural Sciences and Theatre History of the Austrian Academy of Science and in 2010 staff member of the Centre for Jewish Studies at Karl-Franzens-University, Graz, where she habilitated in 2011. Areas of research are the Nazi persecution of Austrian and Hungarian Jews in Austria, transitional justice in Austria and memorial politics in Austria. Her major publications in these fields are: Ungarisch-jüdische Zwangsarbeiterinnenund Zwangsarbeiter in Österreich 1944/45. Arbeitseinsatz – Todesmärsche – Folgen, Vienna 2010; and Topographie der Shoah: Gedächtnisorte an das zerstörte jüdische Wien, zusammen mit Dieter Hecht und Michaela Raggam Blesch, Vienna 2015, 20172. She has also published on autobiographical writing of Jewish Austrians as well as edited a series of autobiographies of Jewish Austrians.



Friday February 9 2pm to 3pm (New York time)

Unveiling the War and Constructing Identities: Exploring Memes in Ukrainian and Russian Social Media during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Alina Mozolevska, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine)

On Zoom, 2pm to 3pm 


Friday February 23 2pm to 3pm (New York time)

Collective Mobilisation in Defence of Women’s Rights and Ukrainian Displaced Persons in Poland


Ania Switzer (University of British Columbia)

Jewish Women in Post-World War II Eastern and Central Europe: Special Issue of Nashim

Eleonore Lappin-Engel (Vienna) and Andrea Pető (Central European University)

Seditious Bodies: The Subversive Aesthetics of Vulnerability in Hungarian Feminist Performances

Aniko Szucs (Queens College, CUNY)

Friday May 3 2pm to 3pm (In-person, CUNY Graduate Center and on-line)

A Feminist Response to the War in Ukraine: Vlada Nedak in conversation with Janet Elise Johnson

Vlada Nedak, CEO of Project Kesher Ukraine and the Women’s Opportunity Fund of Ukraine



Memes in Ukrainian and Russian Social Media

Friday, February 9, 2pm to 3pm (New York Time)

on Zoom with

Alina Mozolevska

Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine)

Please join us for our first session of Spring 2024, with Prof. Mozolevska on “Unveiling the War and Constructing Identities: Exploring Memes in Ukrainian and Russian Social Media during the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.”

The paper examines the generation and deployment of visual narratives in Ukrainian and Russian digital participatory cultures, with a specific focus on internet memes in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It analyzes the form, content, and functions of these memes and highlights their similarity in mobilizing and conveying political messages despite variations in their visual components. The study indicates that Ukrainian memes are used not only to promote political agendas but also serve as trauma coping and collective identity construction mechanisms in times of crisis, helping to promote new war narratives that are engaged in the construction of the self and the other.

Alina Mozolevska is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philology, Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (Mykolaiv, Ukraine). She holds a PhD in Linguistics with a major in Romance Languages from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv, Ukraine (2015). Her research interests include media studies, discourse analysis, and border studies, and she has published on borders and identity in literary and political discourses.  Alina Mozolevska was a visiting professor at the UniGR-Center for Border Studies, Saarland University (Volkswagen Foundation project “Borders in Crisis”, Saarbrücken, Germany). Currently she is a ZOiS UNET Ukraine-based Fellow 2023-2024.

Format: We ask that participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, Prof. Mozolevska 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”  


Simic on Gender Policies toward Muslim Men in Socialist Yugoslavia and Bulgaria

Friday November 10

2pm to 3pm

(New York standard time)

Zoom registration link

Professor Ivan Simic, Charles University

This talk explores how Muslim men were targeted by a series of interventions aimed to change gender relations within Muslim communities. Yugoslav and Bulgarian communists were led by stereotypes about Muslim men, Muslim families, and Muslim communities, driven by socialist modernity notions. Heavily influenced by Soviet models from Central Asia, Yugoslav and Bulgarian communists aimed to create a homogenous and mobile population that would participate in the socialist project. Some policies that affected Muslim communities were universal for all, whilst some targeted Muslims explicitly. Namely, a series of interventions into Muslim communities started by introducing mandatory elementary education for girls, a ban on underage marriage, and the replacement of the Sharia law with the universal family law. Interventions continued with ban on circumcision, fez, and forced migrations. Muslim men were targeted and blamed for years for any failure of the communist modernising process, although interests of Muslim men were often fragmented – some eagerly supported new gender policies, some just wanted to be left in peace to their lives, and some found ways to resist the changes.

We ask that participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, Prof. Simic will make a short presentation, after which participants will be invited to ask questions based on the paper and presentation. Registered participants will receive a draft of the paper.


Fall Schedule 2023

We continue to meet on Fridays from 2pm to 3pm (New York time), with some Zoom and some hybrid sessions.

 We are excited to add several special sessions, co-hosted with the Endowed Chairship in Women’s and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College, CUNY.

Sept. 8, 2023, 2-3PM: Zoom

Bénédicte Santoire (University of Ottawa)

Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Long-term Protracted Conflicts: Exploring the Cases of Moldova and Georgi

Santoire Zoom registration link 

Tuesday , Oct. 10, 2:15-3:30PM:  Hybrid: Brooklyn College and Zoom.

 Kristen Ghodsee (University of Pennsylvania) in conversation with 

 journalist  Liza Featherstone

on Everyday Utopia, ​​“You and Me and Baby Makes Misery: Expanding Our Networks of Love and Care,” and Alexandra Kollontai

Woody Tanger Auditorium, Brooklyn College Library 

Ghodsee and Featherstone Zoom registration link

Co-hosted with the Endowed Chair in Women’s and Gender Studies, Brooklyn College,  Janet Elise Johnson 

Monday, Oct. 30, 2:15-4:45PM : In-person at Women’s Center, Brooklyn College, CUNY

Cynthia Enloe (Clark University), 

Book Launch:

 Twelve Feminist Lessons of War

in coordination the new Institute on Gender, Law, and Transformative Peace at CUNY Law

Brooklyn College Women’s Center

Enloe Zoom link:

Friday, Nov. 10th 2pm to 3pm: Zoom

Ivan Simic, Charles University, Prague

Gender Policies Towards Muslim Men in Socialist Yugoslavia and Bulgaria

Simic Zoom registration link

Friday, Dec. 8 12:30-2: In person and via zoom

(special CUNY REEES Workshop)

Nicholas Boston (Lehman College, CUNY) presents new research on “The Amorous Migrant: Polish Gay Men in the United Kingdom, 2004-2020“.

CUNY Graduate Center (room 5203, Ralph Bunche Institute), with reception to follow. Registration link for Zoom


First Fall 2023 meeting September 8, 2pm on Zoom

Please join us Friday, September 8, 2pm to 3pm (NY Time) when we welcome:

Bénédicte Santoire, University of Ottawa

Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Long-term Protracted Conflicts: Exploring the Cases of Moldova and Georgia

Bénédicte Santoire is a PhD Candidate and Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She researches and teaches in the areas of feminist international relations theories and feminist security studies. Her doctoral thesis focuses on the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda in the post-Soviet space, more specifically in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia.

This meeting will take place on Zoom. Register here

We ask that registered participants read the paper in advance. At the workshop, Santoire will provide a brief (20 min) presentation, after which attendees are invited to share questions and suggestions based on the presentation and paper. The paper will provided one week in advance.

Presentations Schedule

May 12: Kanjuo Mrčela on Gender Pay Gap in Slovenia

Join us Friday, May 12, 2pm to 3pm (New York time)

in person and online when we welcome

Aleksandra Kanjuo Mrčela

professor at the Department of Sociology of Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, on:

Which invisible hand makes Slovene women earn less than men?”

This presentation is based on a longer project co-authored with Alena Křížková, Andreja Poje, and Andrew Penner.

The transition to the full flagged market economy didn’t bring the best results for the highly educated and experienced female labor force in Slovenia. On the contrary, from 2010 to 2018 the gender pay gap rose from 0,9 to 9,3 %. The contribution seeks to understand the impact of intertwining structural and individual factors on the economic situation of women and men in a small, transitional, globally embedded economy. The paper is based on data that show negative trends, especially in terms of increasing differences in wages of women and men. In the analysis, in addition to theoretical discussions on the position of women and men on the labor market, we analyze the results of a survey conducted in 2016 (in time of the rising gender pay gap) on a representative national sample and some recent smaller research endeavors that gave us insight in the placement of women and men in different organizational/sectoral environments, as well as in the individual strategies of men and women in the labor market. We analyzed experiences of workers regarding working conditions, employment, wage and promotion as well as opinions and experiences of employers regarding the recruitment, promotion and rewarding of female and male workers.

We ask that participants read the paper in advance. After a short presentation, we will invite participants to discuss.

In-person attendees: Register & receive paper here

On-line attendees: Register & receive paper here

In-person location:
European Union Studies Center

CUNY Graduate Center

365 Fifth Avenue

Room 5203

Questions? Workshop co-coordinators

Mara Lazda ( and Janet Johnson (


April 21 (online) Zaharijević on Debunking Myths on/in the East of Europe

Join us for our April 21 meeting at 2pm to 3pm (New York time) on Zoom, when we welcome Adriana Zaharijević, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade.

In this presentation, Zaharijević examines a myth within East/West feminist venues. By addressing it, she tackles several issues that are marring feminist scholarship and also feminist public life. The first will refer to hierarchies within feminist postsocialist scholarship, the second to the incompatibility of myth to different feminist realities, and the third to the entrenching of divisions within feminisms, this time thriving on recognition/redistribution, economy/culture, class/gender divides.

We ask that participants read the author’s short paper in advance. Zaharijević will give a short presentation at the workshop, and then participants will be invited to share their comments and suggestions.

Please email for the paper.

Register for Zoom link here:

Questions: Mara Lazda ( or Janet E. Johnson (

Presentations Schedule

Spring 2023 schedule

Feb. 3 (online)

Framing Gender-based Violence in the Period of Anti-genderism: case studies of Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland

Alexandria Wilson-McDonald, Professorial Lecturer | School of International Service

American University | Washington D.C.

Feb 24 (online and in person: Room C 201) 


“Here is our front”: Hybridization of Normative Femininity During Russia’s War on Ukraine

Oksana Kis, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, visiting professor, the New School of Social Research

in discussion with Olena Nikolayenko, Professor of Political Science, Fordham University, and Karyn Grossman Gershon, CEO, Project Kesher

Mar 17 (online)

“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

Registration link:

April 21 (online)

Debunking Myths on/in the East of Europe

Adriana Zaharijević, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade, Serbia

Zoom registration link:

May 12 (online and in person: Room 5203)

Which invisible hand makes Slovene women earn less than men?

Aleksandra Kanjuo-Mrčela, Professor Chair for Organizational and Human Resource Management and Development, Centre for Organisational and Human Resources Research,  University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Registration link:

RSVP required. For Zoom participants, register with the link. For In-Person participants, email to register