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).


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

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.


  • 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.

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 (

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 for the paper.

Updated registration link:


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

Presentations Schedule

Friday Feb 24th: Reflecting on the War on Ukraine with Oksana Kis

Feb 24 (Hybrid session: online and in person at the CUNY Graduate Center: Room C 201). 2pm to 3pm (New York Time)

 CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue, New York


“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

Register for Zoom link here:

Ukrainian women’s responses to the Russian full-scale military aggression against Ukraine as well as the Ukrainian society’s perception (reaction) to those responses are striking. Women’s self-mobilization for defense efforts manifested itself in two seemingly different ways: on the one end – large scale voluntary enrollment to the military to serve at the battle front, on the other end – simultaneous massive grass-roots volunteer movement of humanitarian nature at the home front. As different (or even opposite) as they may appear at first glance, these two women’s ways of engaging with defense efforts share an important common feature: both claim their rootedness in Ukrainian normative femininity with direct references to national historical legacy and folk traditions. Instead of considering these women’s wartime roles as mutually exclusive, I argue that they represent different modalities of a hybrid femininity that offers a broad spectrum of socially acceptable social roles for modern women, with women’s active citizenship defining a value attached to respective activities.

Note for in-person: Effective January 25, 2023, non-CUNY visitors will no longer need to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter the building. Instead, they will be required to show a government-issued photo ID to the security officers at the lobby’s front desk.


Spring 2023 Workshops beginning Feb 3

We’re back  for a second semester with Zoom, hybrid, and in-person sessions!

Join us Friday February 3, 2pm to 3pm NY Time (Zoom)

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

Alexandria Wilson-McDonald, Ph.D.

Professorial Lecturer | School of International Service

American University | Washington D.C.

Alexandria Wilson-McDonald, Ph.D., is a professorial lecturer in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on the politics of gender in Central Eastern Europe. She examines the gendered elements of de-democratization and social movement activism in the region. Her current book project examines the contemporary framing of gender-based violence by gender equality activists in Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland. Her forthcoming article in Communist and Post-Communist Studies examines Slovakia as a unique case in which activists have deployed a gender equality frame of violence using explicit feminist language. She has conducted extensive field research in Czechia, Slovakia, and Poland, where she was affiliated with the Faculty of Sociology at Masaryk University, Czechia, and the American Studies Center at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Dr. Wilson-McDonald has been awarded numerous research grants, including a Fulbright Research Grant, Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Research on Women and Politics, a Rothman Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, and a postdoctoral research grant by the Kosciuszko Foundation. She currently teaches courses in comparative politics, research methods, and European politics. 

We ask that workshop attendees read the paper in advance. Please email for the paper.

Register for Zoom link here:


Celebration of Ann Snitow’s last book

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: and on Zoom, Register here:

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.

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:

on Zoom, Register here:

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.

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