Categories
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: https://muse.jhu.edu/issue/50101

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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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.

Categories
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. 

Categories
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).

Categories
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

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
Special Presentation

2022-23 Call for Papers

Thanks everyone for participating last year in helping us co-innovate this workshop into the Zoom era with our new host, CUNY’s Center for European Studies. This year, we’d like to continue to innovate with a schedule that alternates between online transnational events and in-person events in NYC at the CUNY Graduate Center. In these ways, we hope to continue this workshop founded in 1993, 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, and their relationship to Europe and the European Union.

Theme

While we remain open to any related topics, it is hard not to think about the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Thus, this year, we are most 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. We also hope to have one session celebrating and considering Ann Snitow’s last book, Visitors: An American Feminist in East Central Europe, as COVID preventing us from doing so since its publication. The book is also coming out in Polish this year.

Details

  • Meet monthly on Fridays, at the CUNY Grad Center in New York City or via Zoom, 2-3 PM New York time (8-9PM Poland time)
  • Presenters share a 10-15 page paper in advance to those who have registered. The workshop presentation will be limited 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.

The purpose is to continue as 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.

If you would like to present, please fill out this google form: https://forms.gle/QFvM1QRn83R5mJah9

We regret that, as of this year, we have no funds for an honorarium.

All are welcome to participate. We will start reviewing proposals on Aug. 1, 2022.

Categories
Special Presentation

5/13 motherhood in the GDR

“We always also did this for our children”:  Motherhood in the GDR between Socialism and Opposition

Yanara Schmacks, CUNY Graduate Center

Friday, May 13, 2022 2-3PM New York City time via Zoom

Register in advance using this Zoom Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIlcu-vqDMoH9bzRWIdC2tUd1VgkbLHkJkY

Looking at the ways in which GDR women activists and writers dealt with motherhood, this paper explores how they, in conversation with and sometimes opposition to the state, renegotiated socialist modernity. East German women writers drew up alternative, socialist versions of maternity, framing the mother-child relationship as a platonic partnership between mother and child and, in stark contrast to their Western counterparts, deemphasizing the bodily elements of motherhood. These positions toward motherhood and children were often ultimately politically in line with culturally hegemonic ideas about the socialist family that were promoted by the state. Yet, in the 1980s, motivated by intense maternal concern for their children in the face of growing Cold War tensions and environmental destruction, GDR women’s activists tried to actively intervene at the state level to improve the future of their children instead of focusing on their own identities as mothers, thereby becoming involved in oppositional activities and ultimately contributing to bringing about the Wende in 1989.

Participants are asked to read the paper in advance. After a brief presentation by the speaker, most of the workshop will be devoted to discussion. Please email mara.lazda@bcc.cuny.edu for the paper.

About the speaker

Yanara Schmacks is a PhD candidate in Modern European History at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York. She is working on a cultural-intellectual history of motherhood in the three postwar German states from the 1970s to the early 2000s, exploring how the maternal served as a space for the renegotiation of both the German past as well as the East-West divide and reunification. She has received a BA in Liberal Arts & Sciences from University College Maastricht and an MA in Interdisciplinary Antisemitism Studies from Technical University Berlin. Her research on conceptualizations of motherhood in the West German 1970s and 1980s has been published in Central European History and Psychoanalysis and History. She is currently a fellow at the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies at the Free University in Berlin.