CFP: Gender-Power-Eastern Europe – Berlin 10/16

From:    Agnieszka Wierzcholska <>
Date:    22.09.2016
Subject: CFP: Gender-Power-Eastern Europe – Berlin 10/16

Osteuropa-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
20.10.2016, Berlin
Deadline: 20.10.2016

Call for papers for an international interdisciplinary conference, 20
-23 June 2017 in Berlin

Gender – Power – Eastern Europe
Changing Concepts of Femininities and Masculinities and Power Relations

The rise of right wing populist parties and conservative movements in
Eastern Europe , from Poland to Hungary and Russia, has dramatically
affected discourses about and concepts of gender. The « turn to the
right »  has also ushered substantial shifts in policies concerning
women’s rights as well as gender studies as an academic and educational
project.  Arguably, in some cases right wing political victory was
facilitated by usage of anti-gender equality rhetoric (anti-genderism;
anti-gender mobilization).  These worrisome developments demand
exploration in broader contexts. Yet, the situation in East European
societies is quite diverse if scrutinized from a gender perspective.
After the transformation process of the early 1990s, increasing
participation and liberation of women in public spheres can be observed
in various countries. Other countries like Poland and Hungary
experienced setbacks at several points of their history and in diverse
spheres of society. There, traditional gender roles re-entered the
discourse and practice. In other countries again, new problems arose
with political and territorial tensions. In Ukraine, for example, spaces
of violence and war are forcing us to monitor gender roles, women’s
rights, and participation from a new perspective. In Russia, Ukraine and
Belarus strong anti-authoritarian protests are renegotiating gender
roles and concepts in multiple ways , and creating new potentials for
feminist and LGBTQ movements.
The role of gender within power relations of new political and social
constellations, the participation of women in politics, economics and
warfare, as well as spaces of violence need to be scrutinized and
explored. The Institute of Eastern European Studies at the Freie
Universität in Berlin is inviting scholars from different disciplines to
debate these questions in an interdisciplinary conference entitled
« Gender – Power- Eastern Europe » to be held in June 2017 in Berlin. Our
aim is to open up a space for discussions not only about recent
developments, but also to investigate the cultural, sociological and
historical patterns of these developments in the longue durée. Above
all, we focus on the agency of women and thus we move away from
describing the status of women solely as an objects of discrimination in
economic and societal structures. Similarly important are the new roles
and models of masculinities exercised by men in Central and Eastern
Europe, which are being shaped within and outside of family. Finally, we
intend to explore how power relations are negotiated in diverse
societies and what role gender plays therein.

Three thematic panels are planned:

1) The new conservativism and changing concepts of masculinity and
2) Gender and participation in politics and economics
3) Gender, sexuality, and violence

Panel descriptions:

1) This panel will explore the gender dimension of the new political
configuration – right wing populism. Concepts of masculinity and
femininity and their historical, political, sociological and cultural
heritage and legacies will be at the focus of attention. Papers focusing
on the interconnectedness of gender concepts and national discourses are
welcome. We are intending to debate mechanisms of inclusion, exclusion
and instrumentalization of certain images and concepts of femininity and
masculinity and their re-figurations in contemporary East European
discourses. Both theoretical and  empirical papers are invited for this

2) Participation of women will be the key issue in this panel. We
welcome papers addressing  political participation of women in Eastern
Europe, especially formal and substantive representation in parliament,
official institutions or the role of political quotas. Economic factors
are vital to understanding how gender roles and gender relations of
power are constructed. Powerful economic actors can influence not only
discourses, but also economic realities of men, women and families. In
2009 Nancy Fraser’s critique of the neoliberal market policies and the
consequences of financial crisis brought about an important debate on
the role of women’s social movements in neoliberal landscapes.  Numerous
scholars have shown the profound effects of neoliberal policies  on the
socio-economic position of women in Eastern Europe during and after the
transformation. On the one hand, economic policies contribute to the
rise of new gender regimes and change the nature of activism.  On the
other hand, also pro-family and social policies are capable of creating
new economic realities.

3) This panel addresses the power relations in both public and private
spheres, where gender is discoursively produced and reproduced, but also
where violence is perpetuated. Several countries in the Balkan region
and post-Soviet republics serve as source countries for traffickers in
women, which has been recognized by Human Rights Watch as one of the
most severe examples of human rights violations in Eastern Europe. Other
types of relations between gender, power and violence can be observed in
the case of Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, where women actively
participated in military formations. Additional topics, which are
welcome in this panel, might include: domestic violence and the fight
against it, gender in right-wing violence, gender and militarization,
alternations in abortion laws, changing landscape of LGBTQ movements in
Eastern Europe.

Scholars from a wide range of disciplines are invited to participate.
Comparative papers are very welcome in order to reveal intertwined
processes occurring in different East European countries.

Please send your abstract of around 500 words and a CV to the following
email address until 20th of October 2016:

The organizing committee:
Prof. Katharina Bluhm, Dean of the Institute of Eastern European
Prof. Gertrud Pickhan, Head of History Department at the Institute of
Eastern European Studies
Dr. Justyna Stypinska, Department of Sociology at the Institute of
Eastern European Studies
Agnieszka Wierzcholska, Department of History at the Institute of
Eastern European Studies
Dr. hab. Agnieszka Graff, American Studies Centre, University of Warsaw

Agnieszka Wierzcholska

Osteuropa-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystr. 55, 14195 Berlin


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