Here you can find the program for our three-day conference, which will take place on Thursday at the Monacensia in the Hildebrandhaus and on the other two days at the Kulturzentrum LUISE. The conference is bilingual in German and English, the language of the respective event is marked.
This talk, in a first section, engages with the colonial and global capitalist imposition of dominant global northern concepts of gender and sexuality across the global south(s). In a second section, the talk addresses hegemonic and subaltern definitions of, and practices relative to, gender and sexuality that abound today. Finally, in a third section the talk discusses present movements and activisms for decolonizing gender and sexuality, via a focus on some queer activist groups and movements – in France, England, Morocco, Uganda – that are part of the Decolonizing Sexualities Network.
In the context of this discussion, we want to get into conversation with academics who research different social movements and are partly also involved in them. For this purpose, we have invited the following guests: Meryem Choukri (Warwick/Gießen) on intersectional feminism and anti-racist movements, Francis Seeck (Nuremberg) on struggles of trans and non-binary people, Mansoureh Shojaee (The Hague) on the revolution in Iran, Olga Shparaga (Vienna/Minsk) on the democracy movement in Belarus and Manuela Zechner (Jena) on climate protests and ecological crises. In this context, we are guided by the following questions: What specific role does gender play in these movements? To what extent do the movements reference each other, where do parallels and differences exist? Can the observation that gender has become a central category of contemporary social movements be empirically confirmed? What is actually new and what has changed? Against the background of the panelists’ political engagement, we also want to talk about how they navigate the tension between academia and activism.
Attacks against “gender ideology” play a key role in the illiberal project of demonizing liberalism by reducing it to its socio-cultural dimension and culturalizing political cleavages. While anti-genderism’s origins are religious, the role of religion in illiberal anti-gender politics is often instrumental. This lecture explores what is meant by ‘resistance to gender’ and how this trend resonates with core features of the illiberal worldview: its anti-modernism, anti-globalism, anti-individualism, and post-postmodernism. Evidence of the convergence between illiberalism and anti-genderism is drawn from three countries: Poland, Hungary, and Spain. In each case, illiberal forces have made use of anti-gender rhetoric to mobilize the electorate and demonize the opposition, presenting it as a threat to children and the family. I offer the concept of opportunistic synergy to capture the growing ideological affinity and developing political collaboration between religious fundamentalists, ultraconservative civil society actors, and right-wing politicians.
This presentation aims to provide a nuanced and comprehensive overview of the realities faced by Afghan women in Afghanistan. In addition, the presentation seeks to raise awareness about the urgent need for sustained global attention and collaborative efforts to support Afghan women in reclaiming their rights to education, employment, and social freedoms despite the challenging circumstances they face. The focus is on the constraints imposed on girls’ education, the restrictions on women in the workforce, and the curtailment of social freedoms. After the presentation, the panel is also open for a moderated discussion about a more broadly gender-sensitive perspective on the situation in Afghanistan and Germany.
With her “school strike for the climate,” in 2018, the young activist Greta Thunberg started an international climate movement which has since organized internationally under the hashtag #FridaysforFuture. As the figurehead of the movement, Greta soon became the target of far-right climate denialists. In light of the example of Anti- Greta memes, which have appeared en masse, the workshop first provides an insight into the political relevance of internet memes. But what is it exactly that the far right is bothered by with regards to Greta Thunberg? In a theoretical part of the workshop, we will take a closer look at the ideological connections between anti-feminism and climate denialism. Misogynistic images, fear and hatred of women, especially at the moment of their emancipation from specific gender roles, are deeply embedded in Western culture and society (Planert, 1998). If gender relations are understood as a natural relation mediated by culture, a psychodynamic or subject-theoretical approach might be helpful to undergird the domination-theoretical conceptualization of gender as a category that assigns subjects to specific places in society. As such, gender, and in particular the “penning in” of an intractable, emancipatory, and progressive femininity, can be understood as a psychological defense against conflict. Greta Thunberg points her finger at the climate catastrophe and thus makes us aware of the destructive consequences of human actions in capitalism. She points out the limitations of human omnipotence and even the threat to its existence. Precisely because such painful and threatening awareness processes are being avoided, misogynistic images and memes of the activist seem to serve as lightning rods for diffuse fears and aggressions. In the practical part of the workshop, the participants will be invited to analyze an anti-Greta meme with the help of the psychoanalytic social psychological depth hermeneutic interpretation method following Alfred Lorenzer (1986).
We invite you to a discussion on the relationship between feminism and anti-racism. Our guests will reflect from different perspectives on their understanding of anti-racist feminism as well as their own experiences within feminist movements. We will discuss whether and how different positions are marginalised in political struggles and how these challenges should be addressed. We will also discuss the foundations and goals of anti-racist feminism and analyse alliances and potential rifts between different feminist movements and activists. The visibility and orientation of white feminism in the German context will be critically examined, while we will also explore the connection between local activism and global feminist movements. Furthermore, the relationship between activism and academic knowledge will be in focus, highlighting the interactions and challenges between movement knowledge and academic knowledge. Finally, we will also address the role of gender identities and queerness in anti-racist feminist discourses.
The roundtable will take an in-depth look at the role of women* in the democracy movement in Belarus. The participants, Olga Shparaga (Vienna/Minsk) and Yuliya Salauyova(Berlin), offer a reflective analysis of the experiences and observations during this crucial phase of the Belarusian protest from a biographical, activist and academic perspective. The discussion aims to shed light on the perspective taken by women* in the movement and to ask about their significant participation in political decision-making processes.
The starting point for the discussion is the presidential election of August 9, 2020, in which the government was accused of electoral fraud. However, this election was only the most recent event in the country’s turbulent history that finally broke the camel’s back. In 1994, incumbent Alexander Lukashenko was elected president in the last elections considered free and is still the first and only president since Belarus gained independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In recent decades, Lukashenko’s authoritarian government has repeatedly imposed restrictions on press freedom, banned rallies and persecuted members of the opposition in order to nip any attempts at democracy in Belarusian society in the bud.
The leading role of women* is often emphasized as a special feature of the mass protests triggered in 2020. The focus of the discussion will therefore lie on the question of the challenges to traditional gender roles in an authoritarian political context and the contribution of women* to the transformation of political landscapes. The discussion will shed light on the complexity of female participation: from symbolic presence to strategic planning, from artistic groups to the role of opposition leaders, from women’s marches to the establishment of the FemGroup as a form of political representation of women* in the new Belarusian pro-democratic structures.
The event offers space for an in-depth dialogue about the experiences of women* in a political environment characterized by upheaval and uncertainty. The motivations of women* behind their active participation and the hurdles they have to overcome will be discussed. Through the perspectives of the participants, the often overlooked facets of female participation in political protests will become visible. At the same time, this perspective should help not only to articulate the activities of women*, including those in prisons in Belarus and in Belarusian diasporas worldwide, and to understand them as a part of political participation, but also to unfold their vision of a democratic, pluralistic and inclusive Belarus of the future. Finally, the discussion aims to provide a nuanced understanding of the female dimension of the protest while raising important questions about the future of women’s political participation, in Belarus and beyond.
Documentary screening of „The Sisters of Protest“ (34mag.net)
Old-age poverty is female. In 2021, the average German old-age pension payments for women (832 euros West/1072 euros East) were significantly lower than those for men (1218 euros West/1143 euros East). Reasons for this inequality include a gender-specific labor market, the still prevalent Male Breadwinner Model, and the increasing dismantling of the welfare state. Living in old-age poverty entails, on the one hand, managing with limited resources. On the other hand, old-age poverty also has emotional effects on those affected. Feelings of failure, shame, guilt, fear of the future, worries, feelings of inferiority, loneliness, or even melancholy regarding denied future prospects are also consequences of the aforementioned structural issues that deeply affect individuals. The cultural scholar, Dr. des. Alexandra Rau, along with the artist Maria Berauer, examines this affective dimension of experiences with old-age poverty through a lecture performance. Drawing from interview material collected as part of the DFG research project “Precarious Retirement” (led by Prof. Dr. Irene Götz) at LMU, women from various backgrounds are given a voice. How does old-age poverty feel for those affected, and what effects do these feelings have on their everyday scope of action?
Through a combination of ethnographic portraits, theoretical text fragments, and artistic interventions, the lecture performance not only highlights the structural aspect of female old-age poverty but also aims to make it physically palpable. Furthermore, it also explores collective action perspectives. The performance thus aims ultimately to point to possible voids in social movements that span along the gender category. While female old-age poverty is indeed addressed as a cross-cutting issue in the context of feminist movements, it is primarily women who speak there and denounce old-age poverty as a potential future scenario. The current subject experiencing old-age poverty appears to be relatively invisible in public debates. The examination of the affective dimension of female old-age poverty ultimately reveals that the solidarity and political mobilization of affected women are hindered by field-specific emotional states.
The portraits and text fragments will be read in dialogue by the author Alexandra Rau (Munich), the actress Shirli Volk (Munich) and the performer Sara van der Weck (Munich), and physically and performatively staged by the artist Maria Berauer (Munich).
FLINTA* are invited to sing together with the choir. After a short insight into feminist choir work, the participants will rehearse two polyphonic pieces that will be performed in front of the conference audience in the evening. In this context, both substantive insights are provided, and feminist demands are transformed into sound. Empowerment, on the other hand, is also experienced physically and creatively: Each individual voice becomes an essential part of the greater whole, creating a shared soundscape that aims to have political impact.
No prior knowledge required.
Gender and nation are two powerful systems of social classification that produce alignment and identification, exclusion and distance. We all understand their relevance for social organisation including family, work and the State. However, the nation is ‘the least theorized and recognized of the intersectional categories’ (Puar, 2013: 377).
The idea and construction of the nation implies specific notions of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ (Yuval Davis, 1997). ’Real’ men have traditionally been presented as the (militarised) defenders of the nation, with women as the biological and cultural reproducers of the nation (Slootsmaecker, 2019; Yuval Davis, 1997). The body politic, the medieval metaphor that equates a state, nation or other collectivity (a church, a society) with a body, has always referred to a male biological body (Gatens, 1996).
The connection of men to politics and nations was often invisible and considered natural/normal/the norm. In 1983, Hartsock discussed ‘abstract masculinity’ (1983) and in 1985, Dyer used the ‘air’ as a metaphor for the unnoticed but yet powerful presence of masculine standards everywhere.
In this lecture, I will explore the connections of men, masculinities, politics and nations departing from the concepts of embodiment, performance and resonance in order to analyse (masculine) bodies as thick, meaningful and overflown. We seem to be living today a ‘political revival of masculinism’ (Mellström, 2016: 135) that is linked to ethnonationalism but also to the idea of men’s aggrieved entitlement (Kimmel, 2017) and their victimisation on the hands of feminist agendas. The ideas of a revival and a crisis of masculinities coexist and are activated politically, mainly by the European right-wing populisms which are anti-feminist, (ethno) nationalist and masculinist. To study masculine bodies through national politics is, then, essential to situate the gendered body as a place of political agency and to visibilise how masculinity/masculinism plays a fundamental role in the political arena.
What unites feminist counselors, therapists, social workers, and educators/lecturers? They all take gender into account as a conflictual structural category in their work contexts, they operate within interpersonal interaction and pursue the claim to move power relations by means of knowledge transfer. Advising, teaching, supporting, intervening or guiding, they try to resist patriarchal logics in their daily work practice. If the concept of a movement is understood broadly to include forms of resistance that are not expressed in the streets but pursue the political goal of bringing about social change, then all those actors can be understood as part of a feminist movement who aim for change in these fields of activity.
Feminist approaches to counselling and therapy in this respect are not new. Since the 1970s, during the second women’s movement and the so-called consciousness-raising groups, they have been part of the repertoire of therapeutic measures, even if they are still underrepresented. Social work also looks back on a differentiated field of gender theoretical perspectives and, not least in the university context, anti-discriminatory teaching-learning concepts have found their way into further education programmes. Nevertheless, the inclusion and questioning of subject-structure contexts is still not part of the mainstream within the work contexts listed here, but is practised there only by a few – mostly explicitly labelled as feminist.
The open workshop is intended to give space to this niche perspective. With this format, we want to create a shared place for exchange, assessment and networking. Based on the respective everyday professional experiences and practices, we want to work out commonalities and differences, debate synergy effects as well as common pitfalls of the individual fields of work and finally think constructively into the future: How can feminist approaches in counselling, therapy and education settings possibly be collectively continued by means of which concrete methods in order to improve individual life situations as well as to change social relations of inequality. The format follows the principle of un-conference, and invites everyone who is interested or would like to contribute.
In various European countries the access to abortion is being limited and very often is expected to be kept a private matter. A circle, transformational practice derived from a shamanic tradition, is a conversation format where all the voices are equal and being heard. We would like to propose an abortion circle of personal narratives, inspired by an event gathering herstories of abortion artists, accompanying the Beata Rojek’s and Sonia Sobiech’s exhibition Yesterday’s Dreams Weave the Ruins of Tomorrow’s Temples (66P gallery, Wrocław, Poland, 2022).
We would like to encourage different personal narratives related to abortion – experienced as a personal, relational or a social experience – to emerge within a safe space of listeners. We would like not only to hold a circle where a variety of voices might be heard without judgement, but also to encourage us as an academic community to take a collective insight on our positionalities and the relation of law and cultural practice.
The theme for this circle would therefore be abortion stigma and the embodiment of transnational feminist artistic practices which strength might be surprisingly different than what might be expected based on the particular countries’ legal systems. We believe that igniting such an exchange of lived experiences is an opportunity to hold a space for a transcultural exchange of stories from very conscious individuals. We would also like this circle to be an opportunity to collectively navigate in the gendered field of abortion experiences, making it as inclusive as possible and at the same time keeping it a safe space for those in particular, who might have/had their abortion as a lived experience.
We would also like to share our experiences and skills with the event participants and encourage them to reuse this format: replicate, adjust and reapply in their diverse communities.