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Exploring the relation between anti-gender politics and democracy: the Baltic Sea region and beyond.

This two-day conference focuses on anti-gender politics in Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries.

The two regions are routinely seen as contrasting cases when it comes to gender equality politics, but exhibit many similarities in the ways in which opposition to gender theory and minority rights have developed. We aim to share novel research and discuss topical societal issues including anti-feminism, attacks on academic freedom and LGBTQ rights, xenophobia and racism related to the rise of right-wing populism and religious fundamentalism.

With a special emphasis on the Baltic Sea region, we will explore the diverse roots and impacts of this trend in the context of the quality of democracy and democratic decline.

The conference will address the following key questions:

1️⃣ What are the varied roots and expressions of global anti-gender campaigns in the Baltic Sea Region and what are the unique challenges to democracy posed by anti-gender movements in different national contexts?
2️⃣ How to interpret anti-gender politics in ‘gender conservative’ vs ‘gender equal’ countries? How does the anti-gender agenda play out in these contexts and what does it mean for the future of feminism and democracy?
3️⃣ What are the ways in which progressive actors have mobilized and responded to anti-gender campaigns? What can the Nordic countries learn from Central and Eastern Europe in this respect?
We cordially invite you to join us to address one of democracy's central challenges and pave the way for informed, democratic responses to anti-gender campaigns.

DAY 1: 26 September
10.00-10.15: Opening of the Conference
10.15-12:00 Panel 1. Politics of reproduction
Marta Kolankiewicz (Lund University), “Legal activism and uses of human rights-claims in anti-gender mobilizations in Poland”
Ulrika Dahl (Uppsala University), “All (anti)gender politics are Reproductive politics: Reproduction, Nationhood and Family in the Illiberal turn”
Zuzanna Rokita (University of Warsaw), “Abortion stigma in Polish political discourse – new anti-abortionist’s strategists”
Jenny Gunnarsson-Payne (Södertörn University), “Ambivalent Desires: Queer kinship at the interface of anti-gender politics and homonationalism”
12.00 - 13:00 break
13.00 - 14.30 Panel 2. Defending the children, family and women: varieties of (ethno)nationalist discourses in anti-gender politics
Emil Edenborg, Fanny Ambjörnsson and Elin Bengtsson (Stockholm University), “Shameless storytelling: The child and gendered visions of the future in controversies around Drag story time in Sweden”
Ivan Tranfić (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), “For Family Values, against 'Gender' – Illiberal Movement Parties in Southeast Europe”
Soheyla Yazdanpanah (Södertörn University), “Exploring the Nexus of Anti-Gender Movements and Femonationalism in Swedish Politics”
14.30-15:00 break
15.00 - 16.45 Panel 3. Struggles around LGBTQ+ rights
Ov Cristian Norocel (Lund University) and Katarina Pettersson (University of Helsinki), “Anti-gender politics in Finland and Romania: struggles around equal marriage rights”
Matti Pihlajamaa (University of Helsinki), “Self-ID as a Threat? Gender knowledge of the opposition to the 2023 gender recognition reform in Finland”
Kirill Polkov (Södertörn University), “Global movements, local halts: Exploring the 2022-2023 Russian anti-LGBTQ legislation discourse”
Eva Svatoňová (University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně), “Political Economy in the Czech Discourses on Same-sex Marriage and Re-definition of Rape”
16.45-17.00 break
17:00-18:00 Roundtable

DAY 2: 27 September
9.00-10.30 Panel 4. Conceptualizing the relation between anti-gender politics and democracy: are we dealing with populism, illiberalism or fascism?
Diana Mulinari (Lund University), “Sweden: Ethno-racism and neofascism on the agenda”
Agnieszka Graff (University of Warsaw), “Decadence, rootless masses, and grooming: anti-gender phenomenon’s fascist roots”
Eva Karlberg, Elżbieta Korolczuk and Hansalbin Sältenberg (Södertörn University), “Violent encounters: Conceptualizing anti-gender politics in Sweden”
10.30-10.45 break
10.45 - 12.15 Panel 5. Authoritarianism and violence
Andrea Krizsan (CEU) and Connie Roggeband (University of Amsterdam), “Gender based violence and autocratization – a practice based approach”
Iris B. Segers and Katherine A. Kondor (C-REX and University of Oslo, and Norwegian Center for Holocaust and Minority Studies), “Anti-gender mobilization in (il)liberal contexts: a comparative analysis of the Netherlands and Hungary”
Yulia Gradskova (Södertörn University), “Anti-gender politics as an ideology for political authoritarianism and the feminist resistance”
12.15-13.15 Break
13.30 - 15.00 Panel 6. From local to global and back: disentangling international dimensions of anti-gender campaigns
Laura Luciani (Ghent University) and Maryna Shevtsova (KU Leuven), “Sexuality Securitised: Implications of Russia's Invasion of Ukraine for anti-LGBTQ politics in Eastern Europe”
Míla O’Sullivan (Institute of International Relations Prague), “Variations in Gendering Foreign Policy: From Transformative Model to Illiberal Anti-gender Policy and Practice”
Elisabeth L. Engebretsen (University of Stavanger), “Sino-Nordic Perspectives on Global Anti-Gender Movements”
15:00-15:30 Farewell

This conference is funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies and is organized by the Swedish team of the Horizon-funded project CCINDLE : Co-Creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces Across Europe.

Time and place

26 September 2024, 10:00 - 27 September 2024, 16:00


Södertörn University, MB 505, find us


Arranged by

CCINDLE project: Co-Creating Inclusive Intersectional Democratic Spaces Across Europe


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