Roundtable - New feminist activisms in Central Asia and Russia: intersectional and decolonial perspective
The anti-gender movements and conservative “family values” seem to dominate reports on the developments with respect to gender politics and gender equality in many Central Asian states and in Russia. At the same time there is on-going feminist and queer activism in this region. How do the activists from Central Asia and Russia relate to the global discussions on equality and intersectionality? This roundtable will discuss recent developments in feminist and queer activism, focusing on the new coalitions between feminist art and women’s rights activism and pay special attention to the new approaches around the Soviet colonial legacies as well as the intersectional and decolonial perspectives in feminist theorizing and activism.
Altyn Kapalova, is a feminist and LGBT activist, an artist, and a writer based in Bishkek. She has been creating experimental art products, combining science, art and politics; Altyn converts the results of her anthropological research into works of art that aim to make the voices of vulnerable communities louder. Her curatorial expertise covers visual arts, theater and creative writing. She was the main organizer of the Feminnale art exhibition in Bishkek in 2018.
Victoria Kravtsova, feminist researcher and cultural worker, born in Smolensk, Russia. She is now based in Berlin, where she recently defended her MA Thesis (Free University). She manages a project "Feminist Translocalities" which in 2020 included the creation of an online magazine and a printed zine, as well as the organization of exhibitions in Russia and international online workshops.
Alexandra Biktimirova, student at Kazan University and feminist activist. Her research interests center on the intersections of feminism and Islam in the Volga-Ural region in Russia, as well as globally. Alexandra coordinated "Feminist Translocalities" exhibition in Kazan in Autumn 2020.
Zhanar Sekerbayeva – co-founder of the feminist initiative in Kazakhstan, Feminita. She graduated from the ‘Gumilev’ Eurasian National University recently defended her PhD thesis in Tsukuba University, Japan. Her research was focused on the processes of regulating identities and "normalization” of trans people in Kazakhstan.
Syinat Sultanalieva – feminist activist, Bishkek.
Victoria Kravtsova and Alexandra Biktimirova represent the project Feminist Translocalities. The project has multiple vectors, one of which is an exhibition created with the support of "The Year of Germany in Russia" (Goethe Institute). The exhibition has already happened in 8 cities in Russia and continues to be organized throughout this year. Each local exhibition has its own curators and is different. However, certain common elements also exist - for instance, the posters (also available on the Russian version of the website as a newspaper) that discuss the history of women's movements in Germany and Russia from a decolonial perspective. These materials, produced by activists, researchers and illustrators from Germany and Russia, tell us about experiences that have been consistently excluded from history: those of black women* and women* of color, migrant workers, trans*persons, non-heterosexual women*.
The Roundtable will be followed up in the scholarly journal Baltic Worlds.