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Gender and Sexuality in European (Geo)Politics

Online Lecture Series

The challenges facing the European Union today are multiple, with the Covid-19 pandemic both heightening existing forms of inequality and exclusion, as well as serving to radicalize political debates. This virtual seminar series will discuss how these contemporary challenges can be more fully understood by engaging with feminist and intersectional scholarship, drawing attention to the key role of gender and sexuality in shaping political debates and new and old forms of discrimination.

Collaboration between ACES Themes ‘Europe in the World’ and ‘Diverse Europe’

Series coordinator: Hanna L. Muehlenhoff

Gender has become a key battle ground for populist forces across Europe, most visibly in countries such as Hungary and Poland that have wielded the rubric of ‘anti-genderism’ to mobilize against the European Union. Questions of gender and sexuality also increasingly mark the shaping of migration policy and attitudes towards migrants, represented by populist forces across the EU as a ‘demographic threat’. At the same time, the pandemic has further exacerbated underlying gendered inequalities of European societies, and, as such, has made them highly visible.

The European Commission’s recent emphasis on gender and intersectionality in both internal and external policy could be read as a response to those developments. Nevertheless, such a positioning might simply serve to polarise the debate further, presenting the EU as a civilized and ‘civilising’ force to a variety of ‘underdeveloped’ Others (both beyond and within the Union’s borders), while not living up to its own values internally. Moreover, LGBT norms can also be hijacked by populists as identity markers of ‘European belonging’, serving not to include but rather exclude ‘intolerant’ Others.  

This series brings together practitioners and scholars from different disciplines engaging both in conceptual and theoretical debates around feminist and intersectional theory, as well as discussing concrete policy debates linked to the role of gender, sexuality and intersectionality. The events will focus on topics including: projections of (racialized) femininities and masculinities in European identity, discourses and practices; gender and populism in Europe; gender and race in migration policy; gender equality in the EU, and the theory and practice of feminist foreign policy in the European context.

You can register for a special newsletter to get updated when new events are organised, published on YouTube or to share background material. 

In Focus: A Feminist EU in the World

This ‘In Focus’  subseries zooms in on the European Union’s ambitions to become a feminist or gender actor in the world. The world faces increasing levels of poverty and inequality, rising militarism, protracted conflicts, and a pressing climate crisis. Women are affected disproportionately by these harms, while their involvement in decision-making processes to overcome these problems is marginalized at best. In fact, recent years have seen a massive encroachment on the rights of women, and marginalized groups, as well as backlash against feminist, human rights and climate justice activism. Feminist activists, scholars and policy-makers have long argued that there can be no peace and that these challenges cannot and should not be tackled without an intersectional feminist approach. In this series, we discuss such a feminist approach in relation to the EU’s external action.       

Series coordinators:

Pola Cebulak: Humanities Faculty, Department of European Studies and Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

Hanna L. Muehlenhoff: Humanities Faculty, Department of European Studies and Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies

Lara Talsma: Law Faculty, Amsterdam Center for International Law (ACIL) and the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG)

Recorded Events

  • Risk analysis as political.

    Risk analysis as political. How gender and race matter in the constitution of crisis in EU border management

    • 27 October 2020, 1200-1300
    • Speaker: Saskia Stachowitsch (University of Vienna)
    • Chair: Hanna L Muehlenhoff

    Watch here

  • In Focus: Slipping off or turning the tide?

    19 November 2020, 1600-1700

    Gender Equality in EU external relations in times of crisis (Special Issue Launch)

    This was the second event of the Gender and Sexuality Lecture Series with a special focus on 'A Feminist EU in the World?'. During this event their is a special focus on the Special Issue in Political Studies Review 18(3) edited by Hanna L. Muehlenhoff (UvA), Anna van der Vleuten (Radboud University Nijmegen) and Natalie Welfens (UvA).

    Speakers: Toni Haastrup (University of Stirling), Gülay Çağlar (FU Berlin), and Anna van der Vleuten (Radboud University Nijmegen)

     Chair: Hanna L. Muehlenhoff and Natalie Welfens

    Read More