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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.

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Recorded sessions

  • Risk analysis as political
    Risk analysis as political

    Speaker: Saskia Stachowitsch (University of Vienna) Chair: Hanna L Muehlenhoff

  • In Focus: Slipping off or turning the tide?
    Gender Equality in EU external relations in times of crisis (Special Issue Launch)

    This is the second event of the Gender and Sexuality Lecture Series with a special focus on 'A Feminist EU in the World?'. During this event there will be 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). With amongst others Toni Haastrup.


    • Toni Haastrup - Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of Stirling 
    • Gülay Çağlar - Professor for Gender and Diversity at the Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science at Freie Universität Berlin 
    • Anna van der Vleuten - Professor of Contesting Europeanisation at the Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen
  • Feminist Framing of Europeanisation: Gender Equality Policies in Turkey and the EU
    Feminist Framing of Europeanisation: Gender Equality Policies in Turkey and the EU

    How can we rethink the theory and practice of Europeanisation from a feminist perspective? This event discusses the recently published edited collection ‘Feminist Framing of Europeanisation’ (with Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) which explores the Europeanisation of gender policies and addresses theoretical challenges surrounding the EU’s impact on domestic politics.

    ​​​​​​Using Turkey as a case study, the authors draw on the key arguments of feminist philosophy on representation, difference and gender equality debates to offer a unique critique and conceptualization of the Europeanisation of gender policies in different areas such from education to asylum policies and seek response to the question of ‘Can the EU be a feminist actor?’ Thus, this book – and this event – discusses why Turkey and the EU need a feminist approach that draws on moral and feminist philosophy to design gender-equality policies that could lead to gender-just outcomes and challenges the rhetoric policies of the EU and Turkey that see women as pawns for their instrumental agendas driven by economic and security concerns.  


    • Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm - Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bahçeşehir University, Turkey 
    • F. Melis Cin - Lecturer in Education and Social Justice at Lancaster University, UK
    • Chair: Beste İşleyen, Department of Political Science, UvA
    • Discussant: Hanna L. Muehlenhoff, Department of European Studies, UvA
  • Gender and Sexuality Studies Under Attack in Central-Eastern Europe
    Gender and Sexuality Studies Under Attack in Central-Eastern Europe

    What are the historical, political, social and cultural sources of the attacks on Gender and Sexuality Studies in Central-Eastern Europe? Are they local or rather fueled by transnational conservative movements? What are possible strategies and solidarities (local and global) to counteract them? Speakers: Tomasz Basiuk, Agnieszka Kościańska & Hadley Z. Renkin. Moderation: Linda Duits

  • In Focus: A Feminist EU in the World? A feminist foreign policy for the European Union?
    In Focus: A Feminist EU in the World? A feminist foreign policy for the European Union?

    This is the second event in the In Focus Series: A Feminist EU in the World? During this event Hannah Neumann, MEP, Roberta Guerrina and Michelle Pace will explore what a Feminist Foreign Policy for the EU could or should look like, reflect upon how current developments in EU foreign and security policy speak to the idea of a Feminist Foreign Policy and discuss its potentials and pitfalls. Speakers: Hannah Neuman, Roberta Guerrina and Michelle Pace. Chair: Hanna L. Muehlenhoff

  • In Focus: A feminist EU in the World? A Feminist Foreign Policy for a Climate-Just Future?
    A feminist EU in the World? A Feminist Foreign Policy for a Climate-Just Future?

    This is the third event in the In Focus Series: “A Feminist EU in the World?” In this event we zoom in on the EU’s policies on Climate Justice and climate change from an (intersectional) feminist perspective.  Speakers: Annica Kronsell, Andrew Telford and Margaretha Wewerinke-Singh. Chair: Lara Talsma

  • In focus: The EU and a Feminist Global Trade
    The EU and a Feminist Global Trade

    The third event in the In Focus series ‘A Feminist EU in the World?’ focuses on the role of the European Union as a global trade actor. The panel participants have background in both academia and a policy making and include: Susan Harris Rimmer, Silke Trommer and Maya Taselaar.

  • Building feminist peace: what way forward for the EU?
    Building feminist peace: what way forward for the EU?

    Some EU member states – such as Sweden and France – have declared to pursue a Feminist Foreign Policy. In June 2020, the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy released a report, commissioned by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament, in which it argued for “A Feminist Foreign Policy for the European Union”. Among other things, such a Feminist Foreign Policy calls for disarmament, reversing militarisation, and prioritising human security. While in fact, the EU’s latest Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security is more ambitious than previous proposals, EU leaders are also moving towards a more military approach when it comes to security and development objectives. For example, the new European Peace Facility allows the EU to deliver and finance arms for third countries.

  • Neoliberalism's fuel to anti-feminism
    Neoliberalism's fuel to anti-feminism

    In this seminar part of the Gender & Sexuality in European (Geo)politics, Akwugo Emejulu (University of Warwick), Emanuela Lombardo (Complutense University Madrid) and Elzbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn University) will discuss how neoliberal policies and politics erode the opportunity structure for feminist movements and class- and race-inclusive activism.