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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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.