I am a multiple award-winning political scientist, whose research is at the nexus of political science and gender studies. I study authoritarianism, anti-gender politics, foreign policy and feminist resistance. Regionally, I specialise in Russia and the Western Balkans. I am an expert in interpretive-qualitative methods.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Bern and research affiliate with ZOiS - Centre for East European and international Studies in Berlin. My three year research project looks at the rise and use of the narrative of defending "traditional values" to justify aggression in Russian foreign policy. In addition, together with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, I co-direct the Horizon Europe project UNTWIST where we look at whether right-wing populist parties act as niche parties thanks to anti-gender stances and what kind of gender equality policies could regain a part of their vote share. Together with other partners we research six case studies, including Switzerland.
I have a strong interdisciplinary committment. In this vein, I co-founded the research network Political Science and Gender Studies as well as the research platform Conflict and Peace in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
I received my DPhil in autumn 2020 from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Comparing Russia and Serbia, I analyzed how backlash against "gender ideology" is instrumental for authoritarian regimes and how it impacts feminist resistance, nationally and transnationally. It received the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Joni Lovenduski PhD Prize in Gender and Politics as well as an honorable mention by the Swiss Association for Gender Studies. I am also holder of the Young Scholar 2022 Award of the Walter Benjamin Kolleg.
Between 2020 and 2022, I worked as senior researcher and gender advisor at swisspeace.
I am an ardent lecturer with experience in teaching undergraduates, postgraduates and professionals. The subjects I have taught include conflict narratives in Ukraine and Russia; (de)democratisation, political violence, and resistance in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine; masculinities and militarism; authoritarianism in post-communist Europe; international relations and security; and research methods.
I have previously held visiting fellowships at the Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade (2017), the Department of Comparative Politics at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in St. Petersburg (2017), the Albert Hirschman Centre for Democracy at the Geneva Graduate Institute (2018) as well as at the University of Vienna (2019).
I take on short-term consultancies and offer tailor-made trainings. My areas of expertise lie in Feminist Foreign Policy and the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda with specialisation in women's political participation in peace processes, in authoritarian contexts, and times of anti-gender movements as well as gender-based violence, masculinities and gender-sensitive reconstruction.
Recently, I have given expert input to the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Pax for Peace and the European Peacebuilding Liaison Office.
I acquired the bulk of my practical experience during my time as gender advisor at the practice and research institute swisspeace. In this capacity, I shaped the gender unit, doubled the team, built bridges between feminist civil society and political decision-makers, gained new important donors and acquired over 800K funding for applied research projects. The derived policy-recommendations were used to advise foreign ministries, international organisations and civil society actors.
An important part of my work was capacity-building through courses like Gender, Conflict and Peacebuilding and Masculinities, Marginalisation and Militarism. Both regularly attracted over twenty international peacebuilding practitioners and policy-makers.
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I have had the privilege to have meaningful jobs. Whenever possible, I have also pursued unpaid work to contribute to making the society I live in a fairer and more feminist place.
I am an active member of the Socio-Democratic Party in Switzerland, in particular with the party's Women Group but also with my local section in the city of Bern. I ran for cantonal elections in March 2022 and have furthermore been active in various campaigns, such as against the increase of women's retirement age, for a Yes to the Protection against Hate as well as an Only Yes Means Yes campaign on consent.
All of this was preceded by very active years of political campaigning during my time in the UK. For four years I was an active member of the Women's Equality Party that was founded in 2015. In four elections, I knocked on thousands of doors in my Londoner neighbourhood, advocating for feminist policies in dialogue with people from across the political spectrum.