Research

In my doctoral thesis, I revisited the still-established notion that transnational feminism boils down to an exercise of Othering, manifested in a unidirectional transfer of knowledge from the West to post-communist Europe, which is said to have ensued with the end of communism in an attempt to cement asymmetrical power hierarchies.

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Based on the examples of Russia and Serbia, I established that this critique of transnational feminism is ahistorical and empirically weak. ​More importantly still, my research shows that feminists indeed refuse this critique because its underlying train of thought is all too similar to the argument put forward by their respective authoritarian regimes: The idea that feminism and "gender ideology" is an alien Western ruse that is imported into and imposed onto these innocent societies in an attempt to destroy their "traditional values" and make them implode.

The central claim I advanced in the thesis is thus that it is precisely this dangerous discursive resonance with the authoritarian regimes that makes the critique of transnational feminism as a Western knowledge-transfer not only unimaginable, but indeed highly risky from feminists' vantage point.

 

Instead they wish to oppose their authoritarian regime and not to unintentionally emulate the same discursive chains. This is why they advance alternative imaginaries of transnational feminism as a way to use the last remaining margin for manoeuvering and attempt to subvert the regime in place.

Out of twelve dissertations that had been submitted, the Swiss Association for Gender Studies awarded my work with an honorable mention because of its "particular political relevance for transnational feminism and in view of current developments in Russia and Serbia". It was only the second time the SAGS gave such an award and the first time it went to a dissertation written in Political Science.

During fieldresearch in Serbia, I noticed the prevalence of generational divides. Since this was not the focus of my dissertation, I decided to bundle the findings into a publication instead. As part of a special issue on Post-Yugoslav feminist activism in the 21st century in Women's Studies Internation Forum, I published a paper that analysises NGOisation as a structural factor that influences inter-generational relationships.

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