Conference at Södertörn University: Why is there no Happiness in the East? The Making of European Gender Studies

A conference at the Gender Department and the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University, Stockholm, 8-10 September 2011

The fall of the Wall was a moment of great joy and high expectations. This conference aims at gathering researchers to discuss what impact the Iron Curtain made on European feminist theory and scholarship.

For two decades feminist studies have been engaged in a West-East debate carried on with telling terminological nuances. Scholars situated in the West emphasize traveling ideas. Scholars rooted in the East prefer stronger parlance about imposed ideas, stressing the hierarchy between Western producers and Eastern transmitters or users of gender knowledge. The unequal relationship generates what critics call an “epistemic void”. It produces absences and deficits rather than allowing what IS to be seen and named. The aim of the conference, which is inspired by postcolonial thinking, is to make the absent present. The focus lies on concepts and their adequacy in analyzing gender relations in the European space that appears as the second Other of Europe. Its ambition is to disrupt hegemonic feminist theorizing.

The conference will assess how analytical categories might be imprinted by the processes of othering, mirroring and silencing the Other. How could they be distorted and reformulated? Does feminist knowledge production in Central and Eastern Europe require a more radical step towards epistemic disobedience? From which position could the epistemic privilege of Western feminist scholarship be challenged?

The conference includes panels on citizenship, embodiment, queer sexualities, intersectionality, subaltern experiences, masculinity.

Keynote speakers:
Agnieszka Graff, Warsaw University, Poland
Gail Lewis, Open University, UK

Lectures by:
Marina Blagojevic (Serbia), Kathrin Braun (Germany), Tatyana Bureychak (Ukraine), Zhanna Chernova (Russia), Drude Dahlerup (Sweden), Lenita Freidenvall (Sweden), Małgorzata Fuszara (Poland), Yulia Gradskova (Sweden) Jeff Hearn (Sweden), Elżbieta Korolczuk (Poland), Redi Koobak (Sweden), Robert Kulpa (Poland), Leena Kurvet-Käosaar (Estonia)Ulla Manns (Sweden), Joanna Mizielińska (Poland), Michal Nahman (UK), Saara Pellander (Finland), Aivita Putnina (Latvia), Victoria Sereda (Ukraine), Aleksandra Sojka (Spain), Edit Szénássy (Czech Republic), Arturas Tereškinas (Lithuania), Olga Tkach (Russia), Alina Žvinklienė (Lithuania).

The conference is open to the public. No registration fee, however, pre-registration is required. Please send a notice to conference coordinator Renata Ingbrant.

More information:
The preliminary programme, abstracts, etc. can be found at

The Scientific Committee:
Teresa Kulawik, Professor of Gender Studies, Södertörn University.
Yulia Gradskova, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University.
Renata Ingbrant, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stockholm University.

Supported by: The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies (Östersjöstiftelsen) and the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES).

Venue: Södertörn University, Stockholm Flemingsberg (Sept. 9th-10th).

Please note, that the conference will begin in the afternoon Sept. 8th with a Public Debate in the downtown area of Stockholm organized in cooperation with the Polish Institute (For details – see and

For information, contact the coordinator Renata Ingrant.

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