Call for Papers: Debatte Conference on “Crises and Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe,” November 2014

The year 2014 marks 25 years since the end of communism in Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) and 10 years after the enlargement of the European Union into the region. To mark this event Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe is planning to hold a conference on 22-23 November at Warsaw University entitled “Crises and Resistance in Central and Eastern Europe”.

These anniversaries are significant landmarks in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the continent as a whole. However, even more importantly, they occur during a time of intense economic and political difficulties in Europe. The economic crisis has brought a prolonged economic downturn that has worsened the living standards of its populations and brought political uncertainty and instability. The crisis has hit CEE particularly hard, shaking the neo-liberal economic model that has dominated over the past quarter of a century, and sparking a wave of instability as well as resistance that has spread throughout the region. The most notable events have taken place in Ukraine from November 2013 onwards but we have also seen significant unrest in countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina among others. On the other hand, in some countries such as Poland and the Baltic States neo-liberal commentators have claimed that a relatively strong economic recovery has taken place which shows the strength of the region’s economic model

It is in this context that we have planned this conference and invite anyone interested in participating to submit a paper or a proposal for a session. Debatte is a journal published by Taylor and Francis that seeks a radical critical analysis that is sympathetic to democratic, labour, feminist and ecologist movements in CEE.  In 2009 we organised a successful conference in London on the twentieth anniversary of the fall of Communism. We hope our 2014 event will provide a forum for bringing acaLOGNULL NowTransReader::ReadIt() JJFileMT::Truncate(66118978) LOGNULL NowTransReader::ReadIt() JJFileMT::Truncate(0) demics and activists together to discuss the current economic and political climate in the region, look at how progressive social and political movements are responding to it and map out alternatives to the neo-liberal order.

Among the areas that we plan to discuss at the conference are:

– Economic crisis and alternatives
— The role of social movements in the region
— Gender and feminism
— Historical politics
— Migration, multi-culturalism and the struggle against racism and the far-right
— The nature of left parties in the region
— Ecology and the environment
— Welfare and poverty
— Education
— Health
— Ten years of European Union membership
— The balance sheet of the transition from Communism
— Culture
— The geo-political context of Central and Eastern Europe

The conference will consist of two plenary sessions together with a series of workshops held in parallel. If you would like to propose a panel or offer a paper for a workshop then please contact as soon as possible.

Proposals for panels and abstracts of proposed papers must be received by 1 July 2014. Abstracts should be 300 words or less. When sending an abstract or proposal please include an e-mail address for correspondence.

We plan to publish at least one special issue of Debatte based on papers presented at the conference. If you would like your paper to be considered for publication in the journal please submit a full draft by 1 October 2014

The languages of the conference will be English and Polish, and we will be arranging translation between these two languages at the conference. Abstracts and papers should be submitted in one of these two languages.

We want the conference to be accessible to as many scholars and activists as possible from the region. The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, which is supporting the conference, has provided funds to help with travel and accommodation costs specifically for those coming to the conference from Central and Eastern Europe (including Poland apart from Warsaw itself). These funds are limited and will be allocated on the basis of need. If you would like to apply for help with such costs then please do let us know at the address above.

Admission to the conference will be free, but we will be asking those with institutional support to pay a fee of £80.

Further information about the conference can be found on the Debatte web-site at

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Gender and Transformation Workshop CFP Fall 2014

The Call for Papers for our Fall 2014 Workshop is now available. Please see description here.

Deadline is July 15! 


May 2, 2014: Ethel Brooks, “Fraught Intimacies: Entwined Histories — Jews, Romani, German — of the (Post) Holocaust”

Please join us for a talk on May 2, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Ethel Brooks, associate professor,
Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology, Rutgers University

“Fraught Intimacies:
Entwined Histories — Jews, Romani, Germans — of the (Post) Holocaust”

Ethel Brooks1Ethel Brooks is an associate professor in the departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University, and the undergraduate director in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Brooks is a Tate-TrAIN Transnational Fellow, and was the 2011-2012 U.S.-U.K. Fulbright Distinguished Chair, at the University of the Arts London. Brooks is the author of Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women’s Work, winner of the 2010 Outstanding Book from the Global Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. She has contributed chapters to a number of books, including  Sweatshop USA and Sociology Confronts the Holocaust, and contributed to such  journals as We Roma, Nevi Sara Kali, and International Working Class History, as well as editorials for the Guardian.

April 18, 2014: Current Events in Ukraine and Russia

Please join us for a discussion on April 18, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Olena Nikolayenko
assistant professor, political science, Fordham University

“Women’s Engagement in Anti-Government Protests: The EuroMaidan in Ukraine”

Janet Elise Johnson
associate professor, political science, Brooklyn College, CUNY

“’I had to be a real man,’ and Other Reasons Why Putin Took Crimea”

Olena Nikolayenko Olena Nikolayenko received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto in 2007 and was an SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law in 2007-2009. Her research and teaching interests include comparative democratization, social movements, public opinion, and youth, with regional focus on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She published the book, Citizens in the Making in Post-Soviet States (Routledge, 2011), and articles in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, International Political Science Review, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, Youth and Society, and other journals. Her current research focuses on nonviolent youth movements in the post-communist region.

Janet Elise Johnson is a co-moderator of the Gender & Transformation in Europe workshop.  Her most recent book is Gender Violence in Russia (Indiana, 2009).  Her current project is on gender and informal politics in Russia.

Ukrainian pop star Ruslana on the Kyiv barricades in February 2014. She received the secretary of state's Women of Courage award this year.

Ukrainian pop star Ruslana on the Kyiv barricades in February 2014. She received the secretary of state’s Women of Courage award this year.


March 28, 2014: Kristen Loveland, “Rethinking the Neoliberal State: West German Feminists Confront New Reproductive Technologies”

Please join us for a talk on March 28, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Kristen Loveland

Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, Harvard University

Rethinking the Neoliberal State:

West German Feminists Confront New Reproductive Technologies”

Loveland - Profile PhotoKristen Loveland is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University’s Department of History; she is also currently in her first year at the NYU School of Law, where she is a Furman Academic Scholar. Her doctoral studies are supported by Harvard University’s Presidential Scholarship, and her research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council and the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies. Kristen graduated from Columbia University, with a B.A. in History and a concentration in Creative Writing, and received an M.Phil. in Modern European History from the University of Cambridge, where she graduated with distinguished performance. Her dissertation traces the history of legal, ethical, and political debates on reproductive technologies in postwar Germany, situated in a comparative and global frame.

February 28, 2014: Melissa Feinberg, “We Don’t Have It Now, But We Will: Fear, Shortage and Family Values in Stalinist Eastern Europe”

Please join us for a talk on February 28, 4:30-6 p.m.

Melissa Feinberg

Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University

   We Don’t Have It Now, But We Will:

Fear, Shortage and Family Values in Stalinist Eastern Europe”

mfeinbergMelissa Feinberg is associate professor of history at Rutgers University. She is the author of Elusive Equality: Gender, Citizenship and the Limits of Democracy in Czechoslovakia, 1918-1950 (Pittsburgh University Press, 2006). This talk is part of her current book project, which examines fear as a means of political mobilization during the first years of the Cold War. Recent articles related to this project include “Fantastic Truths, Compelling Lies: Radio Free Europe and the Response to the Slánský Trial in Czechoslovakia” (Contemporary European History, 2012) and “Soporific Bombs and American Flying Discs: War Fantasies in East-Central Europe, 1948–1956” (Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung, 2013). Another recent article in the Journal of Women’s History (2011) was inspired by her fascination with a 1944 survey of rural Bohemian women that delved into their housekeeping secrets and home décor. She is also an editor of Aspasia, a yearbook of women’s and gender history in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe.

January 31, 2014. Meltem Müftüler-Baç. “Pandora’s Box: Gender based discrimination in Turkey”

January 31, 2014.

Prosessor Meltem Müftüler-Baç, Professor of International Relations and Jean Monnet Chair at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey                                      
“Pandora’s Box: Gender Based Discrimination in Turkey”

workshop 2014       

     Meltem Müftüler-Baç  is Professor of International Relations and Jean Monnet Chair at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. She is also an Affiliate Professor at University of Stockholm for 2013 to 2016. She was Visiting Professor and Fulbright Fellow at the University of Chicago in 1999-2000. At Bilkent University in Turkey she was a faculty member from 1992- 2002 and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences from 2000- 2002. She was Chair of the Standing Group on the EU, the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR), for 2009-2011. She was awarded  the Jean Monnet Professor ad personam title from the European Commission in 2004. In 2011, she was granted a Jean Monnet Center of Excellence for the European Studies Program she coordinated at Sabanci University.

             Prof. Müftüler-Baç has a Ph. D. in Political Science/International Relations from Temple University, USA (1992).

           She has published widely, including: Turkey’s Relations with a Changing Europe (Manchester University Press, 1997), and co-edited with Yannis Stivachtis Turkey and the European Union Relations (Lexington Books, 2008). Her articles have appeared in Women’s Studies International Forum, East European Quarterly, South East European Politics and Society, West European Politics, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Democracy, and many others. Since 2006 she has participated in and directed several international projects funded by the European Commission.


     Professor Müftüler-Baç’s talk focuses on the ongoing struggles within Turkish society with regards to gender based discrimination. Turkey constitutes a ‘sui generis’ example of a country with a predominantly Muslim population, yet extensive women’s rights at least in principle. To the outsider, the co-existence of well-educated, professional women along with forced marriages, honor killings present itself as an anomaly. The modernization   process in Turkey since 1923 created a society where gender based discrimination remained rampant but also hidden within thinly veiled layers. Yet, the principle of gender equality is part and parcel of the “EU-niversal” canon which aspirants for membership to the EU must adopt. This would appear in sync with a Turkish national project that long aspired to convergence with European modernity and which flagged women’s emancipation as a symbol of such convergence.  However, in recent years pro-religious cohorts have sought to reconfigure Turkey’s engagement of modernity, including extant readings of women’s rights. The most visible manifestation of Islamic tendencies in Turkey is over the role of women in public life.  The underlying question that seems at the core of the women question as part of the larger democratic puzzle in Turkey is the degree to which women’s presence in the public realm is tolerated.   




December 6 talk: Magdalena Grabowska on State Socialism in Poland and Georgia

Please join us Friday, December 6 for our last talk of 2013:

Magdalena Grabowska (Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology Warsaw University) 

Demystifying state-socialism: Women’s agency, the Socialist State and the Formation of the Feminist Movements in Poland and Georgia”

This talk is part of a larger project based in the semi-structured interviews with women who were active in communist parties and women’s groups during the 1970s and 1980s in Poland and Georgia. It aims at destabilizing existing paradigms of understanding the relationship between state socialism and post-state socialist women’s mobilizations in terms of disruption and discontinuity and highlighting the impact of local factors, including religion and location (within/outside Soviet Union) on the formation of socialist project(s) on women’s equality.

Location: NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, 285 Mercer St., 7th Floor, 4:30 to 6:00 pm.






The GENDER and TRANSFORMATION In EUROPE Workshop — a joint project from New York University and the Network of East-West Women – invites speakers to submit proposals for Friday afternoon talks for Spring 2014 at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies.

Almost 25 years after the end of state socialism, and much writing on gender and women’s movements before and after state socialism, it was inevitable that researchers and activists would turn their attention to gender and women’s organizations during state socialism, including official state socialist women’s organizations. The continuing destructive impact of neoliberalism has even led some young women activists to adopt Marxist approaches to gender questions today. These new directions appear in activities in the region and in research about the region. The research raises many questions of methodology, interpretations of new research, conceptions of feminism, and women’s studies’ approaches to gender research. The activist appropriations of Marxism lead to questions of what kind(s) of Marxism are being adopted.

As is our usual practice, we are looking for speakers to discuss gender, gender and class, sexuality, or women in Europe or Eurasia, For Spring 2014 we are particularly (but not only) interested in speakers addressing such issues, doing research on official state socialist women’s organizations, and examinations of this research on gender and state socialism in east, south and central Europe and the former Soviet Union, and of recent adoptions of Marxist approaches to gender issues.  We are also interested in activists’ reflective accounts and/or analyses of these new Marxist directions. We are interested in papers both supporting and engaging in debate about these recent developments.

Our focus is on the postcommunist countries of East and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, including the Baltic countries and Central Asia, and in Europe and the European Union more widely.

The workshop is an informal and friendly group of about 20 feminist scholars, activists, and journalists who have been meeting for more than 15 years and are knowledgeable about the region. This is the perfect space to present recent theoretical and/or critical work; empirical research, and critical and scholarly reflections on your activism.

We offer a small honorarium; however, we regret that we cannot cover transportation expenses to New York City.

For more information – and details about how to propose a talk – see


Friday, November 15: Talk on Western Balkans

Please join us Friday, November 15 for our next workshop:

“The Victims of Post-Socialist Economic Transition in the Western Balkans: A Socio-Cultural Panorama” 

Tatjana Aleksic, Associate Professor of South Slavic and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

This presentation will discuss the relations of violence against broadly defined “otherness” in post-socialist transitional societies, but also as a cult of masculine aggressiveness that is cultivated through tradition and cultural production. Most post-Socialist European societies have been suffering from a pattern of violence that is gendered at the same time as it is turned against ethno-religious minorities. This discussion will focus on the oversaturation with violence of societies in the Western Balkans, and will be illustrated by examples from political life but also cultural production. Aleksic is specifically interested in the perpetuation of violence, physical, psychological, verbal, collective or individual, directed against perceived gender, sexual, social, or ethno-religious “minorities,” and the responses and reactions given to it by state and political authorities. The alarming rate of violence towards the Roma, immigrant, gay communities, and women, both in forms of domestic or organized violence, suggests that the traditional social/masculine structures, subverted by growing economic and political problems, increasingly choose to turn against fragile social elements forced to absorb accumulated aggression and frustration.

Location: NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, 285 Mercer St., 7th Floor, 4:30 to 6:00 pm.


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