Fall 2019 Workshop Schedule

Please join us for the Fall 2019 series

Gender and Transformation:

Women in Europe Workshop

 NYU Center for European & Mediterranean Studies

Fridays 4:30 to 6:00pm

October 4

Post-Soviet Masculinities: Sex, Power, and the Vanishing Subject

Eliot Borenstein

Ph.D. Slavic Languages and Literatures

Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, Collegiate Professor,  New York University

October 25

Feminism in Independent Ukraine: From an Allergen to the Last Hope

Oksana Kis

Ph.D.  History/Ethnology

Senior Research Associate, Senior Scholar Department of Social Anthropology Institute of Ethnology national Academy of Sciences of Ukraine http://social-anthropology.org.ua/

November 8

   Resistance, Activism and Feminist Art in the GDR. Visions – (In)Visibilities – Commodification

Elisaveta Dvorakk 

PhD Candidate in Art History and Theory of Photography

Department of Art and Visual History | Centre for transdisciplinary Gender Studies 

Humboldt University of Berlin | Germany

December 13

 From Homophobia to Homonationalism… and Back?: Russian-speaking LGBTQ Migrants in New York City in the Pursuit of the American Gay Dream

Alexandra Novitskaya

Doctoral Candidate

Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, State University of New York at Stony Brook

Visiting Scholar, Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia, New York University

Workshop Location:  

  Center for European & Mediterranean Studies at NYU

  53 Washington Square South, 3rd floor, 4:30-6 p.m. 

All are welcome, but please RSVP:

Mara Lazda mara.lazda@bcc.cuny.edu

Questions? Contact Mara Lazda or Janet Johnson johnson@brooklyn.cuny.edu


CFP for 2019-2020: Deadline July 15



CALL FOR PAPERS 2019-2020:


The GENDER and TRANSFORMATION: WOMEN in EUROPE Workshop-a project at New York University with support from the Network of East-West Women-invites speakers to submit proposals for Friday afternoon talks for the next academic year at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies.

As is our usual practice, we are looking for speakers to discuss gender, sexuality, or women in Europe or Eurasia. For the academic year 2019-2020, on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of state socialism in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia, we are particularly (but not only) interested in speakers addressing the question: how do we best advance the field, given the attacks on gender studies and gender activism?

Themes might include (but are not limited to):

  • What new coalitions/new forms of political action have gender activists and scholars created,  e.g., with immigrants?
  • How do political parties, e.g., the Greens and environmental organizations, offer possibilities for collaboration for gender activists and scholars today?
  • How successful has grassroots mobilization been? Have other forms of mobilization been more or less successful?
  • Why and how have questions of intimacy, sexuality, and pleasure become a part of the field and politics now?

The workshop’s focus is on the postcommunist countries of East, South and Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, including the Baltic countries and Central Asia, and their relationship to Europe and the European Union. Recent workshops have included such topics as legal and discursive practices of sexual violence in Poland, the connections between “charismatic masculinity” and populism in Turkey and Russia, the politics of human trafficking, and anti-gender movements. Recent speakers have included  Elizabeth A. Wood, Betul Eksi, and Agnieszka Koscianska.

The workshop is an informal and friendly group of about 20 feminist scholars, activists, and journalists who have been meeting for more than two decades 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. We regret that we cannot cover transportation expenses to New York City or offer assistance for visas or accommodations.

To propose a talk, please email the following to Janet Elise Johnson (Johnson@brooklyn.cuny.edu) and Mara Lazda (Mara.Lazda@bcc.cuny.edu):

1.     a title for your talk

2.      an abstract of less than 200 words describing your proposed talk

3.      a one-page curriculum vitae or resume.

4.      your schedule clarifying which weeks or months you plan to be in or near New York City and would like to present (proposals for the Spring semester will be passed on to the spring coordinators Nanette Funk and Sonia Jaffe Robbins)

All proposals are welcome from the region and experts from the U.S. or elsewhere, activists or scholars.  We will get back to you as soon as possible.

For more information, see https://gendertransformationeurope.wordpress.com.

May 10: Leda Sutlovic, “The Impact of Neoconservative Activism on Backsliding of Croatian Gender Politics”

Leda Sutlovic
lecturer and Ph.D. candidate
Departent of Political Science, University of Vienna

“The Impact of Neoconservative Activism on Backsliding of Croatian Gender Politics”

4:30 to 6 p.m.
53 Washington Square South,
3rd Floor East, Room 324

All are welcome, but please RSVP to co-moderator Sonia Jaffe Robbins (sjr1991@gmail.com) so we can leave your name at the door.

Leda Sutlović is a Ph.D. candidate in the program of Social Sciences and lecturer at the University of Vienna’s Department of Political Science. She holds a master’s degree in political science from the Central European University and her undergraduate degree is from the University of Zagreb, also in political science. She has been a project coordinator at Zagreb’s Center for Women’s Studies, a member of the working group implementing Croatia’s national policy for gender equality in the city of Zagreb, and an associate for an international development aid project with a Tunisian organization, the Citizen’s Association for Democratic Participation. She is a coeditor of Widening the Scope of the Political—New Perspectives on Political Participation of Women, published by the Zagreb Center for Women’s Studies, as well as contributing chapters to several works, including “The Impact of Neoconservative Activism on Gender Policies and Women’s Movement in Croatia,” to be included in the forthcoming The Gender Politics of Backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe from the Central European University. She has participated in many conferences, including Longing for “Communism”? 21st Century Youth Cultures in Past, Present and Future Eastern Germany, and Southeast and Eastern Europe, where she presented on “The ‘Woman Question’ in Transition: Between Socialist Experience and Future Prospects” and at the House of Europe, Information Office of the European Parliament, where she spoke on “Motivated, Educated, Unemployed? Challenges of the Labor Market for Young Women in Croatia.” She was also at the World Social Forum in 2013. Her Ph.D. research focuses on (post)socialist transformations of Croatian gender policies, bringing together the approach of discursive and historical institutionalism with the role of knowledge and ideas in politics. The working title for her dissertation is “After the Socialist Experience, Beyond Europeanization: Transformations of Gender Politics in Croatia, 1970-2010.”



April 5, Ileana (Voichita) Nachescu, Ph.D., “Beyond Mail Order Brides: Eastern European Women Immigrants in the United States”

Ileana (Voichita) Nachescu, Ph.D.
Teaching Instructor (full-time),
Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

“Beyond Mail Order Brides:
Eastern European Women Immigrants in the United States”

4:30 to 6 p.m.
53 Washington Square South, Floor 3 E

All are welcome, but please RSVP: Nanette Funk NFunk@brooklyn.cuny.edu or Sonia Jaffe Robbins sjr1991@gmail.com so that we can leave your name at the door.

Dr. Ileana (Voichita) Nachescu is currently Teaching Instructor (full-time) in the Women’s annachescu-headshotd Gender Studies Department at Rutgers University. A former postdoctoral fellow with the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Rice University, she is the recipient of an Excellence in Teaching award from the University at Buffalo, where she received her doctorate, and of grants from the Open Society Institute and Central European University.
In 1998, she co-founded the first Women’s Studies Center at her alma mater, the University of the West, Timisoara, Romania. She is currently finishing the monograph titled A Dimension of Humanism: Intellectual Activism and the National Alliance of Black Feminists (1974-1983). This project centers the history of the women’s liberation movement during the long 1970s on the activist and theoretical work of Midwestern African American feminists. Her second book project uses critical whiteness studies and a transnational feminist analysis to explore the experiences of recent Eastern Europeans immigrants dispossessed by their countries’ entrance into the global circuits of neoliberal capitalism after the end of state socialism.
She has chronicled the Romanian LGBTQ movement in both academic writing and journalism. In her creative nonfiction, she attempts to map the fraught and shifting contours of home from an immigrant’s perspective. She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is at work on a book-length project, Memoirs of a Socialist Childhood, in which she seeks to explore the articulations of gender, class, and race in a society of equals.

Feb. 22: Dr. Dessie Zagorcheva, “How the Far Right Uses ‘Gender Ideology’ to Fight Equal Rights for Women and Minorities. The Case of Bulgaria”

Dr. Dessie Zagorcheva
Adjunct Assistant Professor, CUNY

“How the Far Right Uses ‘Gender Ideology’ to Fight Equal Rights
for Women and Minorities: The Case of Bulgaria”

4:30 to 6 p.m.
53 Washington Square South, Floor 3 E

All are welcome, but please RSVP to NFunk@brooklyn.cuny.edu so that we can leave your name at the door.

Dr. Dessie Zagorcheva teaches International Politics and American Government at CUNY. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, an M.A. from Central European University in Budapest and from Sofia University in Bulgaria. Her main research interests include democracy and democratic backsliding in post-Communist countries; far-right populism; and Russia’s hybrid warfare and disinformation campaigns. She has published in the Journal of Global Security Studies, as well as in International Security, The Journal of Slavic Military Relations, The National Interest, The International Lawyer, and others. She has presented papers at various conferences, including the Association for the Study of Nationalities., and has worked as a researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations and the East-West Institute in New York City.

Feb. 1:

Niina Vuolajarvi
Ph.D. student, Rutgers University

“Governing in the Name of Caring: The Nordic Model of Prostitution and Its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex”

4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
53 Washington Square South

All are welcome, but please RSVP to sjr1991@gmail.com so that we can leave your name at the door.

niinavuolajarviNiina Vuolajarvi is a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University; her tentative dissertation title is Precarious Intimacies: Migration and Commerical Sex Under the Mordic Model. She has several publications based on her research in this area, including a forthcoming book next year in Finland for a general audience. She’s been invited to speak on this topic at Rutgers University, Columbia University, John Jay College, Stockholm University, the Hailuoto Theater Festival, the Finnish Parliament, among others, as well as a workshop organizer at the 16th Nordic Migration Research Conference and the Finnish Sociological Association’s annual conference in 2011. As well as research, in 2012 she founded the Feminist Initiative Finland, a network promoting human rights–based prostitution policies; she was a lead organizer of the Free Movement-network in Finland, which promotes migrants’ rights, and co-founded the network’s Legal Advice Center for Migrants. Her experience and research has been featured multiple times in the Scandinavian media over the past six years. As well, she has been a board member of the Rights Without Border Association, the Finnish Researcher’s Association, and the Finnish Feminist Association Union, and an expert member for the Anti-Trafficking Network in Finland. She’s had numerous fellowships and grants, including Fulbright grants, the American-Scandinavian Foundation Award, and the Finnish Kone Foundation.

Spring 2019 Workshops

Welcome to our Spring 2019 workshops
at NYU Center for European & Mediterranean Studies
Fridays, 4:30 to 6 p.m.


We have an exciting program planned for the Spring. Come join us!

Niina Vuolajarvi
Ph.D. student, Rutgers University

“Governing in the Name of Caring:
The Nordic Model of Prostitution and Its Punitive Consequences for Migrants Who Sell Sex”

Dr. Dessie Zagorcheva
Adjunct Assistant Professor, CUNY

“How the Far Right Uses ‘Gender Ideology’ to Fight Equal Rights for Women and Minorities. The Case of Bulgaria”

Dr. Voichita
Ileana Nachescu
Global Scholar,
Women’s Institute for Research on Women; Lecturer, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; Rutgers University

“Beyond Mail Order Brides:
Eastern European Women Immigrants in the United States”

MAY 10
Leda Sutlovic
Ph.D. student, Department of Political Science, University of Vienna

The Impact of Neoconservative Activism on Backsliding of Croatian Gender Policies”

We meet at the Center for European & Mediterranean Studies, NYU, 53 Washington Square South, 3rd floor (3E on elevator button), 4:30 to 6 p.m. After the workshop, we usually continue the discussion over an informal dinner, and all are welcome.

All are welcome, but you must RSVP, either to Sonia Jaffe Robbins (sjr1991@gmail.com) or Nanette Funk (nfunk@brooklyn.cuny.edu).

Dec. 14: Vasilyev on the politics of menstruation in Russia


Pavel Vasilyev

Polonsky Academy Fellow, Van Leer Jerusalem Institute

Red Days on the Calendar:

The Politics of Menstruation in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia

(Co-sponsored by the Harriman Institute, with support from a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York)

4:30pm to 6:00pm
53 Washington Square South

All are welcome, but please RSVP to Johnson@brooklyn.cuny.edu so that we can leave your name at the door.

Dr. Pavel Vasilyev is currently a Polonsky Academy Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Junior Research Fellow at Siberian State Medical University. He defended his doctoral dissertation on drug abuse and drug policy in early Soviet Russia at the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences in October 2013. Between 2014 and 2016, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions in Berlin, where, within the framework of the Law and Emotions research group, he examined the role of emotions in early Soviet legal thought and practice. His most recent publications include articles in Rechtsgeschichte – Legal History, Historical Research and The Journal of Social Policy Studies. His current research project, tentatively entitled Red Days on the Calendar: A Cultural History of Soviet Menstruation, examines various types of knowledge about menstruation, diverse emotions associated with it as well as evolving bodily practices and technologies that the Soviet women used to deal with their menstrual cycles.

Nov. 2: Agnieszka Kościańska on Poland’s #MeToo

Agnieszka KFrom ‘the ordinary recklessness of girls’ to #MeToo:

Tracing changes of legal and discursive practices around sexual violence in Poland

4:30pm to 6:00pm
53 Washington Square South

Agnieszka Kościańska received her PhD in 2007 and habilitation in 2015 in ethnology/cultural anthropology from the University of Warsaw, Poland. She is an associate professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw and a senior researcher in a Humanities in the European Research Area research project (Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures, http://www.crusev.ed.ac.uk/). Her research interests include gender, sexuality, sexual violence, sexology, sex education, religion, and race in Central Europe. In the past, she was a visiting fellow at Harvard University (2010-2011, Marie Curie fellowship), the New School for Social Research (2006, Kosciuszko Foundation grant), the University of Copenhagen (2005, Danish Governmental scholarship), Edinburgh College of Art (2017, European Visiting Research Fellowship by the Caledonian Research Foundation and the Royal Society of Edinburgh), and the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena (2016, 2017-2018).

She is the author of Zobaczyć łosia (To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet, 2017), Płeć przyjemność i przemoc (Gender, Pleasure and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland, 2014, English version under contract with Indiana University Press, to be published in 2020), Potęga ciszy (The Power of silence: Gender and Religious Conversion. The Case of a New Religious Movement, the Brahma Kumaris, 2009) and (co-)editor of several volumes and journal special issues on gender and sexuality – the most recent being ‘The science of sex in a space of uncertainty: Naturalizing and modernizing Europe’s East, past and present’ Sexualities, no. 1-2 2016 (with Hadley Renkin). Two of her book projects were generously supported by the Network of East-West Women: Gender. Perspektywa antropologiczna (Gender. An Anthropological Perspective, co-edited with Renata Hryciuk, the first Polish handbook in the anthropology of gender, 2 volumes, 2007), and Kobiety i Religie (Women and Religions, co-edited with Katarzyna Leszczyńska, 2006).

More: https://www.etnologia.uw.edu.pl/en/about-us/people/academic-and-non-academic/agnieszka-koscianska

All are welcome, but please RSVP to Johnson@brooklyn.cuny.edu so that we can leave your name at the door.


Friday 10/12: Christopher Edling, “Bride Kidnapping in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan: Parallels and Divergences”

Join us Friday October 12: Christopher Edling,“Bride Kidnapping in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan: Parallels and Divergences”

Christopher Edling received his MFA from Columbia University and Edling picworked in Kyrgyzstan as a Fulbright Creative Writing Fellow and as a communications and editing consultant for the United Nations office in Bishkek.

Presentation abstract:
According to survey data, more than half of women in rural areas of Armenia experience some form of bride kidnapping during their lives. But ask representatives of civil society organizations and prominent women’s NGOs about the widespread practice, and the response is perplexing: “We do not have this in Armenia.”

Contrast this with public response to bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan, where recent years have seen federal legal reforms, nationwide initiatives, international media coverage, condemnation by religious leaders, and grassroots activism, including a protest of more than one thousand people in Bishkek on June 6, 2018.

Drawing on original fieldwork and other research for the speaker’s book in progress, this talk will explore the cultural, social, economic, and political complexities surrounding bride kidnapping and attendant public responses in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. What similarities and differences are there in bride kidnapping practices between these two countries? What factors drive and perpetuate these practices? What accounts for the differences in public response? How is this issue mobilized by local and international agencies? What has changed in recent years, and what seems likely to change in the future?