February 10: Katherine Verdery, “What I Learned from My Secret Police File”

Please join us for our second meeting of the spring semester.

Katherine Verdery
Julien J. Studley Faculty Scholar and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology,
the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

“Talk: “What I Learned from My Secret Police File”

katherine-verderySince 1973, Professor Katherine Verdery has conducted field research in Romania, initially emphasizing the political economy of social inequality, ethnic relations, and nationalism. With the changes of 1989, her work shifted to problems of the transformation of socialist systems, specifically the changing property relations in agriculture. From 1993 to 2000 she did fieldwork on this theme in a Transylvanian community; the resulting book, The Vanishing Hectare: Property and Value in Postsocialist Transylvania, was published by Cornell University Press (2003). She then completed a large collaborative project with Gail Kligman (UCLA) and a number of Romanian scholars on the opposite process, the The resulting book, Peasants Under Siege: The Collectivization of Romanian Agriculture, 1949–1962, was published by Princeton University Press (2011).

Professor Verdery’s most recent project takes off from her secret police file, which she received from the Romanian government in 2008.

We meet at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies,
285 Mercer Street (between Waverly and Washington), 7th floor,
4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.


January 27: Johanna Schuster-Craig, “Rhetorical Strategies of Women in the AfD: Frauke Petry and Alice Weidel”

Please join us for our first meeting of the spring semester, January 27, 2017.

Johanna Schuster-Craig

Assistant Professor of German and  Global Studies, Michigan State University

“Rhetorical Strategies of Women in the AfD:
Frauke Petry and Alice Weidel”

schuster-craig3Johanna Schuster-Craig earned her Ph.D. in German and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She is an assistant professor of German Studies in the Department of Linguistics, Germanic, Slavic, Asian and African Languages and a Core Faculty of the Program of Global Studies in Arts and Humanities (GSAH). Her book project, The Demands of Integration: How One Word Shapes a Nation,  focuses on integration politics in Germany, both from the top-down (government policies and programs) and the bottom-up (social work projects and artist responses). Immigration and refugee politics, race/racism/whiteness in Germany after 1989, ethnographic fieldwork methods, and the far-right (PEGIDA/AfD) responses to refugees are also part of her teaching and research.

We meet at the NYU Center for European and Mediterranean Studies,
285 Mercer Street (between Waverly and Washington), 7th floor,
4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.

Spring 2017 Schedule — All Welcome

We have an exciting program planned for this spring. Join us beginning January 27

January 27: Johanna Schuster-Craig, Assistant Professor, German and Global Studies, Michigan State University

“Rhetorical Strategies of Women in the AfD: Frauke Petry and Alice Weidel”

February 10: Katherine Verdery, Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology, City University of New York

“What I Learned from My Secret Police File”

March 10: Jennifer Ramme, Ph.D. candidate, European University Viadrina (Frankfurt/Oder,Germany ), Collegium Polonicum, Slubice, Poland

“When ‘the Nation’ Takes Over: Ambivalences of Feminist (Counter)Discourses in Poland”

April 21: a panel on anti-genderism
Weronika Grzebalska, Ph.D. candidate in sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences

“War on ‘Gender Ideology’ in Europe: Anti-genderism and the Crisis of (Neo)liberal Democracy”

Nona Shahnazaryan, University lecturer, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences, Republic of Armenia; 2017 Carnegie Research scholar

“Eurasian Family versus European Values: Geopolitical Roots of Anti-Genderism in Armenia”

May 5: Isabel Marcus, Professor, School of Law, SUNY Buffalo

“Legal Education and the Violation of Women’s Human Rights: A Critique of Law Faculties in Eastern Europe”

We meet at the Center for European & Mediterranean Studies, NYU, 285 Mercer Street, 7th floor, 4:30-6 p.m. After the workshop, we usually continue the discussion over informal dinner, and all are welcome.

December 9: ​Marina Kingsbury, “Let’s Have More Russian Babies: How Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Shapes Family Policy in Russia”

About the Speaker: kingsbury_2016

Marina Kingsbury earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 2015. Dr. Kingsbury currently teaches Comparative Politics and International Relations at Alabama A&M University. She specializes in comparative social policy, with a focus on state responses to population dynamics, politics of benefit allocation, and gender equality. Her research interests include pronatalism and gender inequality in Europe, xenophobia and immigrant integration in post-communist European countries, the influence of radical-right politics on social policies, and Russian domestic and international politics.

November 11: Victoria Apostol-Marius, “The Rise of Religious Populism in Eastern Europe”

About the Speaker:

Victoria Apostol-Marius is the co-founder of the Group of Feminist Initiatives from Moldova. She graduated from Central European University, Hungary in 2014, where she accomplished her second Master of Arts specializing in Internationa1956766_586364758122248_549596927_ol Criminal Justice and Human Rights. Victoria is also a graduate of the Master program on Policies, Gender and Minorities from the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania. She is a former Open Society Justice Initiative Fellow and regularly publishes on www.Platzforma.md on topics related to gender equality, reproductive and sexual rights, feminism and activism.

About the Talk:

Well before Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, or the Leave Campaign in the UK, in post-Soviet Eastern Europe, particularly in Moldova, the Orthodox and Baptist churches entered the political arena in a wave of populist-nationalism. Although post-Soviet states remain constitutionally secular, in recent years, politicians of both the left and the right turned to the Orthodox church as well as Baptist church for populist appeal, and the churches re-entered the political arena in alliances supporting “pro-life” and homophobic agendas. The patriarch of the Moldovan Orthodox church, in a speech to Parliament, recently called for the repeal of anti- discrimination legislation because “it protects homosexuals and it is offensive for 98% of Orthodox Christians to be equal to 2% of LGBT people and their supporters.” Baptists attempted installing an anti-abortion monument in the public space with the “aim of helping women with abortions to find forgiveness.” The Group of Feminist Initiatives from Moldova, through litigation, successfully thwarted their plan. This talk will first retrace the emergence of the Orthodox church and the Baptist church as state actors. It will then delineate the detrimental consequences for gender equality and reproductive rights, and discuss feminist grassroots strategies to respond to this phenomenon.

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

Call for Papers Gender – Power – Eastern Europe in Berlin

Subject: Conference Berlin

 CFP: Gender-Power-Eastern Europe – Berlin  10.20.2016, Berlin
 Osteuropa-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin 

Deadline to submit Proposal : 10.20.2016

Call for papers for an international interdisciplinary conference, June 20-23, 2017 in Berlin 

Gender – Power – Eastern Europe Changing Concepts of Femininities and Masculinities and Power Relations

The rise of right wing populist parties and conservative movements in Eastern Europe , from Poland to Hungary and Russia, has dramatically affected discourses about and concepts of gender. The “turn to the right”  has also ushered substantial shifts in policies concerning women’s rights as well as gender studies as an academic and educational project.   Arguably, in some cases right wing political victory was facilitated by usage of anti-gender equality rhetoric (anti-genderism;anti-gender mobilization).  These worrisome developments demand exploration in broader contexts. Yet, the situation in East European societies is quite diverse if scrutinized from a gender perspective.After the transformation process of the early 1990s, increasing participation and liberation of women in public spheres can be observed in various countries. Other countries like Poland and Hungary experienced setbacks at several points of their history and in diverse spheres of society. There, traditional gender roles re-entered the discourse and practice. In other countries again, new problems arose with political and territorial tensions. In Ukraine, for example, spaces of violence and war are forcing us to monitor gender roles, women’s rights, and participation from a new perspective. In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus strong anti-authoritarian protests are renegotiating gender roles and concepts in multiple ways , and creating new potentials for feminist and LGBTQ movements. The role of gender within power relations of new political and social constellations, the participation of women in politics, economics and warfare, as well as spaces of violence need to be scrutinized and explored. The Institute of Eastern European Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin is inviting scholars from different disciplines to debate these questions in an interdisciplinary conference entitled”Gender – Power- Eastern Europe” to be held in June 2017 in Berlin. Our aim is to open up a space for discussions not only about recent developments, but also to investigate the cultural, sociological and historical patterns of these developments in the longue durée. Above all, we focus on the agency of women and thus we move away from describing the status of women solely as an objects of discrimination in economic and societal structures. Similarly important are the new roles and models of masculinities exercised by men in Central and Eastern Europe, which are being shaped within and outside of family. Finally, we intend to explore how power relations are negotiated in diverse societies and what role gender plays therein.  Three thematic panels are planned: 1) The new conservativism and changing concepts of masculinity and femininity 2) Gender and participation in politics and economics 3) Gender, sexuality, and violence

Panel descriptions:

1) This panel will explore the gender dimension of the new political configuration – right wing populism. Concepts of masculinity and femininity and their historical, political, sociological and cultural heritage and legacies will be at the focus of attention. Papers focusing on the interconnectedness of gender concepts and national discourses are welcome. We are intending to debate mechanisms of inclusion, exclusion and instrumentalization of certain images and concepts of femininity and masculinity and their re-figurations in contemporary East European discourses. Both theoretical and  empirical papers are invited for this panel.

2) Participation of women will be the key issue in this panel. We welcome papers addressing  political participation of women in Eastern Europe, especially formal and substantive representation in parliament,official institutions or the role of political quotas. Economic factors are vital to understanding how gender roles and gender relations of power are constructed. Powerful economic actors can influence not only discourses, but also economic realities of men, women and families. In2009 Nancy Fraser’s critique of the neoliberal market policies and the consequences of financial crisis brought about an important debate on the role of women’s social movements in neoliberal landscapes.  Numerous scholars have shown the profound effects of neoliberal policies  on the socio-economic position of women in Eastern Europe during and after the transformation. On the one hand, economic policies contribute to the rise of new gender regimes and change the nature of activism.  On the other hand, also pro-family and social policies are capable of creating new economic realities.

 3) This panel addresses the power relations in both public and private spheres, where gender is discoursively produced and reproduced, but also where violence is perpetuated. Several countries in the Balkan region and post-Soviet republics serve as source countries for traffickers in women, which has been recognized by Human Rights Watch as one of the most severe examples of human rights violations in Eastern Europe. Other types of relations between gender, power and violence can be observed in the case of Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, where women actively participated in military formations. Additional topics, which are welcome in this panel, might include: domestic violence and the fight against it, gender in right-wing violence, gender and militarization,alternations in abortion laws, changing landscape of LGBTQ movements in Eastern Europe.  

 Scholars from a wide range of disciplines are invited to participate.Comparative papers are very welcome in order to reveal intertwined processes occurring in different East European countries.

Please send your abstract of around 500 words and a CV to the following email address until 20th of October 2016: a.wierzcholska@fu-berlin.de.

The organizing committee:

Prof. Katharina Bluhm, Dean of the Institute of Eastern European Studies

Prof. Gertrud Pickhan, Head of History Department at the Institute of Eastern European Studies

Dr. Justyna Stypinska, Department of Sociology at the Institute of Eastern European Studies

Agnieszka Wierzcholska, Department of History at the Institute ofEastern European Studies

Dr. hab. Agnieszka Graff, American Studies Centre, University of Warsaw  ————————————————————————Agnieszka Wierzcholska Osteuropa-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystr. 55, 14195 Berlin +4930-83853181 a.wierzcholska@fu-berlin.de 

URL zur Zitation dieses Beitrages<http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/termine/id=32006> ————————————————————————H-

October 7: “Manhood and Authoritarian Financialization in Macedonia”

Fabio Mattiolli, Faculty Fellow at Center for European & Mediterranean Studies, New York University

Fabio Mattioli is captivated by the paradoxes of social life, especially those generated by financial flows and urban politics in Southern and Eastern Europe. Throughout his nomadic academic career, Fabio has developed an acute personal and theoretical sensibility for economic inequality and peripheralization. Currently, Fabio is developing a book project that explores the connection between finance and authoritarianism at the fringe of Europe. Analyzing the construction industry in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, the book illustrates how non-democratic regimes can hijack urban financialization to produce illiquidity and penetrate the intimate life of their citizens. Prior to joining NYU, Fabio obtained a PhD in Anthropology from the CUNY Graduate Center, a MA in Anthropology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris, France), and a BA in Political Philosophy from the University of Florence (Italy). An enthusiastic photographer and capoerista, his secret dream is to learn how to prepare burek.


Center for European and Mediterranean Studies

285 Mercer, 7th Floor New York, NY 10003

All are welcome!



First Fall Meeting! Friday, September 16: “Shattering the Glass Ceiling in Eastern Europe”

Friday, September 16:

“Shattering the Glass Ceiling in Eastern Europe: The Rise of Female Presidents (Lithuania, Latvia, Kosovo, Croatia)”

Aušra Park ausra

Assistant Professor, Political Science, Siena College

Despite a large number of publications in gender and leadership studies on political executives, scholarship on women presidents remains an understudied field. With few exceptions, research on female political executives is primarily focused on Latin American region, where a number of females have recently achieved the highest political positions, and, especially, on single-case studies in different parts of the world (i.e., German Chancellor Merkel, Finnish President Halonen, South Korean President Park, etc.). Meanwhile, comparative research on women executives is nearly non-existent. My project focuses on a neglected geographic region—post-communist Eastern Europe—where women presidents have become a “new political normal.” Starting with Latvia’s Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, and followed by Lithuania’s Dalia Grybauskaite, Kosovo’s Atifete Jahjaga, and recently Croatia’s Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, this project will compare and offer a more focused and in-depth examination of political circumstances, contextual paths and powers, as well as leadership traits of the four women presidents. My study will seek answers the following key questions: What are the circumstances that allow women in Eastern Europe to reach the highest national positions? Are there any auspicious conditions that females benefit from, which could account for their political successes? As political actors and “glass ceiling breakers” how do they influence the established power hierarchy? What kind of leadership impact do they have, and is it different from their male counterparts? How much of a feminist agenda do these female presidents advance? In answering these questions, this project will fill in existing gaps in gender, political leadership, and area studies’ literatures.

All meetings are held at the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies, New York University

285 Mercer St., 7th Floor. 4:30 to 6:00pm


Fall 2016 Schedule–all are welcome

September 16

Aušra Park, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Siena College

“Shattering the Glass Ceiling in Eastern Europe: The Rise of Female Presidents (Lithuania, Latvia, Kosovo, Croatia)”


October 7

Fabio Mattiolli, Faculty Fellow at Center for European & Mediterranean Studies, New York University

“Manhood and Authoritarian Financialization in Macedonia”


November 11

Victoria Apostol, Founder, the Group of Feminist Initiatives, Moldova

“The Rise of Religious Populism in Eastern Europe”
December 9

Marina Kingsbury, Lecturer, Political Science, University of AL at Huntsville

“Let’s Have More Russian Babies: How Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Shapes Family Policy in Russia”


Talks are 4:30 to 6.  We usually go out to an informal dinner afterwards.  All are welcome to both.



Call for Papers for 2016-7

“Gender and the Crises in Europe”


The GENDER and TRANSFORMATION: WOMEN in EUROPE Workshop invites speakers to submit proposals for Friday afternoon talks for the academic year 2016-2017 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 2015-2016 we are particularly (but not only) interested in speakers addressing theoretically and/or empirically the crises in Europe and the threats of rupture of the European Union: resurgent populism and nationalism, responses to the massive migrations, the rise of so-called anti-genderism, and the impact of these developments on gender policy and practice, including on reproductive rights, gender violence, and gender equality laws.

The workshop’s 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. Recent workshop included topics such as the women’s court as a new form of feminist justice in former Yugoslavia, the sexuality and agency of the Balkan Roma, feminism on the streets and in art in Ukraine, and intermarriage in divided Germany–and speakers such as Dubravka Ugrešić.

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

To propose a talk for 2016-2017, 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 onto 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.