Gender and Narratives of Political Change Conference



Gender and Narratives of Political Change

European Journal of Women's Studies

20th Year Conference

October 17-18, 2014

Karaköy Minerva Palace, Istanbul


The 20th anniversary of the EJWS coincides with a highly politicized moment shaped by austerity regimes that accompany various crises, rise of conservative and racist political movements (with significant numbers of women participating in them), grassroots urban movements reclaiming public spaces and challenging the limits of representative politics, neoliberal biopolitics expanding the control of bodies to the genetic and the molecular, and seemingly contradictory changes in gender and sexuality regimes – the expansion of rights for women and non-normative sexualities accompanying hate crimes, sexual violence and new forms of control and repression. On the southern and eastern edges of Europe, women have played a key role in the “revolutions” that have changed authoritarian regimes, and are now facing religious and political backlash. In the case of Syria and Iraq, women’s lives are destroyed or torn by war and sexual violence, turning them into one of the most vulnerable group of refugees in Europe and the Middle East. Challenges of climate change and the increasingly difficult access to water and other resources are adding to women’s vulnerability.

As feminist scholars, we find ourselves faced with some difficult questions. For instance, while the legalization of same-sex marriage in so many states would have been unthinkable only a decade ago, such “normalization” risks intersectional politics and solidarity across class, race, ethnicity and religion. Moreover, terms like “gender equality” and “women’s liberation” have become incorporated by right-wing movements which involve significant mobilization of women. How have feminist activists and scholars dealt with such incorporation? How do we respond to such mobilization (of women, LGBTI individuals, or feminist/queer conceptual tools) for conservative and racist agendas? Are the tools developed by feminist theory and activism through the years adequate to respond to the vast changes taking place in our social and political milieu? Or do we need “new words, new methods” (to paraphrase Virginia Woolf)? Do we see “new words, new methods” coming out of the various grassroots or transnational movements that are emerging?

This conference aims to provide a dynamic forum to discuss the narratives of contemporary political change from a feminist perspective, focusing on two main threads: Understanding the gendering and sexualization of narratives of contemporary political change and analyzing the ways in which feminist and LGBTI movements respond to narratives of political change and/or construct alternative narratives.

Click here to download the full program.


The language of the conference is English. There will be no simultaneous translation. 






October 17 Friday











Registration & Coffee




Welcome Remarks

Hülya Adak and Ayşe Gül Altınay (Sabancı University)

Kathy Davis (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)




Opening Session I


Chair: Dubravka  Žarkov

Nadje Al-Ali (SOAS, University of London)

Sexual Violence, Authoritarianism & Military Interventions: Challenges for Transnational Feminist Politics


Coffee Break



Roundtable I


Feminist Responses to Gendered Wars, Gendered “Peace”


Chair:  Nadje Al-Ali


Dubravka Žarkov (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Feminist Analysis of the Present Global Moment: From ‘New Wars’ to War Economies

Betül Çelik (Sabancı University)

Holistic Approach to Violence: Women MPs’ Understanding of Violence against Women and Violence in the Kurdish Issue in Turkey

Hülya Adak (Sabancı University)

Motherhood and the Politics of Mourning






Roundtable II


Traveling Theory, Traveling Politics


Chair: Sibel Irzık

Kathy Davis (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Translating Feminism and Its Travels

madeleine kennedy-macfoy (Education International)

Feminisms at the UN: Making Space for, and Giving Voice to, Women’s Rights in UN Processes

Ayşe Gül Altınay (Sabancı University)

"Consciousness-Raising Groups": Nostalgic Past or Promising Future?


Coffee Break




Roundtable III


Aesthetics & Politics


Chair: Kathy Davis

Veronica Pravadelli (Roma Tre University)

Friendship, Politics, and Social Change in Maghrebi and Middle Eastern Women’s Cinema

Annedith Schneider (Sabancı University)

Hospitality as Homemaking in Franco-Turkish Women's Writing

Sibel Irzık (Sabancı University)

Gender and Politics in Turkish Coup d’état Novels


 General Discussion







October 18




Registration & Coffee




Opening Session II


Chair: Ann Phoenix

Andrea Petö (Central European University)

The Haunting Ghost of “Gender Ideology” in Europe: State of the Art and Possible Counter Strategies


Coffee Break



Roundtable IV


Shifting Politics of

LGBTI Struggles


Chair: Hülya Adak

Ulrika Dahl (Södertörn University)

Anti-Racism and (Queer) Feminism in the Face of Growing Nationalism and Fascism: Theory and Practice in the Case of Sweden

Armanc Yıldız (Sabancı University)

Fictive Pasts, Resented Presents: Tolerating Gays, Wishing the Muslims away, and a Haunting Turkish Boat in Amsterdam

Dilara Çalışkan (Sabancı University)

Can We Speak of Queer Postmemory? - Tracing the Intergenerational Transfer of Memory among Queer Mothers and Daughters in Istanbul






Roundtable V


Feminist Analysis and Politics Across Borders


chair: madeleine kennedy-macfoy

Helma Lutz (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)

Care Revolution

Ayşe Parla (Sabancı University)

A Renewed Call for Gender as a Key Category of Analysis in Studies of Migration

Ann Phoenix (University of London)

Reconstructing and Reconstituting Boundaries in Feminist Analysis and Politics

Feyza Akınerdem (City University London)

Muslims against Violence towards Women’: New Promises, New Alliances

Nil Mutluer (Nişantaşı University)

Kemalist Feminists in the Era of AKP


Coffee Break




Final Session


European Journal of Women’s Studies:

What’s Next?


EJWS Editorial Board

Ann Phoenix

Ayşe Gül Altınay

Dubravka Žarkov (Chair)

Helma Lutz

Kathy Davis

madeleine kennedy-macfoy

Ulrika Dahl        

Veronica Pravadelli


Closing Discussion