Academic Success in Gender Studies during War, Anti-Gender Attacks, and Pandemic

September 20, 2022

Is it even worth investing years in writing scientific papers when the world is falling apart around us? The book launch on 14th September 2022 invited graduates of CEU Department of Gender Studies and gender researchers from Austria to share their personal stories and present their recent publications. Andrea Pető opened the event by emphasizing that it is important to tell “better stories” during the time of “grim stories”.

Izabella Agardi started by introducing her book “On the Verge of History. Life Stories of Rural Women from Serbia, Romania and Hungary, 1920-2020” and shared the challenges she faced during her thesis work and the motives that kept her going.

After that, the Austrian gender studies scholar and professor in political science at the University of Vienna, Birgit Sauer introduced her chapter in the anthology “Global Contestations of Gender Rights”. In this chapter, she and Julia Roth argue that right-wing actors co-opt other ideologies such as Christianism to underpin their claims. She ended by mapping the genealogy and ongoing problems of gender studies in Austria.

Judith Goetz post-doc at the University Innsbruck drew her path to gender studies in the intersection with research on right-wing extremism. Later, Goetz and Swantje Hoeft, doctoral student at the department, presented their co-authored research on demographic discourses in EU institutions. The work was conducted by a working group on demography by them and Andrea Pető and Livia Oláh from the European Feminist Platform of the Böll Foundation which aims to bring a feminist agenda into European politics.

Finally, Redi Koobak, Postdoctoral Fellow of the University of Bergen and Editor of European Journal of Women’s Studies elaborated on her conception of the book “Postcolonial and Postsocialist Dialogues: Intersections, Opacities, Challenges” (2021) and her path as a young researcher and mother.

The event elucidated a moment of hope and hopelessness in the careers of gender studies scholars, and underscored the significance of research with critical gender-informed lens.