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21.06.2023 - 23.06.2023 | Marburg

Conference: Anti-Feminism and Anti-Gender Politics in Authoritarian Regimes

The Role of the State, Religion, and Feminist Counter-Strategies in the Near and Middle East and Eastern Europe

The political ascent of authoritarian populist regimes has triggered fears over the erosion of existing and evolving democratic processes in various parts of the world. A particular concern are the anti-feminist and anti-gender policies advocated by authoritarian populist movements as they pose a direct threat to the individual rights of women and LGBTI*Q persons.

The purpose of this conference is to compare the anti-feminist politics of authoritarian regimes in the Near and Middle East and Eastern Europe. To that end, it brings together two strands of research – the study of anti-feminism and anti-gender politics and the study of authoritarian populism – and focus on two regions that have previously been under-researched from a comparative perspective. This conference builds on an interdisciplinary, comparative and historicising approach. It gathers experienced researchers from both regions and aims to generate new knowledge about the mechanisms of authoritarianism and anti-feminism currently at work in both regional contexts. The conference places particular emphasis on the role of the state and organised religion within these processes. Another thematic priority addressed in this conference is the counter-hegemonic strategies of feminist women’s rights movements.

This conference represents a cooperation between the Centre for Gender Studies and Feminist Futurology (ZGS) and the Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) at Philipps- Universität Marburg with the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe.

This conference is generously funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. Other contributors are Gender Studies and Feminist Futures Research Centre and Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe.


Dr. Pierre Hecker, Centre for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS)

Dr. Heidi Hein-Kircher, Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe

Prof. Dr. Annette Henninger, Centre for Gender Studies and Feminist Futurology (ZGS)

Dr. Funda Hülagü, Centre for Gender Studies and Feminist Futurology (ZGS)

21 June 2023, Wednesday

16:00 Guided tour through the Herder Institute (optional) with Heidi Hein-Kircher

17:00 Registration

17:30 Welcome Speeches

18:00 Keynote

Nadje Al-Ali, “Beyond Exceptionalism and Area Studies: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Anti-gender/feminist Discourses and Politics”

22 June 2023, Thursday

09:30 – 11:00 Anti-Gender Politics in times of Multiple Crises: An Outcome or a Cause?
Chair: Pierre Hecker

Alev Özkazanç, “Transformations in the Gendered Character of the State under Authoritarian-Populist Regimes: The Case of Turkey”
Elżbieta Korolczuk, “Anti-gender Campaigns as a Challenge to Liberal Democracy”

11:00 – 11:15 Coffee Break

11:15 – 12:45 Anti-Gender Politics: Instrumentalizing the East-West Divide?
Chair: Annette Henninger

Mojca Pajnik, “Anti-gender Mobilization: Defending ‘the Traditional’ from a Post-sexual Imaginary in Central-Eastern Europe”
Dina Wahba, Salzburg, “The Co-construction of Militarized Masculinities: The Wutbürger and the NAFRI local realities and global connections”

12:45 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 15:30 Doing Gender Politics in Authoritarian Contexts: Moving with, along or against the state?
Chair: Heidi Hein-Kircher

Katie Kraft, “Distilling Diffuse Totalitarianism: Russia, Anti-genderism, and the Strengthening State”
Helen Rizzo, “Thirty Years of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Activism under Difficult Social and Political Conditions: The Case of Egypt”

15: 30 – 16:00 Coffee Break

16: 00 – 17:30 Keynote

Dalia Leinartė, “Women’s Rights in Eastern-Central Europe: from de jure to gender backlash”

23 June 2023, Friday

09:30- 11:15 Secular and Religious (Anti)Feminisms and Women´s Rights
Chair: Funda Hülagü

Ayşe Durakbaşa, “Cracks in Erdoğan’s Authoritarian Rule: Women’s Agency, Anti-feminist backlash and Feminist Resistance”
Nadezhda Beliakova, “‘Traditional Values’ as the (Dis)Connection Between Secular and Religious Antifeminism in Post-Soviet Russia”
Anna Heller, “Perspectives of Islamic and Secular Feminism on Women’s Rights in Iran”

11:15 – 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 – 13:00 Feminist and Queer Counterstrategies: Challenges and Prospects I
Chair: Ayşe Durakbaşa

Zeynab Peyghambarzadeh, “Claiming Visibility and Belonging by the Iranian LGBTQIA+ Movement”
Jennifer Ramme, “Feminist and LGBTQ* Solidarities and Counterstrategies in the light of the Right-wing Consolidation of Power in Poland”

13:00 – 13:45 Lunch

13:45 – 15:15 Feminist and Queer Counterstrategies: Challenges and Prospects II
Chair: Alev Özkazanç

Magdalena Grabowska, “Towards the New Social Contract? Abortion Protests, Social Reproduction in the time of Polycrisis, and the longer (De)democratization Processes in Poland”
Selin Çağatay, “Bringing the Counterpublic back in. Reconceptualizing Feminist Politics in times of Anti-gender Mobilizations”

15:15 – 15:30 Coffee Break

15:30 – 17:00 Wrap up and Discussion on Future Research Cooperation

Moderators: Pierre Hecker, Heidi Hein-Kircher and Funda Hülagü

Hinweise zur Teilnahme:
If you wish to attend the conference, please register before 18 June 2023 and send an email to Since there is only a limited number of seats available at the Herder-Institute, we kindly ask you mention the days you wish to attend. You will receive timely confirmation before the conference. Invited speakers have already been registered. Registration is for external participants only!


21.06.2023 ab 16:00 - 23.06.2023 17:00


Herder-Institut, Marburg
Gisonenweg 5-7
35037 Marburg


Journalisten, Wissenschaftler





Geschichte / Archäologie, Gesellschaft


Konferenz / Symposion / (Jahres-)Tagung




Antje Coburger M.A.


Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Veranstaltung ist kostenlos:




URL dieser Veranstaltung:

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