15/1/2020 - Julia Espinosa-Fajardo

“Gender policies after the rise of the far-right: the impact of VOX party in Andalusia (Spain)” 

Patterns of democratic backsliding for gender equality can be identified in different areas (social, legal, political, knowledge-related, cultural, etc.) and are connected to the agency of a variety of actors. Populist radical right parties (PRRP) are prominent -along with anti-gender movements- in openly questioning the necessity to undertake gender equality policies. Their active opposition to equality measures in Europe and elsewhere is having an impact on the democratic commitment to the liberal value of equality. 

This presentation addresses the case of Spain, a country that has witnessed only recently the rise of Vox party, a PRRP with a strong anti-gender stance. It specifically focuses on the case of Andalusia, a Spanish region governed since January 2019 by a coalition of two mainstream right parties (Popular Party and Citizens) relying on Vox’s parliamentary support. 



Julia Espinosa-Fajardo is Lecturer at the Sociology Area of the University of Cádiz (Spain), where she also coordinates the Iberoamerican Observatory of Equality and Gender Public Policies. Her research interests are related to gender and equality policies, their implementation and evaluation in the European Union and in Latin America. She has focused her activity on analysing how gender and equality issues are addressed in public policies at international, national and local level. Currently her research covers Gender, Intersectionality and Public Policy with special emphasis on the study of emergent oppositions and resistances. 

Alba Alonso is Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Santiago de Compostela. Her main area of research refers to gender and politics, with a particular emphasis on the implementation of equality policies, the study of federalism and territorial dynamics from a gender perspective, and more recently, the analysis of the radical right and the opposition to feminism. She has been a member of the QUING Project as well as of three EU-wide studies launched by the European Institute for Gender Equality. Her more recent work has appeared in journals like Social Politics, Politics and Gender and the European Journal of Women’s Studies (ORCID 0000-0001-6917-3987).

15 January, 12.00-13.00​

19/2/2020 - Shaban Darakchi

“The Western Feminists Want to Make Us Gay”: Nationalism, Heteronormativity, and Violence Against Women in Bulgaria in Times of “Anti-gender Campaigns”

The abolishment of women’s and LGBTQ rights has become one of the main goals of the so-called “anti-gender campaigns” emerging on a global scale. This study investigates discourses and notions that reject the concepts of “gender” and “gender-based violence” in times of “anti-gender campaigns” in Bulgaria. Based on discourse analysis and data from social media comments, the study demonstrates how “gender politics of fear” in Bulgaria have been included in the heteronormative, political, religious, nationalistic, and anti-feminist discourses and how gender and LGBTQ equality policies are identified as a threat to the traditional Bulgarian values. Engaging with the concept of hegemonic femininity, the analysis identifies four main types of notions among women opposing women’s rights policies and demonstrates how the socialist past of Bulgaria has strengthened these beliefs. Finally, the analysis discusses some possible directions towards a constructive and evidence-based dialogue in times of “anti-gender campaigns”, taking into account the strategic “delegitimization” of gender studies globally and the potential of the progressive and feminist religious scholarship and “contextual reasoning”.



Shaban Darakchi is currently an FWO Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow. His home institution is the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. His main professional interests are gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and religion in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria. Currently, Shaban is investigating sexual minorities and identities in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. In 2014 he was a Fulbright Visiting Fellow at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, USA and in 2016 he spent six months at the Australian Centre for Sex Research as an Endeavour Fellow.



Wednesday 19 February, 12.30-14.00,

Stadscampus Meerminne, Room M106

30/3/2022 - Patricio Simonetto

Op woensdag 30 maart 2022, zal Patricio Simonetto​ (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow, Institute of het Americas, University College London) een lezing geven, met als titel: “Was Sex Inflexible? A Queer History of Gender Transgressions in Early Twentieth Century Argentina.”

In the early twentieth century, Argentine physicians, policymakers and journalists expressed their concern about new queer characters that took the public scene of the growing urban landscapes. They were usually named Mujeres-hombres, machonas or invertidos sexuales for breaking gender rules and challenging what physicians defined as sex. While the local elites understood them as enemies of their national modernisation project, these people also became famous characters of postcards, theatre productions and tabloid magazines. A popularity led to a prohibition of dressing in clothes of the "opposite sex" in public spaces in 1933. This presentation will explore the social and cultural history of transgressive gender embodiments during the early twentieth century. The lecture will explore the practices and discourses of those who "changed their sex" before the popularisation of biotechnological treatments. The presentation argues that gender transgressions offer a crucial insight into the meaning of sex and its role in the context of national modernisation projects. By decentring the attention away from homosexuality and considering both male and female sex change, the lecture emphasises the body's centrality in the affirmation of gender beyond identities.

​Patricio Simonetto's project has been funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie-Sklodowka Curie grant number 886496.

Deze lezing wordt georganiseerd door Marjolein Van Bavel (PoHis), in samenwerking met Magaly Rodriguez (KU Leuven) en A* Antwerp Gender and Sexuality Studies Network.

Jullie zijn van harte welkom in lokaal KS.203 (Het Brantijser, Sint-Jacobsmarkt 13), van 16:00 tot 17:30.

11/5/2022 - Koen Slootmaeckers

What Progress? When Europeanisation meets sexuality politics in Serbia

FSW lecture dr. Koen Slootmaeckers in collaboration with A*, the Antwerp Gender and Sexuality Studies Network and Heleen Touquet, Chair in European Values

Wednesday 11 May 2022, 1.00-2.30 PM, room M101, Sint-Jacobstraat 2, 2000 Antwerp

In this talk, Koen will present his forthcoming book (Coming In, Manchester University Press), which seek to understand an analyse the symbolism of symbolism of LGBT rights in the EU enlargement process and its impact of LGBT politics and lived realities. By critically analysing the promotion of and resistance to LGBT equality norms in Serbia’s EU integration process, and unravelling underlying politics, this talk will demonstrates that the EU enlargement process has created the opportunity for Serbia to politicise LGBT rights. By engaging what with Pride and Anti-Discrimination laws in Serbia, and theorising how their potential for change have been reduced, it will showcase the dangers of simply analysing progress through the lens of practices and institutions. Overall, the talk will demonstrate the need for a more critical analysis of the LGBT politics by raising critical questions about what we consider progress and the role of legal and institutional change within it. Rights without material change for people remain empty, make-belief signifiers of progress, as progress in law without a change in their lived experience remains hypothetical.

Koen Slootmaeckers is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in International Politics at the Department of International Politics at City, University of London. He has a background in sociology (BSc and MSc from Ghent University [Belgium]) and holds PhD in Political Science from Queen Mary University of London. Koen is a former co-chair and current executive board member of the Council of European Studies' Gender and Sexuality Research Network; and an executive committee member for UACES. His research deals with the promotion of and resistance to LGBT equality in international politics. More specifically, Koen has studied the EU accession of Serbia and how this process affects LGBT politics and activism. More generally, Koen’s research interest is the power relations within transnational politics and the de-construction of core-periphery hierarchical relations, with a specific interest in topics dealing with masculinities and LGBT issues.