Building Transnational Feminist Solidarities in Academia
The year 2020 has presented global challenges for everyone on which unequal social power relations have been revealed once again. It became especially clear that gender studies and gender research are subject to particular hostilities. While right-wing populists have denied the scientific nature of gender research, the pandemic brought new critical voices that questioned once again the right of gender studies to exist and so science and academic freedom. Nevertheless, the current crisis has made it more clear how unequal gender relations are and highlights the importance of gender studies to reveal this.
At the Margherita von Brentano Center for Gender Studies, it became evident the urgency to set a sign against the backlash that gender studies are facing. Here, the celebration of the #4GenderStudies Science Day on December 18 seemed to be the right point of reference. The initiative started in 2017 with the intention to show Gender Studies in all its diversity and to portray its scientific potential at the academic and social level. On the eve of the fourth edition of the Science Day #4GenderStudies, we have organized the Online Workshop “#4GenderStudies: Building Transnational Feminist Solidarities in Academia” on October 20.
We planned this event with the objective to connect with our international colleagues, discuss and get to know different perspectives, especially in contexts where gender research is particularly threatened. The workshop was a call for solidarity: a unified bond between different scientific and geographical communities. On that day, Erzsébet Barat from Hungary, Chelsea Schieder from Japan, Margret Lünenborg and Paula-Irene Villa for the German context reported on current threats and possible strategies for resettlement. The idea behind the workshop was to strengthen the international networks of gender researchers*, as well as solidarity and agency within the academic and scientific community. For this reason, in the second part of the workshop, we discussed in groups obstacles, strategies, and, above all, global feminist solidarity. The aim of achieving global solidarity was also behind the format of the event, as we invited academics from our network, who in turn could also invite part of their own networks. In this constellation, many exciting inputs and ideas were generated, and global challenges were discussed. The results of these group discussions were recorded in a special format. The feminist artist Sonaksha Iyengar made a graphic recording for us, which at a glance wonderfully illustrates our thoughts and discussions.
The opportunity to bring together so many gender researchers* led to the idea that everyone should have the opportunity to network, to get to know each other, to discuss, to draw attention to threats, and to create global resistance. For this reason, we hope to have contributed to lay the foundations to create an international feminist solidarity network and have set up a Mailing List for this purpose.
We would be pleased if numerous gender researchers* could subscribe, share, and use this list for mutual exchange!