Transnational 'Anti-Gender' Movements and Resistance: Narratives and Interventions

Lead Research Organisation: London School of Economics and Political Science
Department Name: Gender Institute


Right-wing agendas have consistently identified feminism, gender equality and anti-racism as a problem, and have used 'anti-gender', 'anti-feminist', and anti-migrant feeling as a way of garnering support for nationalist, cultural, religious or political agendas. Currently 'anti-gender' attacks are on the rise globally, in the form of violence against feminists, LGBTQI communities and institutionalisation of feminist thought in universities, NGOs and governments. 'Anti-gender' aggression also forms part of religious, ethnic, cultural and nationalist fundamentalism in a range of contexts, with gender equality demonised as a foreign import associated with heightened migration and liberalisation, or heightened Westernisation. Within feminism, too, 'anti-gender' work insists on the integrity of 'sex', both as the unique site of sexual oppression of women, and as a unique position from which to challenge sexual violence and its representations. In this context, trans* claims to integrity are dismissed, and critiques of sexual essentialism from within decolonial feminism remain unacknowledged. The research network starts from a critique of sexed, sexual, racial and cultural 'authenticity' that lies at the core of 'anti-gender' rhetoric, exploring Arts and Humanities approaches that can help us draw out how these mobilisations work, with the aim of generating more robust tools for resistance to the take up of anti-feminism for right-wing agendas.

It will bring together people who are already doing research on 'gender ideology' within academia, or as activists and policy-makers, and ask them to foreground a focus on concepts and narrative in order to contribute to the network's transnational methodological aims. We will invite participants from the main sites of 'anti-gender' mobilisations: Brazil, India, Pakistan, Hungary, Germany, Poland, the UK, the US and Scandinavia to participate in four linked events as follows:

1. Politics. This workshop will identify the 'politics of "anti-gender" mobilisations' across multiple sites and scales by focusing on common languages used, figures invoked, concepts developed and narrative arcs embellished. It will explore methods through which 'anti-gender' approaches are linked to right-wing developments and begin to answer the question of why gender itself is so important as part of arguments about culture and authority. Finally, it will ask after the modes of resistance that also characterise its contemporary politics.
2. Geographies. This second workshop will foreground the question of location and scale in examining crossovers between sites of investigation transnationally. How are a range of different geographies represented as 'under siege', and how are the boundaries and borders of region, nation or culture produced and policed (at the grammatical and rhetorical level). How are such instantiations resisted by transnational social movement for gender equality?
3. Temporalities. The third workshop focuses on the stories told about past, present and future by 'anti-gender' movements transnationally. How are audiences persuaded of what has been lost and what needs to be found (again)? Origin stories about family and nation are key here, but how do these stories work to generate an idea of a shared temporality across different sites? How too do responses from within intersectional feminisms work to interrupt those temporalities to open up new futures?
4. Transnational Imaginaries. This final event will be a larger one that presents the work of the workshops to a broad audience and showcases the importance of a narrative approach as part of developing a transnational methodology to interrogate and resist 'anti-gender' mobilisations.

The work starts from a resistance to 'anti-gender' work, and its participants locate themselves as part of trans* inclusive, intersectional, anticolonial feminism attentive to the importance of Arts and Humanities-based interventions to political critique.
Description First AHRC Network Workshop at LSE: Transnational "Anti-Gender" Politics and Resistance 
Organisation School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The workshop was hosted at LSE in December 2022, 3 months after the start of the network. It was over 2 days, including a network meeting for guests and a one-day workshop with Advisory Board collaborators and an audience of 300+ participants.
Collaborator Contribution Members of the AHRC Network in attendance all gave papers and participated in the Advisory Board Meeting: Sonia Correa (Sexuality Policy Watch, Brazil); Eric Fassin (Paris 8); Olga Plakhotnik (Berlin/Ukraine); Anne Phillips, Nicola Lacey, Leticia Sabsay, SM Rodriguez, Niharika Pandit, Marsha Henry, Ania Plomien (LSE Gender); Hakan Seckinelgin and Coretta Phillips (LSE Social Policy); Shaku Banaji (LSE Media); Alyosxa Tudor (SOAS); Judith Butler (UC Berkeley); Tshepo Ricki Kgositau (GATE); Francoise Verges (Decolonize the Arts)
Impact Series from Workshop being published in Engenderings Blog (ongoing)
Start Year 2022
Description SOAS Conference February: We are the feminisms in the lecture theatres and on the streets 
Organisation School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The conference was held at SOAS, university of london, in Feb 2023. Several of the members of the AHRC Network were in attendance and spoke: Clare Hemmings (PI), Sumi Madhok (CI); Alyosxa Tudor (organiser); SM Rodriguez.
Collaborator Contribution They organised the event as part of the expansion of the network.
Impact Publications in Engenderings forthcoming; ongoing discussion with Sexualities journal for publication.
Start Year 2023