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

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact 

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 Transnational 'Anti-Gender' Movements and Resistance: Narratives and Interventions is a project led by Professors Clare Hemmings and Sumi Madhok of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

This research network maps the narrative building blocks – the political grammars, conceptual vocabularies, rhetoric, figures, and temporalities – of both ‘anti-gender ideology’ interventions and the political struggles and solidarities engendered in resistance.

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 draw out how these mobilisations work.

Through four transnational workshops, the network will bring together scholars, activists and policy-makers from different parts of the globe to contend seriously with ‘anti-gender ideology’ and its counter-narratives. The network is supported by a dynamic Advisory Board comprising UK-based and international representatives within academia and progressive civil society actors and organisations.

In foregrounding a focus on concepts and narrative, the network aims to develop a transnational methodology which can help us draw out how these ‘anti-gender’ mobilisations work, with the aim of generating more robust tools for resistance to the take up of anti-feminism for right-wing agendas.

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Statement by the Advisory Board of AHRC Network on 'Transnational 'Anti-Gender' Movements and Resistance: Narratives and Interventions' on the Resignation of Dr Jacob Breslow from the membership of the Board.