Gendered Autocratization. PhD Conference 21-22 March with open and streamed keynotes and roundtables.

Are you a PhD student and interested in the politics of gender and sexual and reproductive rights?
This 2-day Conference-format PhD course is for you.
Taking place on 21- 22 March 2024 at the University of Bergen in Norway, it provides the opportunity to listen to and engage with experts in the field, present and discuss your own work, and broaden your network. Scholarships are available. MA students may be admitted to the course if space permits. Application deadline 25. February!
Gender is a versatile instrument in the playbook of populist politicians and autocratic leaders. In some countries measures enhancing women’s representation has served to build democratic credentials with the international community and domestic constituencies despite a hardening of the leaders’ grip on power. More widespread, is the use of anti-gender-rhetoric by politicians to mobilize support and for leaders strengthen their hold on power. This commonly takes the form of a crusade against western or liberal gender ideology – which is shorthand for LGBTIQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer) rights; protection against gender-based violence; rights to abortion and reproductive health services, and comprehensive sex education. Portrayed as defence of tradition, religion, culture, national sovereignty and the natural family, anti-gender mobilization resonates with public opinion in many societies and has become a favoured and very effective means to rally support. This has enabled the passing of restrictive laws, not only against individuals engaging in ‘immoral’ activities (such as abortion or consensual sex between persons of the same gender), but also against civil society more broadly, restricting criticism and opposition. We see this trend clearly across the African and American continents, in Eastern Europe and the Muslim world, but it is also notable in many Asian and Western European countries. At the same time, ‘gender politics’ and particularly abortion rights, are central in the resistance against democratic backsliding.
This two-day international PhD course (2 ECTS) give students from different countries who work on aspects of this phenomenon, a chance to present and discuss their work. They will hear from and engage with experts in the field on what drives and shapes this trend, how it plays out in different contexts, and what the effects are.
Format: This is an in-person course combining lectures, roundtable discussions and presentation of work in progress. Participants must submit a (draft) paper or thesis outline and give a presentation of their work (10 mins). They will receive comments from other PhD students and experienced researchers. Each partipant is expected to prepare comments for a fellow student and take active part in discussions and roundtable sessions. The course literature should be read in advance. 2 ECTS will be awarded for participation in the course with a paper presentation.
Funding: Scholarships are available to cover the costs of transport to Bergen, Norway, and hotel accommodation for the duration of the conference (3 nights in shared double room), and visa costs if applicable. Please indicate on your application if you also are applying for a scholarship.
Application deadline: 25 February
For questions, contact Lara Côrtes

Illustration by David Ikbo from the cover of “Queer Lawfare in Africa” by PULP press