WS025 - Defying resistance: feminist and queer responses to anti-progressive opposition
Convened by Esther Miedema, Nicky Pouw and Christoforos-Dimitrios Zafeiris (all from University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Feminist and queer activists and movements around the world have long evoked resistance and had to respond to efforts to silence those who speak out about questions of rights, particularly when these rights concern, for example, people of colour, undocumented migrants or religious minorities. The rise of right-wing nationalist parties, normalization of racist, misogynist and transphobic discourses, and increasing legal and financial restrictions on social justice movements requires activists to find (new) ways to build communities and promote their goals. Additionally, concerns regarding climate change, conflict and growing social inequality more broadly means activists have to find ways to counter arguments that the issues they raise are too narrow given today’s global challenges.

This workshop seeks to explore how activist movements and communities around the world are responding to ‘anti-progressive’ agendas and strategies, acknowledging that responses need to be part of a long-term struggle against growing social inequalities and need to enact micro-politics of the ‘here and now.’ We depart from the premise that silencing takes place in diverse settings and relationships across various scales, and takes varying forms, but also that these differing modes of silencing relate to each other. Additionally, we acknowledge that practices of silencing will vary in offline and online environments, and seek to better understand how digital silencing shapes new forms of activism, for example, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The workshop is geared to identifying various ways in which feminist and queer activists may be circumventing silencing and closing spaces. Careful attention will be paid to how race, nationality and religion shapes how the forms of silencing, and how activists respond. The workshop will explore what these other/new forms of activism mean in terms of creating political leverage and promoting equality.