CfP: Anthropology of Gender in the Balkans, 9-10 September 2019, Georg-August University, Göttingen


Liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen, sehr geehrte Listenmitglieder,

gerne möchte ich Sie auf eine öffentliche Workshop zum Thema „Anthropology of Gender in the Balkans“ aufmerksam machen, die an der Georg-August-Universität veranstaltet wird.

(Termin: 09-10. September 2019; Austragungsort: Tagungszentrum an der Sternwarte / Geismarer Landstr. 11b, Göttingen)

Mit den besten Grüßen
Carna Brkovic

Call for Participation

Anthropology of Gender in theBalkans: Focusing on Historical Transformations and Analytical Strategies

Georg-August University,Göttingen, 09-10 September 2019


The workshop“Anthropology of Gender in the Balkans” has two goals. First, it aims to bringtogether anthropologists who explore gender in the Balkans ethnographically topresent their work and to connect. Second, it aims to invite its participantsto discuss how they research and writeabout gender dynamics, hierarchies, oppressions, and inequalities in the Balkancountries, without reiterating the problematic discourse about the backwardnessof the region and the need for the Balkans to catch up with Europe.

There is avibrant anthropological scholarship that explores gender practices in theBalkans both ethnographically and critically. However, a focuseddiscussion on strategies that anthropologists use to critically research genderin this region is missing. Therefore,the key question of the workshop is: what analytical, epistemological, andnarrative strategies do we as anthropologists use to articulate ethnographicallygrounded criticism of gender asymmetries and inequalities in the Balkans beyondthe usual balkanizing tropes and frozen concepts?

This is an important question because the anthropological analysis isthoroughly comparative: anthropologists learn by making the strange morefamiliar, or by making the familiar seem strange. Translating human behaviour acrossdifferent degrees of familiarity and difference may involve a critical perspective,but it does not have to. Our workshop asks – when anthropologists do writecritically about gender in the Balkans, how do we do it? Whatanalytical, epistemological, and narrative strategies do we use?

We invite the participants to take a part in this workshop and to presentpapers on the critical anthropological writing about the Balkans within two thematicstrands: 1) historical transformations 2) analytical strategies.


Historical transformations

One productive strategy to offer criticalanalysis, yet avoid the danger of balkanism, has been to conduct feminist / gender/ women-centred research focusing on past and historical transformations. There is agrowing body of literature that focuses on the emancipation of women duringsocialist modernity and takes this as a reference point for a criticism ofcontemporary gender policies and relevant legislature both in the Balkans andin the rest of Europe. There are also anthropologists who look at thehistorical changes in kinship and property regimes in the Balkans in order tocritically explore contemporary logic and organization of gender practices andrelations. We invite the participants in this strand to present their researchand include a brief reflection on their analytical, epistemological, andnarrative choices in writing critically about gender in the Balkans. Can we explain the collapseof socialist (second) world by deficiencies and aberrations of its“state feminism” as the core of the socialist egalitarian politics? Do we look to the (socialist) past, or atcontemporary processes as an inspiration for comparative thinking?


Analytical strategies

What (other) theoretical and methodological strategies do anthropologistswho study gender in the Balkans employ? Do we disregard“the Balkans” as a framework and approach our fieldsites as already “properly”European? Do we abandon an implicit comparison between “the Balkans” and“Europe” altogether? Or do we try toplace our analyses in a wider framework of global ethnographic and historical comparations?What analytical merits doesthe anthropology of gender get if it joins its efforts with feministhistoriography, postcolonial, black, queer and Neo-Marxist feministstudies?


Keynotespeakers are Nita Luci (University of Prishtina) and Zsófia Lóránd (University of Göttingen).


If you areinterested in presenting a paper, please send a 200-word abstract and a shortbio note to  by 20 July 2019.

We also invite advancedBA, MA, and PhD students and other early-career anthropologists who have notyet completed their fieldwork to participate in the “Research in Progress”panel by presenting their research plans and issues they encountered whenstudying gender in the Balkans. To apply for this panel please submit a 200-worddescription of your planned talk, a short bio note to  by 20 July 2019, and clearly indicate that youwant to participate in the “Research in Progress” panel.


Hotel andpartial travel expenses will be covered for all the participants from Albania,Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Kosovo, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro,Serbia, as well as Germany, thanks to a grant received through the DAAD program“East-West Dialogue: University Dialogue with the Countries of the WesternBalkans 2019”.



Tea Škokić,Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research

PaulaPetričević, ANIMA

RenataJambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research

ZoricaIvanović, University of Belgrade

Prof. Dr. SabineHess, Georg-August University, Göttingen

Ervina Dabižinović,ANIMA

Čarna Brković, Georg-AugustUniversity, Göttingen

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