Deniz Kandiyoti

How did gender move to the center of democratic struggles?

Deniz Kandiyoti, Professor in gender and development studies, SOAS University of London, explores the impact of gender politics on debates over governance and belonging. Watch her #KAPTalks below.

Tuesday 15.02.2022


The central objective of this talk is to analyze how the politics of gender came to occupy a central place in debates over citizenship, national belonging, and the future of democratic governance. These debates diverge widely from challenges and to the most basic rights to freedom of movement and education for women in countries like Afghanistan to demanding full recognition of LGBTQI rights in the European Union.

Is there any hope of finding a mutually intelligible language for claim-making and voice in a world where most women (and men) continue to be locked into coerced identities while feminists in the North are engaged in sometimes acrimonious debates over identities, bodies, and sexualities? The answer to this question resides in understanding the influences that have led us to the ‘anti-gender ideology’ moment which has gained momentum with the spread of authoritarian populisms across the globe.

Kandiyoti argues that a combination of both external onslaughts in the form of different types of backlash and the contradictions and dysfunctions internal to platforms claiming to have a feminist agenda have led us to this perilous moment. The challenge before us is to find the imagination and wisdom to forge a new politics of solidarity that resonates across the globe. 

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Deniz Kandiyoti is an Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London. She pioneered new research into comparative perspectives on patriarchy and on the implications of global governance, Islam, and state policies for the politics of gender in Turkey, post-Soviet Central Asia, and Afghanistan. 2011–2015 she monitored the effects of the Arab uprisings (as guest editor for 50.50 Open Democracy) analyzing new forms of gender-based violence and grass-roots mobilization.

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