Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik

An independent international centre for advanced studies


21 May 2018 - 25 May 2018
Course directors:
Lada Čale Feldman, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Francesca Maria Gabrielli, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Silvana Carotenuto, Oriental University of Napoli, Italy
Sandra Prlenda, Central European University, Hungary
Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research,Zagreb, Croatia
Elissa Helms, Central European University, Hungary
Ahmed Durre, Centre for the Study of Gender and Culture, Lahore, Pakistan
Course description:

The idea of the 12th postgraduate course Feminisms in a transnational perspective is to assess the feminist strategies of resistance to the global culture of fear, hate and isolationism. While in western culture the sentiment of fear was for centuries connected to respect and veneration for (mostly patriarchal) authorities, fear today serves as a framework through which we interpret a variety of experiences and states of vulnerability. The new intrinsic attribute of vulnerability is not only attached to politically persecuted, socially marginalized or economically insecure groups but to a society at large, society obsessively prone to anxieties, phobias and specters embraced by the “management of risk“. It would be a real challenge, for feminist researchers in particular, to examine how the legacy of courageous, militant, brave, "terrible" suffragettes, feminist activists and radical thinkers has become the object of derision, theocratic attacks or patronizing social policies towards women in general. Besides the interests for contemporary culture of fear with its free-floating and top-down character of fear, we particularly encourage approaches interested in (digital and direct) vernacular expressions of individuals and small groups that could represent forms of effective resistance and provide a counterweight to those who create and amplify fear, or make it a substratum of everyday life.

The topic of the 12th postgraduate course Feminisms in a Transnational Perspective: Fear, Resistance, Imagination was prompted by the escalation of the global culture of “horrorism”, hate, and militarism connected with the stagnation of the liberal project and a weakened “West.” A plethora of contemporary fears has emerged to mask the destructive consequences of late capitalism and to facilitate the state surveillance of citizens. This is not new, however: fear-mongering, intimidation, awe and submission as social and political strategies have been cultivated for centuries to maintain socio-political hierarchies, religious obedience and reproductive heteronormativity, as well as to sustain a sense of powerlessness, dependence and docility of oppressed social groups. These circumstances offer many openings for feminist readings of the conjunction of historical contexts, political conditions, cultural frames and gender regimes through which specific fears have been ignited, shaped, symbolized, distributed, and sustained. Contrary to the prolific “neuroimagery” of fear as a universal, ahistorical and non-cultural affect, feminist theorists have argued that emotions are cultural practices not psychological states. They have revealed clusters of affective politics, cultural climates, state and popular ideologies, embodied cognitions, national rhetorics, propaganda wars, etc., that induce a strong emotional response of individuals and groups, and diminish or suppress their critical assessment of the situation, “dangerous others”, and “threats”.

Feminist pedagogy as oriented towards personal and collective empowerment, transformative knowledge, social understanding, activism, the development of critical thinking, and re-imagining of a just society is still our most effective means of resistance against the politics and culture of fear nurtured at the heart of the liberal academia. We therefore invite feminist scholars, researchers, activists, artists and others to reflect on fear as a constantly changing phenomenon at the meeting point of lived, cultural, ideological, economic and communicative practices, as well as to investigate the agencies and strategies of those who oppose fear with the power of bonding, imagination, vision and courageous acts. We welcome proposals for papers, but we are also open to proposals for round tables, performance-lectures or other alternative formats and methodologies of sharing knowledge.

Proposals may consider some of the following issues:

- social norms, cultural patterns, life scripts and intimacies as constructed by genderrelated fears and anxieties

- gendered figures and (collective) fears

- fears of gendered difference and/or difference encountered by variously gendered

subject positions

- fears of intimate citizenship (related to rights, obligations, recognitions and respect

around most intimate spheres of life) vs. fears of lacking the fundamental requisites

of citizenship in terms of rights, equality and redistribution

- gendered fears of social exclusion, marginalization, invisibility vs. fears of being too

exposed and unprotected in public realms and digital networks

- fears of gender binarism, sexual normativity, queer identities

- conservative fears of “gender ideology”

- intimidation, surveillance, and governance put in place in the name of protection

- articulations of gender and fear with landscapes and technologies of surveillance

- correlation between discourses praising (national) security and privileges, and the

paranoid and anxious rhetoric in politics

- initiatives that explicitly mobilize gendered narratives of resistance to fear or of

overcoming gendered bases of fear

- gender and popular cultures of fear


IUC courses are conducted at postgraduate level. All interested postgraduate students may apply to participate, although the course targets young scholars and postgraduate students with a defined interest in women’s/gender studies, transnational studies, philosophy, sociology, literary and cultural studies, postcolonialism, or anthropology. The course will be limited to 25 participants (15 students) in order to provide sufficient space for discussion, seminar work and student presentations. Participants must seek funding from their own institutions for the costs of travel, lodging and meals. Limited financial support is available for participants from parts of Eastern Europe and some third countries (please see The IUC requires a payment of 50 EUR for the Course fee. The working language of the course is English.

Application Procedure:

Please submit a proposal consisting of a short narrative describing your interest in the topic and your CV. Place all current contact information at the top of your CV. Send submissions by e-mail to (Francesca Maria Gabrielli) and Use the subject: IUC Dubrovnik 2018. The proposal deadline is January, 25th, 2018.

Course lecturers:
Franko Dota, University of Rijeka, Croatia
Natka Badurina, University of Udine, Italy
Elena Bellina, University of Rochester, United States
Giuseppe Gerbino, Columbia University, United States
Dubravka Dulibić Paljar, Juraj Dobrila University, Pula, Croatia
Brigita Miloš, University of Rijeka, Croatia
Nadia Jones-Gailani, Central European University, Hungary
Elissa Helms, Central European University, Hungary
Silvana Carotenuto, Oriental University of Napoli, Italy
Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research,Zagreb, Croatia
Lada Čale Feldman, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Francesca Maria Gabrielli, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Sandra Prlenda, Central European University, Hungary
Attached documents