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Transnational Feminisms and Postsocialist Spaces: From Theory to Practice

Abstract: The gearing of global feminist scholarship towards opposite poles of 'North' and 'South' has created a lacuna around knowledge and theories of feminist practice in areas such as the former 'East' (postsocialist and post-Soviet countries) which do not fit into the dominant binary. This lecture considers ways in which transnational and decolonial feminist thought can be applied amid rapidly shifting social and political configurations in the former Soviet Union. It draws on the writings of Madina Tlostanova and Redi Koobak, which create a filter for my own empirical experience researching women's activism and cross-border dialogue in Azerbaijan and Armenia. Firstly, I will give a brief overview of how women's non-governmental activism in these countries became intertwined with the liberal democratisation paradigm in the 1990s. Secondly, I discuss the limitations of academic debates which focus exclusively on gender discourse and the local-global continuum in women's activism. Thirdly, I outline methodological tools from transnational feminism which can open new lines of inquiry around women's activism in the postsocialist space. Finally, I discuss the relevance and some practical implications of this approach as a response to the politicisation of gender, and the de-politicisation of civil society, in the South Caucasus.

Bio: SinĂ©ad Walsh is a former Government of Ireland Postgraduate Research Scholar and Foundation Scholar at Trinity College Dublin, where she completed her PhD in 2016 on Women's Activism, Peacebuilding and Political Transformation in Armenia and Azerbaijan: A Transnational Feminist Analysis. She is currently working on a series of related publications focusing on the affective dimensions of feminist mobilisation in Azerbaijan and Armenia, and methodologies for transnational feminist peace research in the context of a wider Europe. She blogs about the challenges of socially-engaged research practice at