The Joni Lovenduski PhD Prize in Gender and Politics

2017 - Hila Amit

The ECPR, in association with our Standing Group on Gender and Politics, is delighted to announce that the 2017 Gender & Politics PhD Prize has been awarded to Hila Amit, SOAS, University of London, for her highly original dissertation A Queer Way Out: Israeli Emigration and Unheroic Resistance to Zionism.

This biennial prize was first awarded in 2013 but has this year been renamed to honour the pioneering feminist political scientist Joni Lovenduski. About Hila

Hila Amit (b. 1985, Tel-Aviv) is a freelance researcher, Hebrew teacher and author. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from SOAS, University of London, and a Master’s in Gender Studies from the University of Tel-Aviv. Hila also has a BA in creative writing, and recently published her first short story collection, Moving On from Bliss (Tel-Aviv: Am Oved, 2016).

Prior to her academic career, Hila worked for Physicians for Human Rights in Israel/Palestine, where she also took part in several education programmes. In addition to her interest in the Israel-Palestine conflict and the effects of Zionist Ideology on Israel’s gender regime, Hila is committed to the critical approach offered by queer theories on questions of nation, gender and sexuality.

In her own words...

‘My dissertation explores the activities of (as well as the discourse used by) queer Israeli emigrants, before, during, and after departure. At the juncture of sexuality, politics and national belonging, my research investigates the connections between the Israeli collective and its outcasts, and between social exclusion and departure. I formulate a framework through which emigration is read as a political activity.

The thesis’ argument is that queer Israeli emigrants, in their decision to depart, undermine Zionist ideology, and change the obvious paths of resistance to Zionism. In stepping out of the territory of Israel, they avoid the Zionist demand to perform as strong, masculine Sabras. Likewise, left-wing resistance to the regime demands similar strength: to take part in violent demonstrations and risk physical injury or imprisonment.

Emigration is subversive in that it symbolises a refusal to answer Zionism in the currency of heroism and active resistance. I show how emigrants’ decision to leave stems from acknowledgement of their own vulnerability; recognition that they can no longer tolerate the hardship of life offered to them in Israel. The very act of announcing their vulnerability weakens the system, which demands strength of the citizens of Israel, whether obedience to the regime or not. In their passivity and unheroic behaviour, emigrants threaten to undermine the entire Zionist project.

By announcing their vulnerability, by choosing not to be heroes – not to be there – queer emigrants are, in fact, resisting the Zionist project in its essence.’

Hila will be presented with her Prize at this year's ECPG Conference, which takes place at the University of Lausanne from 8 – 10 June

2015 - Ana Miškovska Kajevska

Ana Miškovska Kajevska (1976, Skopje) is a freelance researcher, translator and activist. She holds a PhD degree in Social Sciences and a MSc degree (cum laude) in Sociology and Gender Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She has also finished the programmes in Women’s Studies and Peace Studies at the Zagreb-based Centre for Women’s Studies and Centre for Peace Studies, respectively, and has an extensive activist experience in inter alia human rights and environmental protection. In addition to her interest in the (post-)Yugoslav wars and sustainable postwar recovery and reconciliation, she is committed to the critical examination of the established (scholarly) classifications and ideas, especially those regarding gender and sexuality.

“Taking a stand in times of violent societal changes: Belgrade and Zagreb feminists’ positionings on the (post-)Yugoslav wars and each other (1991–2000)”

My dissertation explores the positionings (discourses and activities) of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminists vis-à-vis the (post-)Yugoslav wars and one another between 1991 and 2000. Primarily applying a Bourdieuian framework and based on a comprehensive literature review, extensive semi-structured qualitative interviews, and a thorough examination of organisational documents and printed media articles, this socio-historical analysis attends to a number of biases, lacunae and incorrect or insufficiently precise (recurring) information in the scholarship. Thereby, this thesis enriches the existing knowledge on the war-related feminist activism in Belgrade and Zagreb in the 1990s, and raises pressing epistemological questions about this knowledge.

In short, I challenge the common suggestion that the outbreak of the war violence in 1991 led to the same reorganisation of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminist fields: The activists in each city, who had up until then worked together without tensions, divided into antinationalists and nationalists and began clashing with each other because of the different war-related positionings. I show that there were significant differences between Belgrade and Zagreb in the contents of those positionings and in the intra-feminist dynamics, due to which these two cities should not be considered interchangeable locations. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the designations ‘antinationalist’ and ‘nationalist’ were not completely value-free, objective descriptions. They were instead an essential part of the local and international efforts to stop the (sexual) war violence, and of the struggle for legitimacy among the feminists in each city – endeavours in which many Western (feminist) academics, activists, and funders were involved, too.

2013 - Rosalind Cavaghan

Rosalind Cavaghan studied at the Universities of Edinburgh and Leipzig and started a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship at Radboud University in September 2013.Her thesis sought to tackle a conundrum many of us will be familiar with. Most of us think we’re pro gender equality but can’t understand what we, or our organisation, have to do with it. This is one of the biggest barriers to the implementation of Gender Mainstreaming (GM) – the UN’s best practice model for the achievement of gender equality and the EU’s flagship gender equality policy. Rosalind’s thesis developed a new methodology combining the sociology of knowledge and interpretative policy analysis, to unpick this problem. These methods view all policy as the attempt to coordinate activity around shared policy assumptions, and provide methodological tools to show how collective ways of thinking and acting can be maintained by state organisations.

Using these methods, Rosalind’s thesis showed how structured implementation and policy development processes in the EU Commission sustain gender blind thinking and activity on a grand scale, and how GM can disrupt these habits. As such, her thesis seeks to increase our understanding of both the mechanisms through which (supra national) state policies maintain and depoliticise gender inequality and the prospects for change.


"Wherever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship" - Harry S. Truman

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