Visitors: An American Feminist in East Central Europe
Thursday, December 1, 2022
Hybrid (see description for details)
Open to the Public
An appreciation of Ann Snitow and her latest book, just published in Polish translation.
Presented by the Gender and Transformation in Central-Eastern Europe and Eurasia Workshop
This is a hybrid event, meeting both in person at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies (room 5203) and online via Zoom. RSVP to attend in person to email@example.com and or register to attend on Zoom.
Malgorzata Tarasiewicz, President of the Network of East-West Women, will report on the arrival of Ann's books donated to the library of the Women's European Solidarity Centre in Gdansk, Poland. She will also report on the context of developments in feminism in Central and Eastern Europe during the period of transition and now.
Sonia Jaffe Robbins, Co-Founder of the Network of East-West Women, discusses why they went to Eastern Europe in the 1990s while facing backlash against feminism at home.
Kathryn Detwiler, Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies, the Stevens Institute of Technology, will brings Ann's work up to the present and what is learned from her writings about rupture and dislocation, and uses of utopianism for feminist organizing.
“A feminist organizer in East Central Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall reveals the struggles of women fighting for their rights during the rise of the Right in Europe. Visitors tells the story of Ann Snitow’s adventures as a Western feminist helping to build a new, post-communist feminist movement in Eastern Central Europe. Snitow stumbles onto this fast-changing, chaotic scene by chance, but falls in love with the passionate feminists she meets in Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania. What kinds of feminism should they hope for?
Visitors is a book about forging enduring relationships and creating formerly unimaginable institutions—a feminist school, the Network of East-West Women, women’s centers, gender studies programs. It is about unity amid fractiousness and perseverance through uncertainty, Snitow’s flickering lodestar. Visitors moves gracefully between vivid anecdote, political analysis, and unsparing introspection. It is richly peopled with “brilliant” comrades and vexing detractors alike, all described with respect and humor. Every sentence is imbued with the experience and insight of this sui generis feminist activist, writer, and pedagogue of 50 years. Most of all, Visitors is the story of friendship, the heart and sinew of the leaderless feminist movement.
Reading like the best historical novel, it is intimate and worldly, resolutely unsentimental yet finally, even as the political skies darken, optimistic in the conviction that feminism can make life meaningful, fascinating, fun, pleasurable—and better for everyone, even as better is redefined again and again.”
About the Author
Ann Snitow was Professor Emerita of Literature and Gender Studies at Lang College, The New School. A longtime activist, Snitow cofounded The Network of East-West Women, No More Nice Girls, Feminist Anti-Censorship Taskforce, Take Back the Future, and New York Radical Feminists. She co-founded the women’s studies program at Rutgers University and gender studies programs at The New School, where she taught for three decades. Snitow’s best-known book is The Feminism of Uncertainty. Visitors is her sixth book; she passed away in 2019.
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