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About this Research Topic

Abstract Submission Deadline 15 December 2022
Manuscript Submission Deadline 15 April 2023

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in violation of international law. Since then, there has been war in Europe. Traditionally, feminist analyses are not the focus of public attention in times of war, although war and conflict are deeply gendered. This is true for the different roles ascribed to women and men and non-binary people in times of conflict (and peace): be it in terms of inclusion in the armed forces, be it in the context of flight and displacement, or with regard to gender-specific and sexualized violence.

For the analysis of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a gender perspective is also indispensable beyond this. The authoritarian turn in Russia has been accompanied by the establishment of a neo-traditional gender regime. Reference to its values is a crucial part of the justification for Russia's invasion of its neighbouring state. Such ideas are also pushed forward in other parts of Europe and worldwide, resulting in repressive gender policies.

On the other hand, these tendencies are contrasted by a growing social acceptance of women's and LGBTQI* rights. Parts of civil society, gender political movements and organizations throughout the region stand up for these rights: In Ukraine and in the Ukrainian diaspora, the (female-dominated) civil society is engaged in humanitarian aid and peace work. Russian feminists and LGBTQI* activists were among the first targets of repression by the authoritarian system and are now again at the centre of protest against external aggression. In Belarus, activists continue to stand up for the ideals of the uprising in 2020, which was largely carried by women. In Poland, the women's movement has long been fighting for reproductive rights and currently also for those of Ukrainian survivors of sexualized war violence. The broad range of activities of civil society organizations in Germany includes support for queer refugees from Ukraine.

This cursory look at gender, civil society and gender movements in the context of the Ukrainian war makes clear that long-term political change depends crucially on civil society actors working for democracy and peace - and, as their conditio sine qua non, gender justice.

The Research Topic contributes to filling the existing research gaps concerning feminist and gender approaches in studies on political participation / civil society studies as well as peace and conflict studies. It adds to the emerging range of research on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine through the necessary gender lens. The Research Topic comprises empirical studies about gender relations and civil society in the context of war, contributes to further theory development on gender, peace and war displaying a broad spectrum of gender theoretical approaches, and is of interest for a variety of disciplines beyond political science and sociology as well as transferring knowledge in areas such as social work.

Some examples of possible questions to address are:

• How have gender relations in Eastern Europe developed over the past decade and influenced the current situation?
• How do civil society and especially women's and gender political movements relate to the war?
• What conceptions of peace do they have?
• Which fault lines within civil society exist?

We welcome theoretical and theory-based empirical contributions that shed light on different aspects of the topic:

• What role do changing masculinities play in the current war on both sides? Which constraints for men exist and what forms of resistance emerge?
• What is the contribution of a queer feminist analysis of discourses on the Ukrainian war?
• How can intersectional perspectives contribute to a better understanding of forced migration?
• What are the results of postcolonial gender theories on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia?
• What role do changing, hegemonic masculinities play in the current war on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides (and beyond)? What constraints are men subject to in the current war, and what forms of resistance are emerging?
• What does a queer feminist analysis of the current discourses on the Ukrainian war show, e.g. in relation to nationalism and gender?
• How can intersectional perspectives contribute to a better understanding of forced migration by taking into account other categories such as poverty and sexual orientation?
• What are the results of postcolonial gender theories on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia?
• To what extent are postcolonial approaches also appropriated by nationalist-conservative discourses?

We also welcome contributions from a broad social science spectrum, for example:

• What impact does the Ukraine war have on gender-based and/or sexualized violence in the region and, in turn, on civil society organizations in this area?
• Which necessities and challenges emerge from the consequences of the war on Ukraine for gender-sensitive social work?
• What opportunities arise from the increasing commitment of European states to feminist foreign policy?
• What criticisms are voiced by women's and gender policy movements?

Submissions on issues beyond this, such as shifting boundaries between public and private, and from further theoretical perspectives, etc., are explicitly welcome.

The Abstract Deadline for those attending the conference is preferably the 7th of November, however, later submissions are also welcome. If you are not interested in attending the conference, please may you submit your abstract by the 15th of December 2022.

Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe, War, Gender, Civil Society, Women's Movements


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in violation of international law. Since then, there has been war in Europe. Traditionally, feminist analyses are not the focus of public attention in times of war, although war and conflict are deeply gendered. This is true for the different roles ascribed to women and men and non-binary people in times of conflict (and peace): be it in terms of inclusion in the armed forces, be it in the context of flight and displacement, or with regard to gender-specific and sexualized violence.

For the analysis of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a gender perspective is also indispensable beyond this. The authoritarian turn in Russia has been accompanied by the establishment of a neo-traditional gender regime. Reference to its values is a crucial part of the justification for Russia's invasion of its neighbouring state. Such ideas are also pushed forward in other parts of Europe and worldwide, resulting in repressive gender policies.

On the other hand, these tendencies are contrasted by a growing social acceptance of women's and LGBTQI* rights. Parts of civil society, gender political movements and organizations throughout the region stand up for these rights: In Ukraine and in the Ukrainian diaspora, the (female-dominated) civil society is engaged in humanitarian aid and peace work. Russian feminists and LGBTQI* activists were among the first targets of repression by the authoritarian system and are now again at the centre of protest against external aggression. In Belarus, activists continue to stand up for the ideals of the uprising in 2020, which was largely carried by women. In Poland, the women's movement has long been fighting for reproductive rights and currently also for those of Ukrainian survivors of sexualized war violence. The broad range of activities of civil society organizations in Germany includes support for queer refugees from Ukraine.

This cursory look at gender, civil society and gender movements in the context of the Ukrainian war makes clear that long-term political change depends crucially on civil society actors working for democracy and peace - and, as their conditio sine qua non, gender justice.

The Research Topic contributes to filling the existing research gaps concerning feminist and gender approaches in studies on political participation / civil society studies as well as peace and conflict studies. It adds to the emerging range of research on Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine through the necessary gender lens. The Research Topic comprises empirical studies about gender relations and civil society in the context of war, contributes to further theory development on gender, peace and war displaying a broad spectrum of gender theoretical approaches, and is of interest for a variety of disciplines beyond political science and sociology as well as transferring knowledge in areas such as social work.

Some examples of possible questions to address are:

• How have gender relations in Eastern Europe developed over the past decade and influenced the current situation?
• How do civil society and especially women's and gender political movements relate to the war?
• What conceptions of peace do they have?
• Which fault lines within civil society exist?

We welcome theoretical and theory-based empirical contributions that shed light on different aspects of the topic:

• What role do changing masculinities play in the current war on both sides? Which constraints for men exist and what forms of resistance emerge?
• What is the contribution of a queer feminist analysis of discourses on the Ukrainian war?
• How can intersectional perspectives contribute to a better understanding of forced migration?
• What are the results of postcolonial gender theories on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia?
• What role do changing, hegemonic masculinities play in the current war on both the Russian and Ukrainian sides (and beyond)? What constraints are men subject to in the current war, and what forms of resistance are emerging?
• What does a queer feminist analysis of the current discourses on the Ukrainian war show, e.g. in relation to nationalism and gender?
• How can intersectional perspectives contribute to a better understanding of forced migration by taking into account other categories such as poverty and sexual orientation?
• What are the results of postcolonial gender theories on the invasion of Ukraine by Russia?
• To what extent are postcolonial approaches also appropriated by nationalist-conservative discourses?

We also welcome contributions from a broad social science spectrum, for example:

• What impact does the Ukraine war have on gender-based and/or sexualized violence in the region and, in turn, on civil society organizations in this area?
• Which necessities and challenges emerge from the consequences of the war on Ukraine for gender-sensitive social work?
• What opportunities arise from the increasing commitment of European states to feminist foreign policy?
• What criticisms are voiced by women's and gender policy movements?

Submissions on issues beyond this, such as shifting boundaries between public and private, and from further theoretical perspectives, etc., are explicitly welcome.

The Abstract Deadline for those attending the conference is preferably the 7th of November, however, later submissions are also welcome. If you are not interested in attending the conference, please may you submit your abstract by the 15th of December 2022.

Keywords: Ukraine, Russia, Eastern Europe, War, Gender, Civil Society, Women's Movements


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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