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Democracy Wide Open: Critiquing the Present, Imagining a Feminist Future

February 18, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Globally, there is rising concern over the future of liberal democracies. Far-right politicians and political parties are gaining power, often threatening the institutions, norms and practices of democratic governments. Building a politics of resentment that targets racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ communities, women and feminists, religious minorities, immigrants and the poor, they question the legal and economic rights that were hard won by these groups.

Thus, the current political situation demands renewed attention to the successes, failings, and as yet unrealized promises of democracy. Feminist scholars from diverse perspectives have long engaged with the most thorny issues for democracy, including issues of power, representation, deliberation, legitimacy, inclusion, freedom and justice. Feminist theorists and activists have been some of the harshest critics of the failings of existing democracies. At the same time, feminist scholars defend the importance of every day democratic practices and the crucial possibilities that emerge from engaged activism. Join us as we discuss with scholars and activists how to understand the current democratic crisis, to imagine what a feminist democratic future would look like, and to create together that future.

CLICK HERE to register for this Zoom event.

DOWNLOAD the program schedule (PDF)

Session 1 | 1:00pm-2:45pm

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks | Dr. Gwynn Thomas, Chair, UB GGSS
  • “LGBT Inclusion in American Life:  Pop Culture, Political Change, and Critical Civil Rights.” | Dr. Susan Burgess, Ohio University
  • “India’s Farmers’ Protest: An Inclusive Vision of Indian Democracy.” | Dr. Natasha Behl, Arizona State University
  • Comments | Dr. Carine Mardorossian, UB GGSS & English
  • Questions + Discussion

Session 2 | 3:00pm-4:30pm

  • Introductions | Sam King-Shaw, PhD Student, UB GGSS
  • “Women’s Neo-Liberation: Understanding How Women’s Rights Do (and Do Not) Matter to American Foreign Policy” | Dr. Sara Angevine, Whittier College
  • “Interrogating ‘Consent’ in the Age of Biopolitics” | Dr. Renée Heberle, University of Toledo
  • Comments | Dr. Devonya Havis, UB CDI Distinguished Visiting Scholar 2021-22
  • Questions + Discussion

Session 3 | 5:00pm-6:00pm *local activism*

  • A Conversation with Louisa Fletcher-Pacheco, WNY Political Organizer at NYSUT and Chairwoman of the Western New York Chapter of the Working Families Party

Organized by the department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies and the UB Humanities Institute, with the support of the UB College of Arts and Sciences’ departments of History, Comparative Literature, English, and Political Science.


February 18, 2022
1:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Dept of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies