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ATGENDER statement 30 March 2024

As part of its mission and vision as a professional association for feminist scholarship, ATGENDER (The European Association for Gender Research, Education and Documentation) is committed ‘to confront[ing] institutions of power, recogniz[ing] past and present inequalities, and solidariz[ing] with struggles against intersecting oppressions’. We have asked ourselves what these commitments mean in the face of the ongoing genocide in Gaza, and particularly how we enact such commitments in the context of organising our upcoming conference Gender Studies and the Precarious Labour of Making a Difference: (Un)paid Jobs, Internships, and Volunteering in the Worlds of Activism, Profit, and Non-profit (supported by the Graduate Gender Programme Utrecht University, The Department MCW/Media-en Cultuurwetenschappen, and the Programme of Language and Culture Studies/TCS at Utrecht University).

ATGENDER stands in firm solidarity with the longstanding BDS movement against Israeli universities complicit in the subjugation of the Palestinian people, and was a signatory to a recent open letter expressing solidarity with Palestinians, including Palestinian academics and educators. We deplore the relentless killing of Palestinians by Israel, Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s universities and its obliteration of Palestinian cultural heritage through its destruction of archives, education, and generations of knowledge. In solidarity with the Palestinian people, ATGENDER urges European governments, universities, and other institutions to resist the ongoing genocide in Gaza and to cut ties with Israeli universities that uphold genocidal and apartheid conditions. In line with the academic boycott guidelines of Israeli institutions provided by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), we also acknowledge that there are individual feminist scholars at institutions in Palestine-Israel who are invested in peace activism, anti-genocidal, anti-colonial, and anti-apartheid work. 

As a European-based feminist association, we know that the institutions and nation states where ATGENDER works are frequently complicit in historical and ongoing forms of devastation. We therefore recognise that whilst we stand in solidarity with Palestinians and all oppressed peoples, no feminist scholar speaks from a neutral, uncomplicated, or ‘innocent’ position; we are all entangled within, and positioned differently by, transnational structures of power and injustice. This is especially the case for those of us located within Western and Northern European institutions. As such, the ATGENDER Board, the conference organising committee, and the conference Advisory Board have discussed at length how we commit to material practices of solidarity and justice in co-creating the 2024 ATGENDER conference. 

Building on our discussions, we are working towards directing funds to overcome the bureaucratic obstacles that Palestinian scholars and scholars at risk may face in attending this conference. We are also working to collaborate with Palestinian scholars on a session to expand the re-presentation of Palestinian narratives, voices and knowledges at the conference and underscore the rich cultural heritage of Palestine and Palestinian contributions to scholarship, especially gender, antiracist, and post/de/anticolonial debates.

ATGENDER will work to strengthen its commitment to, and collaborations with, scholars at risk who are confronted with violence, persecution, and destruction. Thus, we strive to strengthen our collective accountability to one another as feminist scholars in these times.

Signed,

The ATGENDER Board; The 2024 ATGENDER Conference Organising Committee; The 2024 Conference Advisory Board

 

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