The Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies organises the DOING GENDER Lecture Series in cooperation with her partners. These lectures stress the importance of doing gender work combined with an active involvement in the practice of gender theory and research. The concept of DOING GENDER supports a hands-on approach to gender issues in the sense of social and political engagement with the new forms of gender inequalities that are taking shape in the world today. The lecture series wants to give space to the new generations of gender theorists and practitioners and to perspectives that innovate the field and do gender in new ways. Key is the notion of doing gender: what is the state of the art definition of gender? How do contemporary scholars and activists utilise this definition?

On Thursday, June 13, Dr. Annette Henninger (University of Marburg) will give the Doing Gender Lecture entitled Anti/Feminism: From blurring boundaries to strategies against the anti-gender ‘Zeitgeist’

Lecture: Anti/Feminism: From blurring boundaries to strategies against the anti-gender ‘Zeitgeist’

Since the turn of the century, attacks against ‘gender’ are globally on the rise. Many authors point out that mobilizations against issues such as gender studies, same-sex marriage, trans* rights or divorce regulations are part of a broader struggle for political hegemony driven by actors from the political and religious right who strive for an illiberal, regressive vision of (gender) politics. But in these mobilizations, we can also observe alliances with conservative or liberal segments of society and overlaps between the feminist and anti-feminist camp, as in discourses on femo- or homo-nationalism or concerning transphobia. My talk will explore the broader political conjunctures in which this blurring of boundaries takes place. I critically assess three explanations for this phenomenon by asking how social problems are framed in these concepts and which political strategies result from these frames: 1. The rise of populism, 2. the rise of neoliberal (post-)feminism, and 3. the de-thematization of social conflict and power structures for the sake of identity politics and ‘culture wars’. Reformulating a famous quote by Spivak, I propose a new ‘strategic universalism’ that envisions an inclusive version of democracy and social justice as a future-oriented counter-strategy against the current anti-gender ‘Zeitgeist’ and the illiberal tendencies that come with it.

The Doing Gender Lecture will be followed by a short presentation of the book Blurring Boundaries – ‘Anti-Gender’ Ideology Meets Feminist and LGBTIQ+ Discourses, co-edited by Dorothee Beck, Adriano José Habed, and Annette Henninger (Opladen/Farmington Hills: Verlag Barbara Budrich, 2023). During this presentation, Gadea Méndez Grueso (alumni MA Gender Studies, UU), will join us online. Grueso is currently pursuing a Ph.d. at Gothenburg University (SE) and has contributed a chapter to the publication.


Annette Henninger is a professor for gender and politics at the University of Marburg. Her areas of expertise include labor market, family and gender equality policies, intersectionality and democracy, and anti-feminist mobilizations. From 2017-2020, she led a research project titled “Crisis of Gender Relations? Anti-Feminism as a Threat to Social Integration” with five case studies on anti-feminism in Germany. Her most recent publications in English are the above-mentioned volume “Blurring Boundaries – ‘Anti-Gender’ Ideology Meets Feminist and LGBTIQ+ Discourses” and “Same-sex marriage in Germany: Conservative Normalization Instead of Successful Anti-Gender Mobilisation”, in: Ahrens, Petra, Phillip Ayoub and Sabine Lang (eds.), “Leading from Behind? Gender Equality in Germany During the Merkel Era”. Special Issue of the Journal German Politics 31(1), 2022: 79-100.

Details lecture:

Doing Gender Lecture by Dr. Annette Henninger

Thursday June 13, 2024

Lecture: Anti/Feminism: From blurring boundaries to strategies against the anti-gender ‘Zeitgeist’.
Time: 16.15 – 18.15 hrs.
Location: Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, 0.06 (this room is wheelchair accessible. Please contact to make further arrangements.)
Chair: Dr. Adriano Habed
Reading: Habed, Adriano José, Annette Henninger, and Dorothee Beck (2023), “Introduction: Blurring Boundaries. Uncanny Collusions, Overlaps, and Convergences in the Discursive Field of ‘Gender’”. In: Beck, Dorothee, Adriano José Habed, and Annette Henninger (eds.) (2023): Blurring Boundaries – ‘Anti-Gender’ Ideology Meets Feminist and LGBTIQ+ Discourses. Opladen/Farmington Hills: Verlag Barbara Budrich, 7-21.

In addition, Annette suggests these other texts for those who want to dive deeper into the topic (available through UU Library):

  • Méndez Grueso, Gadea (2023), “Understanding ‘Anti-Gender’ and TERF Movements Through the Lens of Populism”, in Beck, Dorothee, Adriano José Habed, and Annette Henninger (eds.), Blurring Boundaries – ‘Anti-Gender’ Ideology Meets Feminist and LGBTIQ+ Discourses, 177-195.
  • Paternotte, David (2023), “Victor Frankenstein and his creature: the many lives of ‘gender ideology’”. International Review of Sociology 33(1):80-104.
  • (in German) Henninger, Annette and Ursula Birsl (eds.) (2020), Antifeminismen. ‘Krisen’-Diskurse mit gesellschaftsspaltendem Potential? Bielefeld: transcript. Open Access E-Book,