Alaa Basaneth_Inna ChevchenkoOn March 25 Ala’a Basatneh and Inna Shevchenko will give a lecture on ‘How to start a Revolution?’
The Syrian Ala’a Basatneh is a 21 year old student pursuing her Bachelor Degree in political sciences at the Loyola University of Chicago. Next to her academic activities, she is also a human rights and political activist, playing an important role in the Syrian Revolution. From behind her computer, she has been helping coordinating the revolution through diverse forms of social media. And with 1,200 Facebook friends and 2,000 followers on Twitter, she has built up an impressive network. She posts demonstrations as Facebook events, plots escape routes using Google Maps and uploads footage shot by demonstrators. She also ensures that all kinds of recording equipment get to her friends, once ordinary students who now want to overthrow the rule by terror of President Bashar al-Assad.
During the lecture, Ala’a will talk about her personal experiences and explain how she organizes this revolution using social media. She will comment on the increasing restriction of women’s rights by Syrian extremists in the north of Syria and discuss social media as a new form of activism.

Inna Shevchenko will also discuss new forms of activism in her lecture. Inna is a member of the Ukrainian feminist protest group FEMEN (founded in 2008), which often makes headline news across the world for demonstrating topless against what they perceive as manifestations of patriarchy, especially dictatorship, religion, and the sex industry. Shevchenko has a higher profile than the other members of the group. She was the leader of the three FEMEN activists reputedly kidnapped and threatened by the Belarus KGB in 2011. She achieved attention in Ukraine by cutting with a chainsaw and then bringing down a 13 feet high Christian cross erected in memory of the millions of victims of the Holodomor (the man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR in 1932 and 1933) in central Kyiv in 2012.
FEMEN describes itself as “fighting patriarchy in its three manifestations – sexual exploitation of women, dictatorship and religion” and has stated that its goal is “sextremism serving to protect women’s rights”. FEMEN activists have been regularly detained by police in response to their protests. The FEMEN office in their native Kiev was closed and the organization’s leadership left Ukraine (“Fearing for their lives and freedom”) in August 2013. In 2013, Shevchenko was granted political asylum in France, and now continues her activism by leading FEMEN France from a training base she has established in Paris.

  • Tuesday March 25, 2014: Ala’a Basatneh (Loyola University of Chicago) and Inna Shevchenko (FEMEN)
  • Lecture: How to start a Revolution?
  • Time: 16.00 – 17.30 hrs
  • Location: Utrecht
  • Chair: Prof. Dr. Rosemarie Buikema
  • In cooperation with Movies that Matter

In the spring of 2014 the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG) in cooperation with the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) at Utrecht University organises the twelfth round of the DOING GENDER Lecture Series. 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?

The Doing Gender Lecture Series takes place in Utrecht and is free of charge.
Registration is not compulsory, but highly appreciated: or 030 – 253 6001.