Regional Conference REDacting TransYugoslav Feminisms: Women’s Heritage Revisited, Zagreb, 13-16 October 2011

From 13–16 October 2011 the Centre for Women’s Studies in Zagreb, Croatia hosted the conference REDacting: TransYugoslav Feminisms: Women’s Heritage Revisited, which was held at the premises of the Croatian Academy Glyptotheque (Gliptoteka) and gathered more than 120 participants.

The program combined presentations and lively discussions and brought together prominent feminist theorists, activists and artists from the countries of former Yugoslavia as well as guest presenters from Latvia, Russia and the Czech Republic, who jointly opened up key questions of contemporary feminism and problematized the feminist, socialist and activist heritage of the past thirty years. Some key issues that were touched on were decolonizing the view on the region and its place in the academic and political maps of the world, revaluation of the socialist experience and feminist activism in the socialist/communist period contrasted with the current situation of the wakened leftists, politics of feminist academic and art practices, contemporary concerns regarding female labour under the neoliberal invasion, feminist publishing, archiving and historical research.
As a meeting place of many generations, the conference opened up a whole range of issues in terms of the transfer, (dis)continuity, transformation and oblivion that always accompany feminist and women’s culture in the broadest sense. The conference demonstrated a new theoretical drive of many feminists from the region, their on-going production and potentiality of the ‘marginal’ zones of feminist engagement, particularly in the fields of literature and feminist art practice that reflect the geopolitical location of women’s work and writing, enabling the detection of obstructions, leaks, the role of the affects and transgressions on generational, discursive and organizational axes around which feminist action gathers.

Key note lecturers were Rada Iveković, Irina Novikova, Madina Tlostanova and Svetlana Slapšak who situated the complexity of the feminism(s) nowadays in dialoguing the socialist/ communist past(s) through the multiple lenses and distinctive geobodies of knowledge within the post-East mappings.

In addition to the conference an interactive exhibition of the curatorial-theoretical-engaged collective Red Min(e)d, entitled the Bring In Take Out – Living Archive, was carried out as its simultaneous collaborative feminist event, which included more than fifteen feminist artists and a series of multimedia interventions in space – video works, photos, collages, installations, books and magazine presentations, reading rooms and a live audio and video archive that was produced in situ.

Within the conference there was also the presentation of the latest issues of the feminist journals ProFemina, Alert and new feminist books published in the post-Yugoslav countries, including the first publication of the newly launched Red Athena University Press (RAUP), namely the collection Love and Sexuality (eds. Alja Adam and Slađana Mitrović).