UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SOLD OUT Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture Comparative Perspectives

11 June 2018–12 June 2018, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

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In recent years Poland has witnessed a heated debate on gender as a ‘dangerous’ concept that threatens the integrity of family and social life.

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The media makes frequent use of concepts such as genderism or gender ideology, usually accompanied by anti-feminist rhetoric, while the government recently attempted to tighten the already restrictive abortion law, prompting countrywide “black protests”. Debates about gender inequality and the very concept of gender itself as well as about reproductive rights and homosexuality have also been affected by the rise of nationalism in Poland, elsewhere in Eastern Europe and in other parts of the world. The aim of the conference Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society and Culture: Comparative Perspectives is to exchange knowledge and ideas about how contemporary gender politics, debates on sexuality and equality mechanisms affect politics, culture and social life in Poland, and how they are shaped by wider discourse about gender and sexuality. The conference focuses on Poland but considers it in a comparative context. The main aim is to analyse the gender debate in the broad field of culture, art, literature, film, drama, social media and music.

Leading photos by Małgorzata Dawidek from Body Texts (2016)
Torso textHand InkFoot Text


Monday, 11 June, 2018


Registration (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)



Conference opening (Room 347, 3rd floor)

Welcome from the organisers Urszula Chowaniec, Ewa Mazierska, Richard Mole

Welcome form Diane P. Koenker, director of SSEES UCL


Room  347

Room  431


Room  433


Session I

Panel 1: Waves of LGBT+ emancipations in Poland (chair Richard Mole)

  1. Błażej Warkocki - The Backlash and Waves of LGBT Emancipation in Poland
  2. Beata Bielska - Gay men, lesbians, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual people or just deviants? Cultural and political outcomes of Polish LGBT+ movement
  3. Jon Binnie and Christian Klesse ‘LGBTQ arts and cultural activism, social movement politics and everyday practices of solidarity in Krakow, Poland’

Panel 2: Gender Discourse on Motherhood and Art (chair: Małgorzata Radkiewicz)

  1. Natalia Krzyżanowska - Dis/Placing Women in the Polish Public Sphere: Citizenship and Motherhood through the Lens of Critical Art after 1989
  2. Elżbieta Wiącek - “Let’s steal the myth!” The alternative narration on female body in the works of women artist after 2000
  3. Agata Stronciwilk, Back to the Kitchen? Food and Gender in Polish Contemporary Art
  4. Aleksandra Grzemska - Glorification and Reckoning. The “Politics of Relations” in Contemporary Polish Women’s Autobiographical Literature

Panel 3: Gender and Re-visiting of Identity Politics (chair: Anne White)

  1. Ewa Sidorenko Patriotism - Poland and Politics of Identity
  2. Eliza Kania and Iwetta Andruszkiewicz - Gender discourse and social policies: evolution of media discourses and social perception on 500+ programme 2015-2018
  3. Marta Kowalewska, Papusza and the voice of the Romani woman in Poland
  4. Katarzyna Lisowska - Between Literature and Politics: On Teaching Gender Studies Discourse in 21st Century Poland




Lunch (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)


Room  347

Room  431

Room  432

Room  433


Session II

Panel 4: The Performances of Sexuality (chair Ula Chowaniec)

  1. Grzegorz Niziołek, Gay Performances in Polish Culture (1968-1989)
  2. Nicholas Boston, Portraying Ali: A Queer Eye on the Black Guy
  3. Lukasz Szulc LGBTQs in the UK Encountering Coincidental Homophobia and Xenophobia on Facebook


Panel  5: Parental Discourse. In Search for Alternatives (chair: Ewa Mazierska)

  1. Anna Kasten, Single mothers as authors of their own way of life - an answer to the heteronormative thought style of the term practice of "single motherhood" in Germany and Poland
  2. Aleksandra M. Różalska,  Gender, Motherhood, & Reproductive Rights as Reflected in Polish Contemporary TV Series
  3. Barbara Godlewska, Contradiction of legal language - traditional and gendered voices in the provisions on parental rights and entitlements
  4. Agata Chełstowska,  „Love is more important than money” or how to become a greedy ex-wife. Love, care-work and money in changing ideas of motherhood and fatherhood.


Panel 6: History meets Gender (chair: Thomas Lorman)

  1. Dobrochna Kałwa - What history do feminists need (if any)? Uses of historiography and  in  gender studies in Poland
  2. Barbara Klich-Kluczewskan - All quiet in Central East? Working with gender on the history of postwar Polish society
  3. Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz - The praise of transdisciplinarity. Literary studies about women and gender in communist Poland
  4. Joanna Beata Michlic - What we do not talk about when we talk about Polish women rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust

Panel 7 Between Patriotic Games and Sex  work debates (chair: Katarzyna Garapich)

  1. katarzyna garapich (introduction): neither subject nor object - from zakopane to coniston. between art, identity and freedom.
  2. Hanna Jarzabek - "Patriotic Games". Artistic Project
  3. Agata Dziuban - Anna Ratecka The sex wok debate in contemporary Poland.



Coffee break (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)


Room  347

Room  431

Room  432

Room  433


Session III

Panel  8: Cruising the 1970s (chair: Robert Mills)

1. Karolina Morawska - The Quest for Identity: Challenges to Homosexual Identification in 1970s Poland

2. Jędrzej Burszta - Homosexual Past, Gay Future? Queer and Identity Discourses in Communist Poland

3. Agnieszka Kościańska - From “Can Homosexuality Be Cured?” to “People Who Love Differently Can Be Happy!”: Sexological Approaches towards Homosexuality in State Socialist Poland and their Current Consequences


Panel 9: Queer Lives/ Queer Families (chair: Richard Mole)

  1. Anna Frątczak - Old wine in new bottles? Polish feminist magazines on the idea of family and parenthood.
  2. Małgorzata Kot ‘We are family’: discourses and strategies regarding rights of queer families in Poland
  3. Karolia Kosińska - Outside both spaces – Call me Marianna (Mów mi Marianna, 2015) by Karolina Bielawska


Panel 10: Reproductive Rights and Catholic Church (chair: Małgorzata Radkiwicz)

  1. Marcin Kościelniak - Original sin. Democracy, Catholic Church and reproductive rights
  2. Anna Szwed - Strategies of legitimization in the Roman Catholic Church’s Discourse on Gender and on Reproductive Rights In Poland.
  3. Inga Koralewska - Shaping abortion discourse in Poland. Religious and non-religious arguments in Polish press discourse on abortion (2005-2015)
  4. Anna, Jagielska - The Impact of Gender Discourse on Polish Catholicism in the Light of Feminist Discussions

Panel 11: Female New Waves? Feminism & Cinematic & TV Representations of Women (chair: Ewa Mazierska)

  1. Anna Taszycka - Young Polish Feminists: Documentary Revolution?
  2. Elżbieta Durys - Familiarization, erasure, and disavowal: War Girls as an example of Polish version of postfeminism
  3. Liliana Bajger - Black Palate Of Krystyna Janda And Black Umbrellas

Exhibition and Reception Celebrating Calvert 22 Foundation's Family Values: Polish Photography Now season and exhibition curated by Kate Bush.

18.30 - 21.00  - Calvert 22 Foundation (22 Calvert Avenue, London, E2 7JP- Approx. 30 min. from UCL)

Poland Today: Women/ Society and Art

Introduction and chairing by Urszula Chowaniec

  1. Agnieszka Graff From ‘Polska’ to 'Polka': The Black Protest’s 'Fighting Polish Woman' as Subversive Appropriation of National Symbolism

  2. Aneta Stępień, Politics of gender and sexuality in the feminist memes of Marta Frej.

  3. Intoduction to the Exhibition by the curator Kate Bush


Tuesday, 12 June, 2018


Session V

Panel/Talk: Agata Pyzik From Female Masochism toSelfie-Feminism.

Lecture and Presentation on the Exhibition 100 years and so what? Centrala Gallery, Birmingham (Alicja Kaczmarek / Ula Chowaniec)


Coffee break (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)


Room  347

Room  431

Room  432

Room  433


Session VI


Panel 12: Queer&Polish Cinema&Television: Representation or (In)visibility (chair Richard Mole)

  1. Małgorzata Radkiewicz, (In)visible queer: non-normative sexualities in Polish cinema of 2000s
  2. Rafał Morusiewicz, Idiosyncratic Ambiguities of Queer Experience: Instances of Non-heteronormativity in Polish Cinema in the 2010s
  3. Hubert Zięba Infectious Imponderabilia. Representations of HIV/AIDS in Polish cinema and television

Panel 13: Nationalism & Populist Politics (chair: Gabriella Elgenius)

  1. Marta Kotwas, Symbolic Thickening of Visual Discourse: Feminists versus the Far Right in Contemporary Poland
  2. Aleksandra Sygnowska - Nationalism made in Poland: defending the dignity of Polish women against Muslim semen
  3. Dagmara Franczak, “Islamic Rape of Europe”? : Representation of white women used as tropes to frighten populations and close borders in the context of the current refugee crisis in Europe
  4. Olga Frańczak 'Roots of the current gender discourse in Poland. Process of the ratification of the Istanbul Convention'.

Panel 14: The Representation of the Struggles for Rights (chair: Anna Frątczak)

  1. Izabela Morska - This Nature Doesn’t Nurture
  2. Magda Garlińska - “Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead” by Olga Tokarczuk. The fight for animal rights as a symbol of the struggle for women's rights
  3. Jennifer Ramme - Claudia Snochowska-Gonzalez Ordinary women? A comparison of the Polish Women Strike and The 8 of March Coalition.

Panel 15: Anger Justice and Women in Contemporary Literature and Culture (chairing and introduction Ula Chowaniec)

  1. Urszula Chowaniec - The Use of Anger in Constructing Feminist Movements. Metaphors of Anger/Metaphors of the Other.
  2. Monika Świerkosz - Angry Women: Addressing Rage in Polish Culture
  3. Anna Kowalcze-Pawlik - Madwoman at Large: Female Revenge and Its Appraisal in Contemporary Poland
  4. Ewa Majewska - The weak counterpublics of feminist resistance


13.00 -14.30

Lunch (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)



Room 347

Room  431

Room  433


Session VII


Panel 16:


Reproductive Rights/Historical Overview (chair: Thomas Lorman)

  1. Agata Chałupnik, PhD - Abortion debate in Polish theatre and drama in the 1930’s
  2. Katarzyna Zielińska - (De)legitimizing abortion in the Polish Parliament (Sejm) – a diachronic perspective
  3. Carolin Heilig - The Mobilisation of „Europe“ by Polish Women’s Rights Activists. A case study of Reproductive Rights.


Panel 17: Nationalism & Populist Politics – continuation (chair: Gabriella Elgenius)

How Offended Can You Get by Art?

Screening of Exodus (2017), the film by Paulina Bondaronek (UCL). Introduction and discussion with the film director after screening.

About Exodus: The rise to power by the nationalist party polarised the nation. Opponents alarm of slow destruction of democracy, including diminishing freedom of speech. The film centres on the dispute surrounding Krakow’s longest running theatre company, KTO’s performance of the play, ‘Neo-Monachaomachia’ in Krakow’s Main Square. Performed three weeks before the election of the Law and Justice party, the play became highly politicised. It was seen as an affront to values of the nationalist political scene - Catholics’ religion and patriotic beliefs, resulting in unforeseeable consequences.

Panel 18:


Feminist Visibilities (chair: Ewa Mazierska)

  1. Zuzanna Szutengerg -The tools of de-elitizing and popularizing feminism: New media visibilities against the conservative backlash on women’s reproductive rights in Poland
  2. Agnieszka Filipiak - Black Protest In The Context Of Dynamics Of New Social Movements And Their Political Communication. Analysis On The Example Of Local Initiatives
  3. Magdalena Staroszczyk - Visual Feminism / Feminist Visuality


Networking afternoon tea (Masaryk Common Room, 4th floor)


8:00 PM - 2:30 AM - Dalston Superstore (17 Kingsland High St, London E8 2PB)

Polish, Queer, Migrant. Polish Queers and Migrants. Queer Migrant Polaks. Too queer for some, too Polak for others. Most often, impossible subjects. Fantastic creatures. Polaktastic.

While the Polish government is unqueering Poland, and the British one Brexiting Eastern European migrants, we come together to talk, drink and dance at Dalston Superstore for a Polaktastic evening of performance art, a photography exhibition and a DIY zine station.

Katarzyna Perlak presents a durational performance, ‘Your Dearest Wish’.

Wojciech Załuski and Nick Boston exhibit a photography project, ‘Amorous Migrants’.

Lukasz Szulc leads a zine workshop, ‘Stories of Migrating Queer Bodies’.

With DJs Polanski (BLANC) and Marie Malarie.

Contact adress: impactsofgender@gmail.com

Organizers and the Conference Committee:

Dr Urszula Chowaniec, University College London u.chowaniec@ucl.ac.uk

Prof. Ewa Mazierska, University of Central Lancashire, ehmazierska@uclan.ac.uk

Dr Richard Mole, University College London, r.mole@ucl.ac.uk

Generously Supported by grants from:

NOBLE logogrand challenges