A Professor Brings Feminist Activists from Around the World to FIU to Share Successful Strategies

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While studying gender equality movements around the world, Dr. Susanne Zwingel was struck by how feminist activists have improved the lives of women. “But not only women,” she said. “Their visions of inclusion, justice, and sustainability have made a difference in many lives.”

Dr. Zwingel, associate professor of Politics and International Relations in the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs, wanted to bring attention to these successful efforts. “We are living in a world of crises—economic, ecological, warfare—that are threatening on many levels,” Dr. Zwingel said. “Feminist activists around the world have achieved so much that we can all benefit from. I'm really proud of that and I want to showcase it.”

That's why she conceived of the conference “Defending Humanity: Transnational Feminist Responses to Violence and Devaluation, which will take place from Thursday, March 9th through Friday, March 10th.

Dr. Zwingel reached out to feminist scholar-activists, inviting them to come to Miami to share their ideas with her students, her colleagues, the larger community—and each other. “Together we can try to develop strategies to respond to crises we see,” Dr. Zwingel said.

The program will kick off on Thursday afternoon with a keynote panel that speaks directly to the broadest theme of the conference: what the U. S. can learn from feminist scholar-activists around the world. Lucia Cavallero, a professor and researcher at the Universidad de Buenos Aires will talk about the transformative power of the feminist movement in Argentina. Sarai Aharoni, a senior lecturer in the Gender Studies Program at Ben-Gurion University, will talk about feminist resistance to the current political situation in Israel and backsliding of democracy there. And Natalia Maria Felix de Souza, assistant professor of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, will discuss the ways feminism has confronted neoconservatism and de-democratization in Brazil.

On Friday, three panels chaired by FIU professors will address topics that are vitally important and relevant today, including resistance to violence and authoritarianism, reproductive justice, and sustainable economies and ecologies.

Dr. Zwingel hopes the conference will amplify the voices of feminist activists, engage students, and inspire the work of social movement activists from around Florida. “We are often in conversation in Miami-Dade County around themes of justice, sexual orientation and race. Let's think of ourselves as network scholars, spreading knowledge and making it useful for influencing society positively.” Students, faculty, and community activists are invited to register for Defending Humanity: Transnational Feminist Responses to Violence and Devaluation .