Saturday, June 25, 2016

Dr. Ana Miškovska Kajevska
(1976; Skopje, Macedonia)

Researcher and activist,
affiliated with the Department of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam
(2017, New York & London: Routledge) - nominated for the
Joseph Rothschild Prize in Nationalism and Ethnic Studies 2018

I received a PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam in March 2014 for the dissertation titled “Taking a stand in times of violent societal changes: Belgrade and Zagreb feminists’ positionings on the (post-)Yugoslav wars and each other (1991–2000)”.
Feminist Activism at War: Belgrade and Zagreb Feminists in the 1990s is an abridged version of my dissertation. 

I graduated cum laude in Sociology (minor: Gender, Sexuality and Culture) from the University of Amsterdam. In my thesis “Communists, Feminists and Nationalists: A Journey into the Former Yugoslavia (1941-1991)”, I explored the development of the women’s and ethnic issue in Yugoslavia. I had previously finished the programmes in Women’s Studies and Peace Studies in Zagreb. My extensive activist experience mainly addresses human rights and liberties, and environmental issues. I speak fluent Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian, Dutch, English, and Macedonian (native), average French, and I read Bulgarian, German and Slovenian.

Publications
  • Miškovska Kajevska, A. ‘A Foe of Democracy and Gender and Sexual Equality in Macedonia: The Disturbing Role of the Party VMRO-DPMNE’. In: Politics and Governance (forthcoming).
  • Miškovska Kajevska, A. (2016). ‘Biografske karakteristike i ratni stavovi: beogradske i zagrebačke feministkinje 90-ih godina XX veka’ [Biographical Characteristics and War-Related Positionings: the Belgrade and Zagreb Feminists in the 1990s]. In: Sekulić, N. & Radoman, M. (eds.) Feministički forum Filozofskog fakulteta: izabrani radovi iz studija roda. Beograd: Sociološko udruženje Srbije i Crne Gore & Institut za sociološka istraživanja Filozofskog fakulteta u Beogradu.
  • Miškovska Kajevska, A. (2015). ‘Stvaranje i prelaženje linija podjele: antiratni stavovi beogradskih i zagrebačkih feminističkih aktivistkinja devedesetih’ [Creation and Crossing of Dividing Lines: the Antiwar Positionings of the Belgrade and Zagreb Feminist Activists in the 1990s]. In: Bilić, B. & Janković, V. (eds.) Opiranje zlu: (Post)jugoslavenski antiratni angažman. Zagreb: Dokumenta, Kuća ljudskih prava & Jesenski i Turk.
Varia
  • I was interviewed about my book by the New Books Network. You can listen to the interview here.
  • My analysis of the undemocratic process which led to the adoption of a restrictive abortion law in Macedonia in June 2013 is available in English and Macedonian. To find out why I see the termination of pregnancy as a brave assumption of responsibility, please visit the platform Global Voices (besides in English, the article is available in Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Malagasy, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish). In September 2016, I participated in Skopje in a debate on the right to abortion in Macedonia (watch the recording here).
  • I discussed my doctoral research in the interviews to the Croatian portal STav and the Serbian daily Danas, as well as in the presentation at the Belgrade-based Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory. My observations about the worrying lack of (publicly accessible) archives of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminist groups can be found on the Croatian portal VoxFeminae.net. An excerpt of my essay in Bilić & Janković (2015) was published in the Croatian weekly Nacional.
  • In March 2015, I presented my initial findings on the LGBT activism in Macedonia at a workshop in Budapest (watch: Part 1 and Part 2). In May 2015, I was a guest of the Skopje-based Radio MOF, where I spoke on the connection between the Macedonian LGBT activism and the antigovernmental protests in the country. The show, called STR8OUT, can be listened to here.

Short summary of my PhD research
“Taking a stand in times of violent societal changes: Belgrade and Zagreb feminists’ positionings on the (post-)Yugoslav wars and each other (1991–2000)”

My dissertation explores the positionings (discourses and activities) of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminists vis-à-vis the (post-)Yugoslav wars and one another between 1991 and 2000. Primarily applying a Bourdieuian framework and based on a comprehensive literature review, extensive semi-structured qualitative interviews, and a thorough examination of organisational documents and printed media articles, this socio-historical analysis attends to a number of biases, lacunae and incorrect or insufficiently precise (recurring) information in the scholarship. Thereby, this thesis enriches the existing knowledge on the war-related feminist activism in Belgrade and Zagreb in the 1990s, and raises pressing epistemological questions about this knowledge.

In short, I challenge the common suggestion that the outbreak of the war violence in 1991 led to the same reorganisation of the Belgrade and Zagreb feminist fields: The activists in each city, who had up until then worked together without tensions, divided into antinationalists and nationalists and began clashing with each other because of the different war-related positionings. I show that there were significant differences between Belgrade and Zagreb in the contents of those positionings and in the intra-feminist dynamics, due to which these two cities should not be considered interchangeable locations. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the designations ‘antinationalist’ and ‘nationalist’ were not completely value-free, objective descriptions. They were instead an essential part of the local and international efforts to stop the (sexual) war violence, and of the struggle for legitimacy among the feminists in each city – endeavours in which many Western (feminist) academics, activists, and funders were involved, too.

The research was primarily funded by the Mosaic programme of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). Additional financial support was provided by the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR).