de / en
Platform East: An Unholy Alliance?
“Christian Values” and Anti-Gender Politics in Central and Eastern Europe


An event of the international festival POSTWEST

With: Regina Elsner (ZOiS, Berlin), Elżbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn Universtity, Stockholm), Radoslav Stoyanov (Bulgarian Helsinki Commitee, Sofia), Kristina Stöckl (Universität Innsbruck) and others

Moderation: Patricia Hecht

Today, right-wing populist movements and authoritarian governments worldwide use “Christian values” to promote conservative social policies. They proclaim to represent what is supposedly “real" civil society, as opposed to the elites. In countries such as Russia, Poland or Bulgaria in particular, the anti-gender and pro-family agenda of right-wing parties strengthens those who are nationalist and critical of Europe. However, these movements are also part of international ultraconservative Christian alliances that view Eastern Europe as a new bastion for the defense of their values. For instance, these links are clearly evident at the World Congress of Families (WCF), where ultraconservative Christian groups and individuals gather to defend a traditionalist understanding of the family.

What are the driving factors behind this “unholy alliance” of religion and politics, in which gender is equated with demoralization? What role do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches play in this process? How do the different denominations of the Christian church position themselves and engage in this conflict of values?

Regina Elsner is a theologian and a researcher at ZOiS. Through the project Morality instead of peace, Regina Elsner is investigating the dynamics of Russian Orthodox social ethics since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Elżbieta Korolczuk is a sociologist, commentator and women’s and human rights activist. She works at Södertörn University in Stockholm and teaches at the American Studies Center at Warsaw University. Her research interests involve: gender, social movements and civil society. She published numerous texts, e.g. on the women’s movement and its relation with neoliberalism, on new forms of citizenship, politicization of reproduction and anti-gender mobilization in Poland and abroad.

Radoslav Stoyanov is a Bulgarian human rights activist with a focus on LGBTI issues. As a gay activist, he litigated many cases before the national equality body regarding public hate speech against sexual minorities. He is acting as a watchdog for right-wing conservative activities in Bulgaria. He is currently working as an expert in the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and is pursuing a master’s degree in law.

Patricia Hecht worked for radio and print in Germany, Mexico and Colombia, before she joined taz in 2012. She was editor on the Berlin desk and for the front page and is now gender editor on the politics desk, working for example on reproductive rights and antifeminism. She was part of the international research team Europe's Far Right, reporting on strategies and networks of European far right politics.

Kristina Stöckl is Professor at the University of Innsbruck’s Department of Sociology. She is currently principal investigator of the ERC funded research project POSEC - Postsecular Conflicts about religious-moral conflicts in contemporary societies, in particular conflicts regarding religious freedom, gender and sexuality, and bioethics.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Platform East: Urban Activism in Eastern Europe, 28.01.
Der Weg aus der Nische? Belarussische Literatur und ihre Zukunft, 18.02.

Platform East
Which forms of civic engagement exist in Eastern Europe? Which agents are participating in the restructuring of public space? How has collective memory changed in the post-Soviet era? The new series Platform East will raise these questions and many others as part of the transcultural festival POSTWEST. Academics, artists, and activists from Central and Eastern Europe as well as various experts on Eastern Europe will address the socially relevant issues that affect their everyday lives: the freedom of art and media, the politics of memory and the construction of identities, generational relationships and conflicts as well as protest against political systems. Bringing together these different professions will produce mental collages that expand epistemic horizons and serve as the starting point for diverse future scenarios and a collective utopia of POSTWEST.

The series Platform East is a collaboration between the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and the Volksbühne Berlin. Through panel discussions, films, lecture performances, and other formats, the series will function as a platform in the truest sense: at the intersection of art and science, it moves past the existing homogenous images of Eastern Europe and offers space for political, societal, and cultural diversity.

26.02.20, 19:00
> tickets

Past Activities

Platform East: (De)constructing Stereotypes. Media Images in the European Press

An event of the international festival POSTWEST

With: Alice Bota (ZEIT), Dóra Diseri (n-ost), Tamina Kutscher (dekoder), Dariya Orlova (Mohyla School of Journalism)
Moderation: Gesine Dornblüth

The media shapes our perception of political events, people, public debates, countries – and the stereotypes associated with them – within society. When we think about Eastern Europe our judgments are also inevitably influenced by imagery constructed by the media through pictures and texts. But how accurate are these images and between what tensions are they created?

This event focuses on the representation of Eastern Europe in Western European media outlets and vice versa: What ideas does Germany have about Eastern Europe and how do they view “us” there? To what extent do reports in the media influence our perception of East and West and the construction of the stereotypes associated with them? What role do political and economic factors play? What level of responsibility do foreign correspondents have with regard to the dissemination and maintenance of stereotypes and what new challenges are they facing?

In this discussion, journalists and media experts use these questions to approach the status quo of the media landscape in Europe. Against the background of a perceived East-West divide, they identify influential factors and talk about possible future scenarios and the conditions they would require: What would media coverage that's free of the continuous construction and reproduction of stereotypes look like?

Dóra Diseri is a Berlin-based Hungarian journalist and project lead of the European cross-border grant program “Reporters in the Field” at n-ost (Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe). Until October 2018, she was the Berlin correspondent of the Hungarian news channel HírTV. She studied journalism, cultural and Eastern-European studies in Budapest, Leipzig and Berlin. Before moving to Berlin in 2012, she worked as a multimedia journalist and reporter in the news department of the Hungarian Public Television (MTVA) in Budapest.

Gesine Dornblüth is a journalist and was the Moscow correspondent for Deutschlandradio from 2012 to 2017. With her doctorate in Slavic Studies, Dornblüth has reported primarily for radio reports and features from Russia and other former Soviet countries since the 90s.

Tamina Kutscher is a trained journalist, historian and Slavonic studies scholar. In 2016, she became dekoder’s editor-in-chief. dekoder is an online platform that connects the public spheres in Russia and Germany: It publishes translations of articles and reports in the other country’s language and also provides context and expertise from universities. For this combination of journalism and scholarship, dekoder was honoured with the 2016 Grimme Online Award.

Dariya Orlova is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director for Research at the Mohyla School of Journalism (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine). She holds a PhD degree in Mass Communications from Autonomous University of Barcelona. Her major academic interests include: media transformations in transition countries, political communication, journalism culture, media and national identity. She has also served as an independent media expert and researcher with NGOs and international development agencies and worked as a journalist prior to her academic career.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

This website uses cookies. You can read more about cookies in our disclaimer. > Morex