Petition Closed

This action will help the only regional feminist doctoral course to survive

Letter to
Minister of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia dr. sc. Željko Jovanović
Assistant Minister of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia prof. dr. sc. Saša Zelenika
Letter in support of the IUC course Feminisms in a transnational perspective

Zagreb, May 2, 2013

With this letter we are supporting our colleague Dr. Renata J. Kirin, co-director of the IUC course Feminisms in a transnational perspective, in her protest against financial cuts to this much respected postgraduate course. We are very sorry to hear that this year’s meeting may be the last because for three years in a row the Croatian Ministry has withheld its modest but decisive financial support for organizational costs (i.e., for the booklet, coffee-breaks, and the costs covering one resource person). Besides four IUC scholarships for Croatian participants, which are offered equally to all courses' organizers at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, this important meeting of feminist scholars and students was made possible only thanks to the contributions of international partners and grants received by the Zagreb Centre for Women's Studies.
The termination of the course after seven years of flourishing existence and the four volumes of published seminar papers, will be a huge loss for the Croatian and regional women’s and feminist studies, keeping in mind that Croatia is the only country in Central-Eastern Europe without women’s studies as academic curricula. From 2007, when Renata J. Kirin as institutional partner joined a new course of transnational feminists with great enthusiasm and devotion, more than one hundred and fifty doctoral students, professors, research fellows, activists and donors coming from more than twenty countries have attended this course. Its academic relevance and visibility is remarkable not only in the region, but also within the context of the AtGender and GEMMA networks of European women’s studies, as well as among feminists from all corners of the world. The fact that many participants repeatedly come to the course and pay for it themselves is the best proof of its outstanding quality. In addition to this, many local doctoral students as participants of the course have received recommendations and later been awarded grants to continue their studies in European universities. A few course co-directors have also launched a new feminist summer school within the Erasmus Intensive Programme framework at the University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu, Finland, 3-14 June 2013) with the University of Zagreb as one of the partners.

Women have long been excluded from academic and public life, which is why they are particularly sensitive to the questions related to production of knowledge and power, the strategies of discriminations and dislocations, as well as why they are particularly motivated to create new humanistic concepts and values. This is the reason why the organizers have chosen the topic of The feminist critique of knowledge production for the main issue of this year’s course (the IUC Dubrovnik, 27-31 May, 2013). In order to help the survival of this feminist course, in the context of ever-rising costs of travel and accommodation in Dubrovnik, we hope that the respectful board of the Croatian Ministry of Science, Technology and Sports will reconsider the refusal of the application by our colleague, Dr. Renata J. Kirin from the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research, and financially support the seventh course under the umbrella title Feminisms in a transnational perspective.