Short Portrait

You can find more information and a full academic CV here: www.leandrabias.com

I joined the Institute of Political Science in October 2022. I am also affiliated with ZOiS - the Berlin-based Centre for East European and international studies. My research focuses on authoritarianism, anti-gender politics, foreign policy and feminist resistance. Regionally, I specialise in Russia and the Western Balkans. I am an expert in interpretive-qualitative methods.

At the heart of my research is the question: how does gender relate to processes of (de-)democratisation and political violence and how do feminist actors and policies respond to it?

My three year postdoctoral research project looks at the rise and use of the narrative of defending "traditional values" in a «culture war” against the West to justify aggression in Russian foreign policy. In addition, together with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, I co-direct the Swiss part of a Horizon Europe project for the 2021 call "feminism for a new age of democracy" which formulates policy recommendations to regain 'feminist losers' as mainstream voters. Together with other partners we research six case studies, including Switzerland, over the next three years.

Together with PRIMA fellow Elizabeth Mesok, I co-founded the working group Political Science and Gender Studies which aims to build a network of feminist researchers who study politics writ large and to increase their visibility. We accept members on a rolling basis. I am furthermore member of two newly created academic networks: 1) Feminisms and Wars community, initiated by the Swedish Defence University, the Finnish Institute for International Affairs and the University of Iceland and funded by NordForsk (Grant 135988) as well as 2) Hub on Global Experiences of Gender in an Age of Care Crises and Transformations, initiated by Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and supported by the University of Oxford.

I obtained my DPhil in Politics in autumn 2020 from the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Oxford. Comparing Russia and Serbia, I analyzed how backlash against "gender ideology" is instrumental for authoritarian regimes and how it impacts feminist interpretation of power relations and strategies for subversion, nationally and transnationally.

I got the Young Scholar Award 2022 by the Walter Benjamin Kolleg for my interdisciplinary approach and commitment to communicate my research to a broad audience. Furthermore, the Swiss Association for Gender Studies awarded my dissertation an honorable mention in 2021.

I have held numerous visiting fellowships, i.a. at Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade (2017), the Department of Comparative Politics at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration in St. Petersburg (2017) and the Albert Hirschman Centre for Democracy at the Geneva Graduate Institute (2018).

Between 2020 and 2022, I worked as senior researcher and gender advisor at swisspeace, an associated institute of the University of Basel, where I specialised in policy-relevant research related to feminist foreign policy and the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda.

For an updated and full list please refer to Bern Open Repository System

Peer-reviewed

  • Bias, Leandra, “NGOisation and generational divide in Serbia's feminist movement”, Women's Studies International Forum, Volume 77, October, 2019. (link)

Work in progress

  • Bias, Leandra, Antagonizing authoritarians: Feminist subversion and transnational feminism as seen from Russia and Serbia (book manuscript and proposal)

  • Bias, Leandra, "Avoiding risky resonance with authoritarian Othering back: Shifting the power debate in transnational feminism", Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society (under peer-review).

DPhil dissertation

  • Bias, Leandra, The (Im)Possibility of Feminist Critique in Authoritarianism – Revisiting Western Knowledge-Transfer in Russia and Serbia, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, published February 2021. (link)

Policy reports

  • Leandra Bias, Yasmine Janah, "Scoping Study: Masculinities, Violence, and Peace", swisspeace, subsidised by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, November 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Ekaterina Filep, Andrea Grossenbacher, "Synthesis Note - Gender and Rising Authoritarianism", swisspeace, mandated by Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, May 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Ekaterina Filep*, Andrea Grossenbacher, "Topic Paper - Gender and Rising Authoritarianism: Implications for Women’s Political Empowerment and Participation", swisspeace, mandated by Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency, March 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias*, Andrea Filippi, Izabel Barros, "Centering Care in Women, Peace and Security: Civil society’s voice in Switzerland’s implementation of the Fourth National Action Plan 1325", policy brief out of NAP 1325 project of KOFF - Swiss Plattform for peacebuilding, cfd - the feminist peace organization and PeaceWomen across the Globe, subsidised by Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, February 2022. (link)

  • Leandra Bias*, Izabel Barros, Andrea Filippi, Natalina Haller, Joana Salvadé, "No Care, No Peace! Contributions from civil society on Switzerland’s implementation of the UN Women, Peace and Security Agenda", advocacy report out of NAP 1325 project of KOFF - Swiss Plattform for peacebuilding, cfd - the feminist peace organization and PeaceWomen across the Globe, subsidised by Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, September 2021. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Sibel Gürler, "Scoping Study 'A strategy for women participation in peace processes in Nineveh'", mandated by NGO ElBarlament, July 2020. (link)

  • Leandra Bias, Regula Bühlmann, Regula Kolar, "Agenda 2030 und Gender [Agenda 2030 and gender]", Plattform Agenda 2030, June 2020. (link)

Invited talks

  • "Eine feministische Analyse als Antwort auf autoritäre Aggression" [A feminist analysis as response to authoritarian aggression], Winterrede, Karl*a der*die Grosse, 20. Januar 2023. (link)
  • "Feministische Aussenpolitik: Grundsätze – Stärken – Schwächen" [Feminist foreign policy: principles - strengths - weaknesses], Referat, Jahresversammlung der Frauen für den Frieden, 16. November 2022.

Conference proceedings

  • "Risky resonance: Transnational feminism in times of authoritarian 'Othering back'", Swiss Political Science Association Annual Congress, 3. February 2023.
  • “Avoiding Authoritarian Hijacking: Transnational Feminism in Times of Backlash”, Weaving the Transnational Anti-Gender Network Workshop, The Centre on Social Movement Studies Cosmos, Scuola Normale Superiore, Florence, 30-31 May 2022.
     
  • “Shifting Power Relations: Russian feminism in times of Authoritarianism”, International Studies Association Annual Convention, 29. March 2022.
     
  • “Russian feminists’ re-imagining of epistemic community as a means to subvert anti-Western official discourse”, British International Studies Association (BISA) General Conference, 12-14 June 2019.
     
  • “No such thing as ‘false consciousness’: Serbian feminists’ rejection of post-colonial subjectivity“, BISA General Conference, Bath, 15. June 2018.
     
  • “Is it all about anger and self-exclusion? The Serbian feminist movement through the eyes of the young feminist (in)activists”, General Conference of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies, 13-15 April 2018.
     
  • “Russian Feminists’ Risky Critique of Western Knowledge-Transfer“, Swiss Political Science Association Annual Conference, Geneva, 6. February 2018.
     
  • “A Genuine Backlash or Politics as Usual? Serbian Feminists’ Perceptions of Contemporary Political Change“, European Conference on Politics and Gender, Lausanne, 8. June 2017.
     
  • “Russian Feminists’ Risky Contestation of Sistriarchy and Zapadnitsi“, Workshop: Post-Communist Identities, Concepts and Perspectivism, BISA working group on Interpretivism, RANEPA, St. Petersburg, 18. October 2017.
     
  • “What does the return to local knowledge stand for? Serbian feminists between Decolonisation and Generational Struggle“, Workshop: Dialoguing ‘between the posts’: Post-socialist and post-/decolonial perspectives in South-Eastern Europe, BISA working group on South-Eastern Europe, Singidunum University, Belgrade, 23. September 2017.
     
  • “Illiberalism on the rise or politics as usual? Serbian feminists' lived experience of political change”, BISA working group on South-Eastern Europe, UCL, London, 18. May 2017.

Science communication (selection)

Blog posts

  • “The Fight Against Domestic Violence in Belarus in Times of Protest”, Spotlight, ZOiS Centre for international and East European Studies, 2. June 2021. (link)
     
  • “Rückwärtsgewandt nach vorne! Der Angriff auf die Istanbul-Konvention” [Going forward facing backwards! The attack on the Istanbul Convention], décodage, SAGW Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences, 20. May 2021. (link)

Panel discussions

  • "Diplomatie féministe: slogan ou réalité?" [Feminist Diplomacy: Slogan or Reality?], Maison Heinrich Heine, Paris, 6. March 2023. (link)
  • "War, oppression and strongmen: rethinking the role of antifeminism in autocratic regimes", Munich Security Conference side event, organised by Centre for Feminist Forein Policy, International Civil Action Network and German Council on Foreign Relations, 19. February 2023. (link)
  • "Krieg gegen die Ukraine: feministische und zivilgesellschaftliche Perspektiven" [War against Ukraine: feminist and civil society perspectives], on the occasion of the Ceremony for Young Scholar Award 2022, Walter Benjamin Kolleg, 17. February 2023. (link)
  • "Feministische Aussenpolitik auf für die Schweiz? Ein Sondierungsgespräch" [Feminist Foreign Policy also for Switzerland? An exploratory discussion], alliance f cercle des donatrices, 8. December 2022.
  • "Militarismus und Männlichkeit heute. Oder: Was war nochmal Pazifismus? [Militarism and masculinity today. Or: what was pacifism about again?], feministischer salon Basel, 25. October 2022. (link)
  • "Krieg, das grosse Verbrechen" [war the big atrocity], SRF Club, 22 March 2022 (link)
  • "Ukraine – Ein neues Kapitel im Krieg [Ukraine – a new chapter in the war]", SRF Club, 26. April 2022 (link)

Articles

  • "The International of Antifeminists", LSE Engenderings, 24. February 2023. (link)
  • “Die Internationale der Antifeministen [The International of anti-feminists]”, Republik, 6. June 2022 (link)
     
  • “Hello. My name is Vladimir (he/him)”, The Security Times, February 2022 (link)
     
  • “Russkaja”, Republik, 21 May 2021 (link)
     
  • “Angriff auf die Gender-Forschung: Kreml geht gegen Feministinnen vor [Attack on gender studies: the Kremlin targets feminists]”, Frankfurter Rundschau, 1 March 2021 (link)
     
  • “Why the current anti-terror debate is flawed”, swissinfo, 24 November 2020 (link)
     
  • “Tödliche Klischees [Deadly clichés]”, Republik, 13 August 2020 (link)

Interviews

  • "Expert*innenstimme: Internationaler Frauentag" [Expert view: internatinal women's day], ZOiS - Centre for East European and international studies, 8. March 2023 (link)

  • "Putin will die Erosion der Demokratien herbeiführen [Putin wants to erode democracies]", SRF News, 4. February 2023 (link)

  • "Leandra Bias im Porträt: Sie will die Politik verändern [Leandra Bias in profile: she wants to change politics]", Züritipp, 19. January 2022 (link)
  • "La Svizzera e la politica estera femminista", Rete Uno Sei di Sera, 11. January 2023 (link)
  • "Ein Gespräch mit der feministischen Polit-Wissenschaftlerin Leandra Bias über ein bewegtes Jahr.", SRF Bern Regionaljournal, 30. December 2022 (link)
  • "Ist Krieg reine Männersache? [Is war a man's business?]" swissinfo, 28. November 2022 (link)
  • "Putins Kampf gegen Demokratie und gegen die Frau [Putin’s war against democracy and against women]", SRF Tagesgespräch, 17. August 2022 (link)
  • "Krieg in der Ukraine: Einordnung mit Leandra Bias [War in Ukraine, Leandra Bias analyses], SRF Impact, 9. March 2022 (link)
     
  • "Putin erstickt Widerrede mit Gewalt: ‘Das ist nicht russisch, das ist patriarchalisch’[Putin represses any opposition with violence: ‘that’s not typically Russian, but patriarchal]", Tagblatt, 9. März 2022 (link)
     
  • "Haben es Frauen im Ukraine-Krieg ‘besser’? [Have it women ‘better’ in the war in Ukraine?], SRF 4 NewsPlus, 8. March 2022 (link)
     
  • "Welche Rolle spielen Frauen im Krieg in der Ukraine? [What role do women play in the war in Ukraine?]”, WDR 5 Morgenecho, 8. March 2022 (link)
     
  • "Warum Frauen wichtig sind für den Frieden [Why women are important for peace]", Tages-Anzeiger, 8. March 2022 (link)
     
  • "Welche Rolle kommt ukrainischen Soldatinnen zu? [What role do Ukrainian female soldiers play?], SRF 4x4 Podcast, 7. March 2022 (link)
     
  • “Putin stellt die Ukraine als eine Art Frau dar [Putin frames Ukraine as a sort of woman]", der Bund, 7. March 2022 (link)
     
  • "In Putins patriarchalem Weltbild müssen Untergeordnete folgen: von der Frau bis zur Ukraine [In Putin’s patriarchal worldview all subordinates must follow: from women to Ukraine", elleXX, 28. February 2022 (link)
     
  • “Morgengast von 07:17 Uhr”, SRF1, 28. February 2022 (link)
     
  • "E’ guerra (1./2)”. RSI Rete Uno (from minute 44:20), 24. February 2022 (link)
     
  • “Feministische Aussenpolitik: ‘Wir stehen am Anfang’ [Feminist Foreign Policy: ‘We are at the beginning’]”, die Wochenzeitung, 13 January 2022 (link)
     
  • “Wahlen in Russland [Elections in Russia]”, SRF 4 Tagesgespräch, 16. September 2021 (link)
     
  • “Belarus: ’Women protesters experience less violence than men”, swissinfo, 21 October 2020 (link)

Quoted in media

  • "Ukraine-Krise: Die Schweiz wartet mit Sanktionen ab [Ukraine crisis: Switzerland waits with sanctions]”, swissinfo, 23 February 2022 (link)
     
  • “Will Switzerland be able to bring its ideals to the UN Security Council?”, swissinfo, 21. February 2022 (link)
     
  • “The Belarusian protests: feminized, but feminist?”, Conversationalist, 6 November 2020 (link)
     
  • “What is feminist foreign policy?”, swissinfo, 17 September 2020 (link)

In spring term 2023 I am teaching the MA seminar "The triangle of (de)democratisation, political violence and resistance: Russia, Belarus and Ukraine"