Authoritarian Othering Back and Feminist Subversion: Rethinking Transnational Feminism in Russia and Serbia. By: Bias, Leandra. 2024. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society. Vol. 31 Issue 1, p202-225.

This article examines the effect of rising authoritarianism on Russian and Serbian feminists. In both cases, regimes rely on what I term “Othering back.” Using “gender ideology” as a proxy for Western imperialism, they reappropriate postcolonial frames to reject democratization and human rights. In such a context, the critical argument that transnational feminism is an exercise of Western Othering to reify power relations no longer resonates with feminists on the ground. To them it dangerously resonates with their own regime’s discourse. The article first traces how the regimes conduct authoritarian Othering back. Based on interpretive discourse analysis, applied to sixty-nine interviews, it then shows how Russian and Serbian feminists make sense of this political environment and the new strategies they derive from their interpretation: the need for discursive subversion that articulates alternative imaginaries of transnational feminism that cannot be reappropriated by the regime.