Why Europe’s Far Right Is Targeting Gender Studies

“As far-right politicians become entrenched in Europe, both at the European Parliament and within national parliaments across the Continent, they are taking aim at experts and intellectuals they present as members of an out-of-touch, corrosive elite. Several academic disciplines are subject to scrutiny and attack, but gender studies has become a particularly vilified target.

For the far right, propping up male authority and promoting a nuclear family that sticks to the gender binary are central tenets of the broader nationalist project. By contrast, gender studies promotes a more fluid understanding of self and society, in particular by recognizing gender as something shaped and interpreted by a given social order, as opposed to an immutable biological fact. In questioning traditional concepts of identity, sexuality, and kinship, gender studies therefore destabilizes the far right’s simple narrative of a native “us” versus an alien “them”. […]

“Gender studies has become a battleground,” says Massimo Prearo, a political-studies researcher at the University of Verona. “In the last five years, it has developed from a peripheral concern to a central topic for those who purport to defend European Christian civilization.””

Eliza Apperly, The Atlantic, 15 June 2019

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