Feminist Anthropologists Worldwide

By Jasmijn Rana

From 8 to 10 June 2022, the first ‘Congreso Internacional de Antropologia Feminista’ took place at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in Donostia /San Sebastian. The organizer AFIT  (Antropologie Feminista Ikerketa Taldea) invited LOVA to take part in a roundtable on genealogies of feminist anthropology worldwide. 

Together with scholars from other feminist anthropologist networks around the worlds, we asked how are the genealogies of the anthropology of gender and feminist anthropology interlinked. How do we integrate intersectionality within feminist anthropology? The genealogies around the world demonstrated differences and overlaps but also pointed towards similar contemporary discussions such as intersectionality, interdisciplinarity, and decolonization.


The main language being Castellano (‘Spanish’), with some translations with Euskara (Basque language) and English during the roundtables, accounted for a strong presence of Spanish-language scholarship. Especially scholars from Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America presented their work – scholarship that is often not read and cited in feminist anthropology of non-Spanish scholarship.  Because of the many scholars from Latin-American countries, the knowledge exchange in panels had a very particular international character that is absent in many English-speaking conferences. On the other hand, Spanish as the lingua franca also sparked discussions on how smaller local and indigenous languages are excluded in science.

One other recurring topic during the three-day conference is part of a heated international divide between (intersectional) feminists and trans-exclusionary or ‘gender critical’ feminists. A small group of women voiced their concern about the expanding notion of womanhood. In their understanding, feminist anthropology is currently characterized by what they call a form of propaganda that explains gender in a non-essentialist, inclusive and intersectional way. This might hinder the feminist fight against patriarchy. The majority of feminist anthropologists, however, also at this conference, agree that the notion of womanhood should be inclusive and intersectional. This does not threaten the notion of ‘woman’, but instead reinforces it by building bonds between groups that suffer from patriarchy in different ways.  

Luckily, the theoretically dense roundtables, the informative panels, and the serious discussions during the coffee breaks were alternated with social events. The organization arranged good food, a pub crawl, and a comedian that summarized the conference at a final party! During the closing ceremony, it was clear that not only knowledge was shared, and bonds were made, but that feminist anthropology was celebrated.

Keep an eye open for the announcement of the second edition of this conference, which will take place in Granada. LOVA is delighted to strengthen the bonds between international networks of feminist anthropology worldwide. A next step is to start concocting the next LOVA International Conference as well – get in touch with a LOVA Board member if you would like to be involved!

Jasmijn Rana is chairperson of LOVA Network and assistant professor in Cultural Anthropology at Leiden University, The Netherlands. She is currently a Marie Curie Global Fellow at UC Berkeley, USA.