The Art & Science of Happiness

Ioana Cirstocea, Centre national de la recherché scientifique (Strasbourg, France)
"Transnational feminism in the making: the East European example (1990s-2000s)"

Adopting the perspective of the sociology of the international circulation of ideas and studying a historically and politically marked process of transnationalization of feminism, this project focuses on the socio-genesis of “East-West” debates on women’s condition in post-communist countries. It will consider the main institutional sites and social actors involved in these debates in order to shed light on the strategic solidarity of new East European intellectual actors looking for legitimacy in the global gender field of the 1990s, as well as on de-differentiating logics of international democracy promotion, which (re)produce Eastern Europe as a symbolic reference.

Susana Galán Julve, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain)
"Arab Women in the Blogosphere: Spaces for the Expression of (Un)Happiness in the Net"

In this project I will continue my research on the use of the Internet by Arab women, and especially on their participation as bloggers. As my hypothesis I consider that Arab women have started using blogs as a way of expressing their unhappiness. However, these individual acts of virtual protest have converged to give birth to a community of women sharing common interests. Being part of this virtual group—being read and understood—has led to a certain level of happiness among the active bloggers.

Claudia Brazzale (AAUW International Fellow, Italy)
"Engendering and Degendering Cosmopolitanism: Globalization and the Family Firms of the Italian Nordest"

Focusing on the family firms behind the economic development of northeastern Italy, this project documents women’s often-ignored role in the making of the regional economy, the gender dynamics structuring these family businesses, and the postmodern turn of the region. More specifically, during this seminar I want to explore how globalization and its promise of modernity seduced the local entrepreneurial culture and assess the impact of this seduction on gender subjectivities. In particular, I wish to complicate my initial postulation that modernity discourses end up effacing women's collective gender consciousness as well as generating a widespread reluctance to correct inequalities. Beyond the economic security, how is the development of the region affecting women's sense of happiness? And how is the region's globalist and postmodern turn contributing to women's social connections and personal fulfillment?