Transregional Center for Democratic Studies

ONLINE | Book Launch: Gender, Pleasure, and Violence, with author Agnieszka Kościańska

Join us for a discussion with the author Agnieszka Koscianska about her book Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland, recently translated into English. The book recounts the non-linear history of sexuality in Poland under socialism and the changes that have taken place within it as a result of the post-socialist transformation. Gender, Pleasure, and Violence focuses on the expert understanding of sexual pleasure and sexual violence, and shows how in relation to these categories, the notion of gender has been defined and re-defined.

But it also shows how the intentional, both formal and informal, women’s activities influence the transformation of expert discourses – through dialoguing with experts under socialism and through feminist interventions in the 1990s and 2000s, Polish women gained sense of agency and autonomy that paved the way for the current mobilization.




Agnieszka Kościańska participated in Democracy & Diversity Summer Institute in Krakow in 2004 and spent a semester at the New School in 2006. She is now Leverhulme Visiting Professor at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies and Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Warsaw. She is the author and (co)editor of several volumes on gender and sexuality, including To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education (forthcoming with Berghahn Books in 2021, Polish version 2017, Wydawnictwo Czarne) and Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland (Indiana University Press 2021, Polish version 2014, University of Warsaw Press).

Maria Bucur is the John W. Hill Professor of East European History and Gender Studies at Indiana University. She is the author of Birth of Democratic Citizenship. Women and Power in Modern Romania (2018) and many other articles and several books focusing on East European history and gender. Her newest book, The Nation’s Gratitude: War and Citizenship in Interwar Romania is forthcoming from Routledge University Press.

Shireen Hassim is Canada 150 Research Chair in Gender and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, and Visiting Professor, WiSER, Wits University. She has written and edited several books including No Shortcuts to Power: Women and Policymaking in AfricaWomen’s Organisations and Democracy: Contesting Authority and Go Home or Die Here: Violence, Xenophobia and the Politics of Difference in South Africa. Her interests lie in feminist theory and politics, collective action and histories of mobilization of women in Africa, and social policies and gender. Her most recent book
was an archival recuperation of the work of the South African sociologist, Fatima Meer.


Elzbieta Matynia is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Studies, and director of the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies at the New School for Social Research. Her recent publications include “Is Liberal Democracy Already History?” (East European Politics & Societies and Cultures, August 2020), and “A Halloween Uprising: Poland’s General Strike Over Abortion” (Public Seminar, November 2020).

This event is free with registration. Registered attendees will receive the Zoom link in advance. 

Presented by the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies, the Democracy Seminar, and The Gender and Sexualities Studies Institute (GSSI) at The New School for Social Research.

Take The Next Step

Submit your application


To apply to any of our Bachelor's programs (Except the Bachelor's Program for Adult Transfer Students) complete and submit the Common App online.

Graduates and Adult Learners

To apply to any of our Master's, Doctural, Professional Studies Diploma, Graduates Certificate, or Associate's programs, or to apply to the Bachelor's Program for Adult and Transfer Students, complete and submit the New School Online Application.