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Austria

Professor Dr. Zoe Lefkofridi

Principal investigator

Professor Dr. Zoe Lefkofridi holds the first Chair of Politics and Gender, Diversity and Equality ever established in Salzburg. Internationally, this interdisciplinary chair (Political Science & Gender Studies) is unique in its explicit intersectional focus and its methodological pluralism. Professor Lefkofridi’s research and teaching focus on unequal representation and participation in Europe and the European Union. Her work appears in leading international journals such European Political Science Review, Politics & Gender and West European Politics, among others. Lefkofridi coordinates gender research and teaching at PLUS (all faculties). She is chief (founding) editor of Political Participation, specialty section of the new golden open access online journal Frontiers in Political Science, and co-editor of Politics and Democracy in the Smaller European Democracies, NOMOS Publications. Also, she is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of European Public Policy and of the Advisory Board of European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG). In addition, she is an elected member of the Steering Group of the Austrian Association for Gender Research (ÖGGF) and the Interdisciplinary Board of Experts in Gender Studies at PLUS. Together with colleagues from over twenty disciplines, Professor Lefkofridi is currently establishing the first Salzburg center for intersectional transdisciplinary gender research. Professor Dr. Lefkofridi has been a recipient of a number of prestigious grants and fellowships. Professor Dr. Lefkofridi has a multidisciplinary background (European & International Studies, Theatre Studies).

Dr. Nadine Zwiener-Collins

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Zwiener-Collins' research examines how the political behaviour and attitudes of citizens and politicians in Europe is affected by gender inequalities in other areas of life, such as the labour market and the family. Zwiener-Collins has published on trust as well as on the decolonization of quantitative research methods pedagogy and has taught extensively on quantitative research methods and data analysis. Zwiener-Collins is chair of the section on Feminist Theory and Gender Studies (FThG) of the Austrian Sociological Association and strengthens PUSH*BACK*LASH with methodological expertise in gender research. Before joining PLUS, she was a Lecturer (Teaching) at the Social Research Institute at University College London (UCL).

Dr. Vera Beloshitzkaya

Postdoctoral Researcher and Project Manager

Dr. Vera Beloshitzkaya is a postdoctoral researcher and project manager for the Horizon Europe Push*Back*Lash project led by Professor Dr. Zoe Lefkofridi. Dr. Beloshitzkaya’s scholarly interests lie in reframing conventional thinking on Central and Eastern European politics, particularly on gender and politics, democratic backsliding, and authoritarian resilience in the post-communist region and beyond, through theoretical innovation and rigorous empirical studies. Two overarching themes thread her research projects. First, she is interested in political parties and social movements as women's interest framers, translators, and challengers. Her second line of research examines the role of family, legacy, and structure in the formation of political and gender attitudes in the post-communist region and beyond. Dr. Beloshitzkaya’s methodological expertise is in mixed-methods research designs, with training and applied experience in advanced statistical methods and data analysis. Her grant and project management experience comes from her work in state government, where she led a team responsible for the design and implementation of multiple programs and projects related to maternal and child health. Dr. Beloshitzkaya previously taught Introduction to Sociology and Social Problems courses at Broward College and College Writing, Introduction to Comparative Politics, and Russian Politics at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She was also a Dissertation Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in Party Politics, East European Politics, Societies: and Cultures, and The European Journal of Politics and Gender.

Leo Neuwirth

Intern

Leo Neuwirth (they/them) is a BA student of English and American Studies at the University of Salzburg. In 2021, they wrote their pre-scientific thesis (Vorwissenschaftliche Arbeit) on the experiences of trans* and genderqueer teenagers and young adults in Germany and Austria. After completing a semester abroad in Norwich, UK, at the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia (UEA), they started their Gender, Diversity & Equality internship in the Horizon Europe Push*Back*Lash project under the supervision of Dr. Vera Beloshitzkaya. Leo’s main interests are the dismantling of heteronormativity and patriarchal structures and systems, as well as marginalized groups’ experiences, struggles, and activism. In their academic studies, they are especially interested in the role of art, film, music, literature, culture, and academia in advancing equality and intersectional awareness.

Larissa Lotter
Research Assistant

Larissa Lotter is a MSSc Student at the University of Salzburg where she studies Sociology with a focus on migration and gender. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences at the University of Göttingen, with a focus on Sociology, Ethnology, and Gender Studies. In 2020, Lotter completed an internship at the German Women's Council in Berlin. She gained her research experience during an internship at Ifes (Institute for Empirical Sociology at the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg). In her bachelor's thesis, Lotter studied discrimination in university context by conducting a qualitative survey.​

Nikolina Šokić

Doctoral Researcher and Administrator

Nikolina Sokic is a doctoral researcher in Comparative Politics at the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Salzburg and Politics and Gender, Diversity and Equality Chair administrator. She graduated in the field of Defense Studies and Political Science at the Faculty for Social Sciences in Ljubljana (Slovenia). Her Diploma Thesis related to the political dimensions of environmental issues in China. Her research interests lie mainly in the field of politics and policy of energy technology innovation systems

Anna Pasetti

Intern

Anna is in her last year of a Bachelor program at the University of Bologna, Italy. She studies Mediterran Societies and Culture, Politics, Rights and Resources. The core courses of her BA program address the topics of migration, European integration, human rights, and security. She is also learning Arabic at the University as a part of her curriculum. Besides Arabic, Anna speaks Italian (mother tongue), English and German. She has a scholastic level of French and Greek. She is currently spending a semester abroad at the University of Salzburg (PLUS), where she is taking courses and doing an internship in work package 8 at the Politics and Gender, Diversity and Equality Chair. Additionally, she is writing her BA thesis studying the responses of the Italian government to feminist claims in the period between the end of World War II and 2008. In 2021, she attended the summer school of the Società Italiana Delle Storiche on the topic of “environment, histories, and conflicts in a gender perspective” , and in 2020 and 2021, the annual seminars of Diotima, the women’s philosophical community at the University of Verona.

Matilde Ceron

Affiliated Postdoctoral Researcher

Matilde Ceron completed her PhD in Political Studies at the University of Milan (NASP). Her dissertation investigated the multilevel interplay between the EU fiscal framework and domestic political, institutional and economic factors in shaping the composition of public expenditures in the Member States. Matilde holds an MSc in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University and an MA in Public Policy Analysis from the College of Europe. Her research interest clusters at the intersection of EU economic governance, fiscal policies, gender equality and representation. Prior to her doctoral studies, she gained experience in policy-oriented research contributing to evaluations and impact assessments for the EU institutions. As a postdoctoral fellow in political economy at the University of Pavia, she contributed to a project examining the digital inclusion of people with disabilities, specifically analyzing the effects of pandemic digital surveillance and AI on discrimination and the rights of vulnerable groups. During her postdoctoral fellowship at Luiss University, her research focused on the policy-making and legitimacy implications of EU executive leadership selection. As a Max Weber Fellow at the Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute, she extended her research on national and EU emergency and recovery responses to the pandemic addressing the changes in fiscal policies and governance frameworks after Covid-19. In parallel, she expanded her work to a gendered analysis of EU economic governance with a focus on pandemic recovery policies. Her current project focuses on substantive representation and gender mainstreaming in the National Recovery and Resilience Plans. As an incoming postdoctoral researcher in the Activating European citizens’ trust in times of crises and polarization (ActEU) project, she will continue to work on representation and legitimacy with a focus on gender equality policies.

Joschka Köck

WP9 Lead

Joschka Köck is a participatory theatre maker and producer at Theater der Unterdrückten Wien (TdU Wien/ (Theatre of the Oppressed Vienna, TO Vienna) and a PhD candidate at the Dept of Political Science, University of Kassel. Here, he writes his dissertation on Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) as spiritual activism within the Anthropocene and towards socio-ecological transformation. Taking up a social movement research lense and post/decolonial and feminist theory, in this dissertation he researches both possibilities and limitations of TO as a global movement towards socio-ecological transformation. He also is a review editor for PTO Journal in which he has also published besides many edited volumes. Within Push*Back*Lash, he is coordinating partners for WP9, mainly developing context sensitive theatre interventions in the universities of Salzburg, Amsterdam and Budapest that take up the project’s researched developed pushback strategies within a practical framework.

TdU Wien (WP9 lead organization) is a (queer-)feminist organization that works with marginalized groups (e,g, LGBTIQA*, precarious workers), activists and with young people and in the field of training of professionals and adults from diverse fields. Its objective is the application, dissemination and further development of “Theatre of the Oppressed” (TO) which uses theatre as a means of foster social change and is especially applied to educational contexts to foster dialogue on social inequality issues. The focal topics of TO Vienna’s work are feminisms, climate justice as well as precarity. 

The scope of work of the Theatre of the Oppressed Vienna include but is not limited to: developing society interventions by using the tool of theatre within marginalized groups of population in Austria; fostering adult education by using the tool of theatre; conducting workshops in order to facilitate dialogue with diverse groups of the population on relevant contemporary issues; and organizing street artistic campaigns. The work TdU Wien is doing, is also constantly evaluated academically from outside and inside the organisation, resulting in various master theses, brochures on projects etc. 

Find out more about the organization’s work on tdu-wien.at, on Facebook on Instagram or within our Telegram Channel.   

Germany

Professor Dr. Nikita Dhawan

WP1 Lead

Prof. Dr. Nikita Dhawan holds the Chair in Political Theory and History of Ideas at the Technical University of Dresden (TUD, DE). In PUSH*BACK*LASH, she leads Work Package 1 that develops project’s theoretical framework. Prof. Dr. Dhawan specializes on gender issues (has previously held Chairs in Political Science and Gender Studies at Giessen and Innsbruck) and is a leading figure in postcolonial feminism.

Dr. Ana María Miranda Mora

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Ana María Miranda Mora is a philosopher with expertise on gender violence. Besides her substantive expertise, Dr. Mora will offer the project insights from Latin America, inter alia thanks to her membership in the Latin American Interdisciplinary Gender Network (LAIGN) (Yale MacMillan Center) and Network of Women Philosophers of Latin America.

Professor Dr. Alexia Katsanidou

WP2 and WP11 Lead

Dr. Alexia Katsanidou is a Professor of Empirical Social Research at the University of Cologne and Scientific Director of the Survey Data Curation - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences (GESIS, DE). Professor Dr. Katsanidou's research interests are in the field of comparative electoral studies (incl. political behavior, quality of representation and radicalization of European societies). She has been awarded research grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Leibniz Alliance, British Academy and the Max Planck Society the DFG and the European Union (FP7 and H2020). Katsanidou has published in the leading journals of political science and European politics, inter alia European Union Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Common Market Studies.

Dr. Kristi Winters

Researcher

Dr. Kristi Winters areas of interest are American and British political behaviour, with an emphasis on the intersections of sex and gender with political values and voting. In 2010 she founded The Qualitative Election Study of Britain which collected qualitative data at every British general election since.

Juliane Reichelt

Predoctoral Researcher

Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Alexia Katsanidou, Juliane Reichelt will work as a PhD student on the project. In the course of her master's degree in social sciences, which she completed in March 2023 at Heinreich Heine University in Düsseldorf, she focused on gender differences in political efficacy and political participation. In the context of Push*Back*Lash, she will work on comparing citizens’ views on gender equality across time and space as well as analyzing stability and change of gender attitudes within individuals over their life course.

Poland

Dr. Magda Szarota

Researcher

Dr. Magda Szarota is a disability studies researcher, and disability and human rights advocate. Szarota is a recipient of numerous merit-based scholarships including those awarded by the Kosciuszko Foundation and by Yale University.

The Netherlands

Professor Dr. Liza Mügge

WP4 Lead

Dr. Liza Mügge is an associate Professor of Political Science and research theme co-theme leader of the 'Diverse Europe' theme group of the Amsterdam Center for European Studies (ACES) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She is Founding Editor of the European Journal for Politics and Gender (EJPG). She was convenor of the ECPR Standing Group Politics and Gender (2013-2016) and director of the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender & Sexuality (2016-2019). Her research and expertise concern political equality, diversity, transnationalism, intersectionality, representation and social safety. She currently leads two research projects: 1) "Misrepresenting Diversity? How personal identities clash with ethnic pigeonholing in politics" funded by a VIDI-grant of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) (2017-2023). 2) 'Barriers and opportunities: towards equal representation of people with a migration background in the Netherlands', funded by Porticus (2022-2024). The past years, Liza has held several international competitive residential fellowships and visiting positions at Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research (BIM), Humboldt University Berlin (fall 2021) funded by a Alexander von Humboldt Alumni (AvH) Short Return visiting grant, Berlin Social Science Center - WZB (2020-2021) funded by a AvH grant, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences - NIAS (2016-2017), Harvard Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program (2014-2015) and the Harvard Minda de Gunzberg Centre for European Studies (2012). Her work has been awarded the 2021 Journal of Common Market Studies best article prize; 2018 Politics Best Article Award; the American Political Science Association (APSA) Cynthia Weber Award for the best paper presented at the 2019 annual meeting on the topic of sexuality and politics.

Dr. Rebekka Kesberg

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Rebekka Kesberg is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam. Her research examines how morality and democratic values impact the perception of (political) violence, threats to democracy and polarization. In the context of Push*Back*Lash she will be investigating the emergence, spread and framing of gender-based violence in online networks across Europe. Before joining Push*Back*Lash she worked as a research fellow at the University of Sussex (UK) on a project about political polarization in European democracies.

Dr. Michael Hunklinger

Affiliated Researcher

Dr. Michael Hunklinger is a political scientist and postdoctoral researcher in Politics of Diversity and Inequality at the University of Amsterdam. Before joining UvA, he was a research fellow and lecturer at the Department for European Policy and the Study of Democracy at the University of Krems (Austria), as well as a lecturer at the University of Vienna (Austria) and the Justus Liebig University of Giessen (Germany). In 2021/2022, he was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He has been working in various interdisciplinary and international projects that research European democracy and citizenship as well as political participation, activism and representation of LGBTQ+ citizens.

The United Kingdom

Professor Dr. Isabelle Engeli

WP3 Lead

Professor Dr. Isabelle Engeli is a Chair of Public Policy in the Department of Politics at the University of Exeter. Her research expertise includes the investigation of the gender dynamics in party competition, issue attention and agenda setting, and policy change, as well as methods for comparative research. Her research appears in top-tier journals in political science and public policy (e.g., Journal of European Public Policy, West European Politics, Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis, Regulation & Governance) and has been awarded the 2012 APSA Best Comparative Policy Paper Award and the 2011 Carrie Chapman Catt Prize. She currently serves as Lead Editor of the European Journal of Political Research, is Founding Editor of the European Journal of Politics and Gender (EJPG), and vice- president of the International Public Policy Association. She served as the Scientific Representative of the COST Action Professionalization and Social Impact of European Political Science (2017-2019), and as the Convener of the European Conference of Politics and Gender (2017-2019).

Professor Dr. Florian Stoeckel

WP6 Lead

Dr. Florian Stöckel is an Associate Professor in Politics at the University of Exeter. His areas of expertise are comparative public opinion research and political psychology. His work uses large-N surveys and experiments to examine how cultural conflicts shape public opinion, which is directly related to the project. For instance, one current line of inquiry examines determinants of citizens’ attitudes towards gender equality and feminism. His other work focuses for instance on the relationship between politics and public health as well as on fake news and the problem of misinformation on social medial. Stöckel’s work is interdisciplinary and his articles appear in leading international journals (such as the European Journal of Political Research, Political Psychology, European Union Politics, the Journal of Common Market Studies, Vaccine, the International Journal of Press/Politics, the European Journal of Public Health, and Public Understanding of Science). His work was awarded the Best Paper Award of the Journal of European Public Policy in 2014. He occasionally writes for lay outlets (e.g., The Monkey Cage previously at The Washington Post, The European, and the LSE Europp blog).

Adam McDonnell

Researcher

AdamMcDonell is a Research Director of Political and Social Research at YouGov. He has over ten years’ experience in public opinion research and specialises in large academic projects in the UK and mainland Europe. During his time, he has worked on numerous elections in the UK including the 2015, 2017, and 2019 general elections, as well as national elections in France and Germany. Notable academic projects Adam coordinates on behalf of YouGov include the British Election Study, and the ERC-funded Digital Campaigning and Electoral Democracy (DiCED) project.

Abigail Axe-Brown

Researcher

Abigail Axe-Brown is a Research Manager in the YouGov Political and Social Research Team. In her six years at YouGov, she has worked on a number of projects, including for academics, political parties, and charities. She has experience managing multi-country projects for clients such as the Universities of Exeter and Southampton, and currently, manages YouGov's partnership with the University of Manchester for the ERC-funded Digital Campaigning and Electoral Democracy (DiCED) project.

Professor Dr. Monika Kovács

WP5 Lead

Dr. Monika Kovács is an Associate Professor of social psychology and a research assistant as well as by Yougov UK (fieldwork). Professor Dr. Kovács has published on gender stereotyping political leaders, stereotypes of feminists, feminist identification and sexism, as well as tokenism and the perception of fairness, in English and in Hungarian. Recently, she has been a participant of the international project Towards Gender Harmony. Kovács will strengthen PUSH*BAK*LASH with expertise on gender stereotypes, different types of sexist attitudes, and experimental social psychological research. She has been teaching courses on the social psychology of gender since more than a decade and she was one of the developers and the lecturers of the interdisciplinary Gender Studies MA program at ELTE that was eliminated as part of the illiberal and anti-gender policy of the Hungarian government in 2018.

Dr. Zsuzsanna Vidra

Researcher

Dr. Zsuzsanna Vidra is a senior lecturer at Eötvös Lóránd University, Intercultural Psychology and Education (Hungary) and a researcher at the Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for Sociology (Hungary). She holds a Ph.D. in sociology from École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (France). Her main areas of research are poverty, ethnicity, migration, education, racism, political extremism, and media and minorities. She has published several articles on Roma and non-Roma interethnic relations, educational inequalities, labour market, and social policy issues. She has edited a volume on Roma migration to Canada, and another volume on the far-right and Roma self-mobilization and she has co-authored a book on ethnic relations, migration, labour market conditions, and the informal economy in marginal rural communities. Her recent work focused on child trafficking, mainstreaming extreme-right discourses, limits of tolerance, Islamophobia in Hungary, and violent extremism.

Dr. Enikő Virágh

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Enikő Anna Virágh is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute of Intercultural Psychology and Education at the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), Faculty of Education and Psychology and a reasearcher at the Budapest Business School in Budapest, Hungary. She earned her degrees from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Corvinus University of Budapest (2005) and from the Faculty of Social Sciences of ELTE (2016). Her main field of research is the social perception of rape and victimhood, and the role the media has to play within that. Dr. Virágh participated in the research project „Justice for Victims of Sexual Violence in Hungary” funded by Fulbright Hungary and conducted in cooperation with the National Institute of Criminology in 2017/18. She defended her PhD-thesis in the Doctoral School of Sociology in ELTE in 2022. Her dissertation examined the public discourses on sexual violence and harrassment through cases with impressive media coverage. Dr. Virágh’s research has been published in Hungarian in Sociological Review, Socio.hu and the Interdisciplinary eJournal of Gender Studies, and in English in Trauma, Violence and Abuse.

Dr. Barbara Helfferich

WP7 Lead

Barbara Helfferich, Ph.D. is an independent consultant who has more than 25 years of experience in European policy making and gender equality. Over the course of her career, she worked in the non-governmental sector as well as in the European Commission as member of cabinet responsible for gender equality/mainstreaming. She has been the leading expert for the European trade unions on gender and care work, work-life balance, working conditions and violence and harassment at work, conducting both studies and surveys on these issues. She has also served as an advisor and consultant for many European and international organisations. She holds a Ph.D. in comparative politics from Columbia University in New York.

Agnes Hubert

Researcher

Agnes Hubert is a co-founder of G5+ and associate researcher at PRESAGE (Programme de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Savoirs sur le Genre) Sciencepo/Paris. Hubert is a Visiting Professor at the Collège d’Europe – Bruges where she teaches on gender and social inequalities and managing gender in European Policies).

Dr. Valentina Maglietta

Researcher

Valentina Maglietta holds a Ph.D. with international distinction in EU Constitutional Law. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Law at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She also collaborates with several institutions and European think tanks in projects related to the study of fundamental rights, gender equality, minority rights and European integration policies.

Professor Dr. Jorge Garcés

Researcher

Dr. Jorge Garcés Ferrer holds PhDs in Political Science and Public Administration & in Social Psychology. He is a Full Professor at the Universitat de València and Prince of Asturias Professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC (USA). Professor Dr. Ferrer is also a Director of the Institute for Research in Social Welfare Policies of the University of Valencia (Polibienestar) and Doctor Honoris Causa by the Universitat Jaume I of Castelló and the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Jorge Garcés’s main contribution to the Social Sciences has been to create synergies between the Social and Human Sciences and the Experimental Sciences, following interdisciplinary and sociotechnical models. He has implemented, communicated and disseminated this scientific perspective within his area of knowledge and in the network of universities and public and private research centres, with which he collaborates, via the Institute of Social Welfare Policies at University of Valencia that he’s lead in the past 20 years.

Carlos Serra

Predoctoral Researcher

Carlos Serra Castells is a graduate in Law and master’s in public economy and political economy from the University of Valencia with an extraordinary master's degree award. He is a predoctoral researcher at Polibienestar Research Institute and has experience in European research projects related to public policy evaluation, citizen participation, democracy, ecological transition and social justice.

Lydia Bueno Sanchez

Predoctoral Researcher

Lidia Bueno-Sánchez is a graduate in Social Work from the University of Valencia where she obtained the Award for academic excellence promotion 2012-2016. Lidia is currently a predoctoral researcher developing her doctoral thesis in the program of Design, management and evaluation of public policies of social welfare. She has research experience in areas such as fertility, childhood, gender, aging, health, migration, and dependency.