Home News Interview – Jessica Cheung

Interview – Jessica Cheung


This interview is a part of a sequence of interviews with lecturers and practitioners at an early stage of their profession. The interviews talk about present analysis and tasks, in addition to recommendation for different early profession students.

Jessica Cheung is a PhD candidate at the Freie Universität in Berlin. Previous to commencing her PhD, Jessica accomplished an LLB on the College of Hong Kong and an MSc on the London Faculty of Economics. Jessica’s analysis pursuits embrace crucial feminist principle, gender research, intersectionality, crucial race principle and decolonial research. At the moment, Jessica’s analysis focuses on the strategic operate of feminist international coverage adoption, and the manufacturing of “feminist states” by way of “othering”.

What (or who) prompted probably the most important shifts in your pondering or inspired you to pursue your space of analysis?

It is a tough query to reply as I’ve been impressed and motivated by so many alternative conditions, people and communities. My experiences working with UN Girls in Beijing prompted my analysis into feminist international coverage. Throughout my time on the UN, I labored collaboratively with a lot of international embassies in Beijing on gender equality tasks inside China. A big proportion of my time was dedicated to working with the Swedish, Norwegian, and Finnish embassies on completely different instructional and outreach campaigns. Witnessing how sure feminist beliefs performed out in follow peaked my curiosity within the politics behind the manufacturing of “feminist states” and “feminist international insurance policies”.

Previous to my time at UN Girls, I used to be extra fascinated with partaking with cultural and sociological research of gender illustration, nevertheless, the transition in direction of a extra political science-informed strategy has allowed me to research the notion of gender from an interdisciplinary perspective. Moreover, enterprise an MSc on the London Faculty of Economics (LSE) was extraordinarily influential in shaping me as a researcher. Learning at LSE, particularly on the Gender Institute (now the Gender Division), supplied me with the analytical abilities, theoretical framework, neighborhood and area to “undo” the normative methods of “understanding” which have restricted my voice, identification and politics.

I’m additionally extremely impressed by my supervisory workforce (Prof. Lora Anne Viola on the Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Annika Bergman Rosamond at Lund College and Dr Julie Sunday at International Affairs Canada) who’ve remained a relentless supply of information, help and encouragement all through the PhD course of. Lastly, experiencing life because the “Different”, in predominately “white” areas, has made me conscious about the intersectional types of discrimination that construction, disenfranchise and limit particular person and collective motion. Discovering methods to withstand this violence by way of my analysis has supplied me with a renewed sense of hope for what the longer term can maintain.

Your doctoral analysis explores the strategic adoption of the label ‘feminism’ in relation to international coverage. What political work does this adoption do?

My analysis questions the operate of a feminist label in advancing a rustic’s politics and political identification. A key distinction made by way of my analysis pertains to the strategic adoption of a feminist label, specifically, the politics underlying a rustic’s choice to undertake an specific feminist international coverage. That is thought of in relation to main gender equality international locations that possess substantively related gender-informed approaches to international coverage, but choose out of an specific “feminist” label. By highlighting this distinction, or substantive lack thereof, I tease out the nuanced strategic political motion(s) which can be being mobilised and instrumentalised by way of the inclusion and omission of “feminist” international insurance policies.

Provided that my work adopts a extra crucial strategy in direction of understanding feminist international insurance policies as a bigger political and socio-cultural phenomenon, my analysis highlights the embedded world hierarchies which can be perpetuated by way of the proliferation of feminist international insurance policies. What I’m alluding to listed here are the Western colonial logics of the liberal worldwide order that successfully “different”, subordinate and marginalise “creating” international locations, the “International South” and the Islamic world. Eurocentric impositions of gender equality requirements, regardless of representing a point of reform and progress, operate to legitimise the prevalence and progressiveness of liberal Western nations. Consequently, feminist international insurance policies can’t be considered as current inside an influence vacuum, fairly, they’re implicit within the re-production of normalised regimes of energy.

Nations which have adopted an specific feminist international coverage (Sweden, Canada and Mexico) have constructed their very own working feminist international coverage fashions. Regardless of falling underneath this bigger class of “feminist international coverage” and current referentially, international locations with a feminist international coverage usually are not grounded in, or by, a universalising normal or set of pointers as within the case of the Girls, Peace and Safety agenda and UNSCR 1325. Consequently, this freedom to find out what’s consultant and actionable as a feminist international coverage has allowed international locations similar to Sweden and Canada to outline “feminism” as a state follow. What has resulted from this political mobilisation is the strategic use of feminism as a supply of soppy energy, political capital and website of gender de-politicisation. This studying of feminist international insurance policies mimics the critiques made inside the fields of women, peace and security and gender and development. Consequently, the identical problematic approaches are being re-enacted albeit by way of a special coverage body.

As a political instrument, feminist international insurance policies additionally work to generate “feminist nations” whereby a dedication to gender equality features as a supply of nationwide identification. This in flip acts as a political sign demonstrating a nation’s progressiveness and superiority over different international locations. We will witness this working at a world degree (e.g. Sweden and Saudi Arabia) and likewise inside regional contexts (e.g. Canada and the U.S.). Nevertheless, the manufacturing of feminist states and accompanying practices of “gender washing” masks the violent discourse being produced by way of the dissemination of Western institutional practices of “equality”. In keeping with the work accomplished on homonationalism, femonationalism, and extra lately feminist foreign policies, feminism as a supply of self-identification re-frames the exceptionalism of “good” feminist nations by re-directing the issue outdoors nationwide borders.

Sweden and Canada each self-identify as caring and moral states in and thru their feminist international insurance policies. But each states have didn’t ‘care’ for the indigenous communities that they’ve colonised. What tensions exist between Swedish and Canadian feminist international insurance policies and indigenous injustices?

A big a part of this stress hinges on the cognitive distinction drawn between “home” and “international” coverage. By way of the follow of feminist international insurance policies, points regarding gender have been externalised and constructed as “international points”. This enables international locations to keep up a wilful ignorance as to the continued intersectional inequalities occurring inside their very own borders. On this sense, “gender inequality” has turn into de-politicised domestically by drawing consideration outwards. Therefore, the identical colonial logics that created Sweden and Canada are being re-framed by way of the patriarchal re-production of Western civilizational discourse.

The bounds of Swedish and Canadian solidarity could be witnessed by way of the state’s remedy of indigenous communities. Sweden and Canada exhibit a disturbing lack of understanding and accountability for the colonial histories which have formed current insurance policies and attitudes in direction of indigenous communities. Violence by way of state motion and inaction is manifold, from Sweden’s mining and extraction pursuits in Sápmi to the genocide of indigenous women in Canada, the notion of a feminist consciousness is domestically absent. However, within the face of this ongoing historic injustice Sweden and Canada proceed to wave their feminist flags.

Along with Stefanie Boulila and Orsolya Lehotai, you may have performed a study on challenges encountered by early profession researchers in European gender and ladies’s research. What are probably the most prevalent challenges, and what help is required to enhance the state of affairs?

The primary challenges recognized within the examine associated to job insecurity and an absence of total help. This was related to the epistemic disadvantages related to being a “gender” researcher outdoors the norms of mainstream tutorial analysis. What was revealed by way of the examine was the importance of mentorship and supervisor relationships, in addition to research-related help networks. Supervisors and mentors had been highlighted as a robust supply of help as they possessed probably the most potential to offer sensible and emotional steerage in relation to navigating the difficulties related to being an early profession researcher. Contributors additionally recognized the necessity for alternatives to attach with a neighborhood of like-minded people, obtain peer-to-peer help and to achieve coaching in duties similar to grant writing and job functions.

What are you at the moment engaged on?

In the mean time I’m writing an article with Prof. Annika Bergman Rosamond (Lund College) and fellow PhD candidate Georgia De Leeuw (Lund College) on the stress that we mentioned earlier, between feminist international coverage and indigenous injustice inside the context of Sweden and Canada. I’m additionally engaged on publishing a journal article that heuristically organises feminist international insurance policies in response to a typology. This publication is a piece in progress and one thing I hope to publish by the center of 2022. Outdoors of educational writing, I’m collaborating with the members at Younger WILPF (Girls’s Worldwide League of Peace and Freedom) Germany to assemble a set of pointers and a toolkit on how feminist international coverage could be included into current international coverage agendas. This publication can be being produced in collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung in Germany. The outcomes will likely be formally offered by way of a Webinar on the finish of 2021.

What’s crucial recommendation you might give to younger students?

There can be three items of recommendation that I’d provide younger students. The primary is to by no means underestimate the worth of neighborhood. Academia is a really solitary pursuit: you spend loads of time alone. Nevertheless, there are moments of hope generated by way of collaboration the place the “loneliness” of the work turns into a gateway to interacting with like-minded people. The second piece of recommendation I’d give is to all the time be crucial: “undoing” what’s “recognized” because the “fact”, and questioning the place your information comes from will fully alter your lived actuality. This won’t solely help you in navigating the educational world but in addition the social constructions which stratify you. Lastly, I’d encourage feminist researchers to embrace the discomfort of being a “feminist killjoy” – our mere presence is an act of resistance, not to mention the content material of what we’ve got to say.

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations