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Dinner Speech - Kristen Ghodsee: Women in Red: Socialist Internationalism during the Cold War

When Dec 03, 2014
from 06:30 PM to 07:00 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97398
Attendees universitätsoffen / open to university members
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Kristen Ghodsee: Women in Red: Socialist Internationalism during the Cold War

National women’s organizations were a ubiquitous feature of all of the East European communist nations. Although the specificities of these organizations varied from country to country, they were all state-run mass organizations variously charged with mobilizing domestic women and/or representing their nations at international forums concerning women’s rights. In the West, these state women’s organizations were treated with suspicion; they were often viewed as tools of authoritarian control, mobilizing women to fulfill Party goals. It is rarely considered that Eastern Bloc women may have used their privileged relationship with the Communist Party to promote policies that actually helped women; that they could push back at male patriarchal elites by appealing to higher communist principles regarding the woman question. This talk focuses on the case study of the Committee for the Bulgarian Women’s Movement, and examines its international activities during the United Nations Decade for Women.


Kristen R. Ghodsee is an ethnographer and a professor of gender and women’s studies at Bowdoin College.  She has her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and is the author of five books, including: The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism and Postsocialism on the Black Sea (Duke University Press, 2005), Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria (Princeton University Press 2009), Lost In Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism (Duke University Press 2011), and The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe.  Ghodsee has been a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.  In 2012, she was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Anthropology and Cultural Studies.  She is currently a senior fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).