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The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Transnational State Feminism : East European Socialist Internationalism in Africa during the United Nations Decade for Women, 1975-1985 Seminar

26 February 2015
Building 58 room 2097

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Lisa Sugiura at .

Event details

Sociology seminar

This talk reflects on national women’s organizations, which 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 fulfil 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.

Speaker information

Professor Kristen Ghodsee, Bowdoin College. 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).

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