Women in Red: Socialist Internationalism and Global Feminism during the Cold War

Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S354

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.  Furthermore, these organizations had transnational links with progressive women's movements throughout the developing world, and these networks shaped the development of the international women's movements during the Cold War.  This talk explores the specific connections between the Committee of the Bulgarian Women's Movement and socialist women's organizations and movements in Africa between 1968 and 1990.

Kristen Ghodsee is the Director of Gender and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College.  She is the author of 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), and Lost In Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Socialism (Duke University Press 2011).  In 2012, she won a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her work in Anthropology and Cultural Studies.


Kristen Ghodsee, Director, Gender and Women’s Studies, Bowdoin College

Sponsored by the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies.

For more information, please call 617-495-4037.