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Kristen R. Ghodsee: Second World, Second Sex. Socialist Women’s Global Solidarity in the Cold War
Women from the state socialist countries in Eastern Europe—what used to be called the Second World—once dominated women’s activism at the United Nations, but their contributions have been largely forgotten or deemed insignificant in comparison with those of Western feminists. In this talk, Kristen Ghodsee will seek to rescue some of this lost history by tracing the activism of Eastern European and African women during the 1975 United Nations International Year of Women and the subsequent Decade for Women (1976-1985). Focusing on case studies of state socialist Bulgaria and nonaligned but socialist-leaning Zambia, she will examine the feminist networks that developed between the Second and Third Worlds and show how alliances between socialist women challenged American women’s leadership of the global women’s movement. Drawing on interviews and archival research across three continents, Ghodsee will argue that international ideological competition between capitalism and socialism profoundly shaped the world women inhabit today.

Kristen R. Ghodsee is Professor of Russian and East European Studies and a Member of the Graduate Group in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Chair: Juliane Fürst, Potsdam
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