Instructor: Marlyn Miller

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Instructor: Marlyn Miller


Office: Miller 246

Hours: Tuesday 1-4

Phone: x5325
HI398 Soviet and Post-Soviet Women
Course Description:

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, women imagined a socialist paradise in which they would be entirely equal to men, and a restructured society that would suit the needs of women and allow them to participate fully in political life. This dream quickly faded, replaced by pro-natalist policies and traditional social structures. Ultimately, with the demise of the Soviet Union, few options remained for women, and this situation led to the growth of human trafficking and demographic decline. This course explores the experiences and expectations of women in twentieth-century Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including the development and demise of socialist feminism, the participation of women in the Revolution, party, and state, the development of Stalinist family policy, the resurgence of feminist activism in the latter years of the Soviet Union, and realities and prospects for women after the Soviet collapse.

Required Texts:

Natalia Baranskaya, A Week Like Any Other: Novellas and Stories

Buckley, Mary, ed. Post-Soviet Women: From the Baltics to Central Asia. (Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Drakulić, Slavenka, How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed (W.W. Norton, 1992).

Fitzpatrick, Sheila and Yuri Slezkine, In the Shadow of Revolution: Life Stories of Russian Women (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Ginzburg, Eugenia Semenovna, Journey into the Whirlwind (Harcourt Brace, 1995).

Goldman, Wendy Z. Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin’s Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2002) (Available online.)

McDermid, Jane and Anna Hillyar, Midwives of the Revolution: Female Bolsheviks and Women Workers in 1917 (Ohio University Press, 1999).

Ramet, Sabrina, ed. Gender Politics in the Western Balkans: Women and Society in Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Successor States (The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999).

Many of the readings and other important information will be available on the course page:

Course Requirements:

Please note that attendance is mandatory. If you cannot make it to class, please discuss it with the instructor in advance.

The major requirement for this course will be a substantial research paper of 18-25 pages in length, researched in consultation with the instructor.

Readings and class participation: 20%

Preliminary research proposal 15%

Draft paper: 20 %

Final Paper: 45%

Wednesday February 6 – Russia’s Women, 1860-1917
Monday February 11- Women and Revolution

Read: McDermid, Midwives 51-111
Wednesday February 13 - Women and Revolution

Read: McDermid 143-186, Farnsworth "Village Women Experience the Revolution,” 238-254 (on reserve).
Monday February 18 – Kollontai and Family Policy

Read: Selections from the writings of Alexandra Kollontai at – “The Social Basis of the Woman Question” (1909), “Communism and the Family” (1920 – read the shorter version), “Theses on Communist Morality” (1921).

Farnsworth, Beatrice, “Bolshevism, the Woman Question, and Aleksandra Kollontai,” 292-316 (course page).

Wednesday February 20 – The New Soviet Woman

Clements, Barbara Evans, “The Birth of the New Soviet Woman”, 220-233 in Bolshevik Culture: Experiment and Order in the Russian Revolution (on reserve); Gorsuch, Anne, “A Woman is Not A Man”: The Culture of Gender and Generation in Soviet Russia, 1921-1928,” Slavic Review 55 (3): 636-660 (course page).

Monday February 25 – Film: Bed and Sofa

Read: Bonnell, Victoria. “The Representation of Women in Early Soviet Political Art.” Russian Review 50 (3): 267-88 (course page).

Wednesday February 27 - Women in the Village

Read: Farnsworth, Beatrice,“The Rural Batrachka and the Soviet Campaign to Unionize Her,” Journal of Women’s History 14/1: 64-91 (course page); Viola, Lynn, “Bab’i Bunty and Peasant Women’s Protest During Collectivization,” Russian Review 45 (1): 189-205 (course page); In the Shadow of Revolution 219-234.
Monday March 3 - Women in Industry

Read: Goldman, Wendy Z. Women at the Gates: Gender and Industry in Stalin’s Russia, 71-140, 207-231. Paper proposal due.

Wednesday March 5 – The 1930s

Read: Neary, Rebecca Balmas, “Mothering Socialist Society: The Wife-Activists Movement and the Soviet Culture of Daily Life,” Russian Review 58/3 (1999): 396-414 (course page); Randall, Amy E. “Legitimizing Soviet Trade: Gender and the Feminization of the Retail Workforce in the Soviet 1930s,” Journal of Social History 37/4 (2004): 965-991 (course page); Hoffman, David, “Mothers in the Motherland: Stalinist Pronatalism in its Pan-European Context,” Journal of Social History 34/1 (2000): 35-53 (course page).
Monday March 10 - The 1930s

Read: Eugenia Semyonovna Ginzburg, Journey Into the Whirlwind (Harcourt Brace 1995).
Wednesday March 12 – War

Read: Kirschenbaum, Lisa, “Our Cities, Our Hearts, Our Families: Local Loyalties and Private Life in Soviet World War II Propaganda,” Slavic Review 59/4: 825-847(course page); Erikson, John, “Soviet Women at War” in John Garrard and Carol Garrard, eds. World War 2 and the Soviet People: Selected Papers from the Fourth World Congress for Soviet and East European Studies, Harrogate 1990. (St. Martin’s Press, 1993): 50-76 (on reserve).
Monday March 17 – Film: The Cranes Are Flying
Wednesday March 19 – The Women of Yugoslavia

Read: Emmert, Thomas A. “Zenski Pokret: The Feminist Movement in Serbia in the 1920s,” 33-50, Jancar-Webster, Barbara, “Women of the Yugoslav National Liberation Movement,” p. 67-88, Ramet, Sabrina P. “In Tito’s Time,” 89-106 in Gender Politics in the Western Balkans: Women and Society in Yugoslavia and the Yugoslav Successor States (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999).
Monday March 24 SPRING RECESS
Wednesday March 26 SPRING RECESS
Monday March 31 – The Women of East-Central Europe

Read: Harsch, Donna, “Approach/Avoidance: Communists and Women in East Germany, 1945-1949,” Social History 25/2 (2000): 156-185. (course page) Kenney, Padraic, “The Gender of Resistance in Communist Poland,” American Historical Review 104/2 (1999): 399-425 (course page). Research progress report meetings this week.
Wednesday April 2 - The Women of Central Asia and the Caucasus

Read two of three: Kamp, Marianne, “Pilgrimage and Performance: Uzbek Women and the Imagining of Uzbekistan in the 1920s,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 34/2 (2002): 263-302 (course page); Tohidi, Nayereh, “Soviet in Public, Azeri in Private: Gender, Islam, and Nationality in Soviet and Post-Soviet Azerbaijan,” Women’s Studies International Forum 19(1/2) (1996): 111-124 (course page), Northrop, Douglas, “Subaltern Dialogues: Subversion and Resistance in Soviet Uzbek Family Law,” Slavic Review 60/1 (2001): 115-140 (course page).
Monday April 7 - Women under Khrushchev

Read: Reid, Susan, “Cold War in the Kitchen: Gender and the De-Stalinization of Consumer Taste in the Soviet Union Under Khrushchev,” Slavic Review 61/2: 211-252 (course page); Paert, Irina, “Demystifying the Heavens: Women, Religion, and Khrushchev’s Anti-Religious Campaign, 1954-64,” 203 in Women in the Khrushchev Era, Melanie Ilič, ed.( Palgrave 2004) (on reserve).
Wednesday April 9 – Film: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

Read: Natalya Baranskaia, “A Week Like Any Other,” p. 1-62 in A Week Like Any Other: Novellas and Stories (Seal Press, 1990).
Monday April 14 - Women in the Late Soviet Period

Read: Excerpts from Women and Russia: An Almanac (feminist samizdat) (on reserve). Waters, Elizabeth, “Finding A Voice: The Emergence of a Women’s Movement,” 287-302 in Gender Politics and Post-Communism, Funk and Mueller, eds. (Routledge, 1993) (on reserve).
Wednesday April 16 – The Collapse

Read: Pilkington, Hilary, “Going out in ‘style’: Girls in Youth Cultural Activity,” 142-159 in Perestroika and Soviet Women, Mary Buckley ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1992)(on reserve); Sue Bridger, “Young Women and Perestroika,” 178-201 and Mary Buckley, “Glasnost and the Woman Question,” 202-226 in Women and Society in Russia and the Soviet Union, Linda Edmondson, ed. (Cambridge University Press, 1992) (on reserve).
Monday April 21 - – Film: Adam’s Rib

Paper Draft Due
Wednesday April 23 Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

Read: Slavenka Drakulić’s memoir How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed
Monday April 28 – Post-Soviet Eastern Europe

Read: Lobodzińska, Barbara, “Women’s Employment or Return to Family Values in Central-Eastern Europe,” Journal of Comparative Family Studies 27/3 (1996): 519-545 (course page); White, Nijole, “Women in Changing Societies: Latvia and Lithuania,: 203-218, and Pavlychko, Solomea, “Progress on Hold: The Conservative Faces of Women in Ukraine,” 219-134 in Post-Soviet Women.
Wednesday April 30 – Trafficking and War

Read: Corrin, Chris, “Transitional Road for Traffic: Analysing Trafficking in Women From and Through Central and Eastern Europe,” 543-560 (course page)

In Gender Politics in the Western Balkans read two of the following: Zarana Papic: “Women in Serbia: Post-Communism, War, and Nationalist Mutations,” 153-170; Julie Mertus, “Women in Kosovo: Contested Terrains,” 171-186; Obrad Kesic: “Women and Gender Imagery in Bosnia,” 187-202; Dorothy Thomas, “Rape in War: The Case of Bosnia,” 203-218.

Monday May 5 – Post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus

Read: Ishkanian, Armine, “Gendered Transitions: The Impact of the Post-Soviet Transition on Women in Central Asia and the Caucasus,” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology 2(3/4) (2003): 475-497 (course page); Akiner, Shirin, “Between Tradition and Modernity: the Dilemma Facing Contemporary Central Asian Women” in Post-Soviet Women, p. 261-304; Dudwick, Nora, “Out of the Kitchen and into the Crossfire: Women in Independent Armenia,” in Post-Soviet Women, 235-250.
Wednesday May 7 – Final Thoughts
FINAL PAPER DUE Monday, May 12 in my office, 246 Miller.

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