Professor Kristen R. Ghodsee

Curriculum Vitae

Kristen R. Ghodsee earned her Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley and is an ethnographer and professor of gender, women's, and sexuality studies at Bowdoin College in the USA. Her research interests include the gendered effects of post-Cold War transformations and the ethnographic study of memory, history, and nostalgia in Eastern Europe. Ghodsee has received many grants and honors including residential fellowships at the Fireburg Institute for Advanced Study (FRIAS) in 2014-2015, at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University in 2010-2011, at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey i 2006-2007, and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2005-2006. In 2012, she became a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow for her work in Anthropology and Cultural Studies.

Research project at the Kolleg

Women in Red: Communist Mass Women's Organizations and International Feminism during the Cold War

Women in Red
is a book-length manuscript that examines the transnational linkages between women from the former Eastern Bloc countries and progressive women's movements in Africa. During the Cold War, the women's committees in state socialist countries developed rich bilateral relationships with women in many newly independent nations as part of a larger program of political, economic and cultural exchanges between the "Second World" and the "Third World." Using ethnographic interviews and archival research, the book is an interdisciplinary exploration of the forgotten links between Africa and Eastern Europe through the lens of women's organizing. Using the case studies of the Committee for the Bulgarian Women's Movement (CBWM) and the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Women's League of Zambia, the book recuperates the history of international socialist women's activism. The book argues that state socialist women's organizations were key actors during the U.N. Decade for Women (1975-1985). By forging alliances with women from the developing world, women from the Eastern Bloc may have instigated Cold War competition over which economic system could provide more de facto and de jure equality to women. This was a rivalry that benefited all women in the long run, whether they lived in the "First," "Second," or "Third" Worlds.

Main areas of research

  • Cold War 
  • Women and Gender
  • Eastern Europe
  • Public Memory of Communism
  • Ethnography
  • Bulgaria 

Positions and memberships

  • 2014-2016 President, Society for Humanistic Anthropology
  • 2014-2017 President, Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (AMIAS)
  • 2008 to present, Editorial Board Member, Women's Studies International Forum
  • 2014 to present, Editorial Board Member, Contemporary Southeastern Europe
  • 2015 to present, Member oft the Board of Friends, Group of Social Engagement Studies at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory at the University of Belgrade
  • 2011-2013, Executive Committee Member-at-large for the Society for the Anthropology of Europe