“Wanda, Who Preferred the Russian". Communist Women as a Subject of Gender Studies


Agnieszka Mrozik
Scholarship “Young IBL"
for years 2011-2012

The aim of the project is to write an article about the figure of communist woman on the example of Wanda Wasilewska (1905-1964), in which mechanisms of construction and operation of that figure within Polish society and culture – both before 1989 and after that date – are described. The project is situated within the field of literary and cultural studies of communism. Using methodological tools of gender, queer and postcolonial studies, it focuses on examining the ways of construction of the communist regime, personified in the post-war Poland by Wasilewska, as gender, sexual, national/ ethnic, class stranger to the Polish nation, thus threatening its history, tradition and identity. In a broad perspective the project poses the question of what gender studies can contribute to the studies of communism: bring out the hitherto ignored, marginalized, void, like intersection of the private and public or development of relations of power in the network of meanings of gender, sexual, national, ethnic, class etc. Simultaneously the project addresses the issue of the identity of women's movement in Poland, for which (real or symbolic) links with communism are so embarrassing that they have not received any in-depth analysis yet, remaining a sort of terra incognita on the map of local feminist studies.
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