Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond

We proudly present the book Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond, published by Routledge in the series “Routledge Research in Gender and History” – with the support of transform! europe.


The book aims to go beyond the narrative about a totalitarian nature of communism in twentieth-century Europe, and provide an alternative framework to describe the communist past. This reframing is possible thanks to the concepts of generation and gender, which are used in the book as analytical categories in an intersectional overlap. The publication covers twentieth-century Poland, Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic, the Soviet Union/Russia, former Yugoslavia, Turkish communities in West Germany, Italy, and Cuba (as a comparative point of reference).

As an interdisciplinary endeavor that combines literary and cultural studies perspectives with those of history, anthropology, and sociology, this collective volume provides a theoretical frame and overview chapters on several important gender and generation narratives about communism, anticommunism, and postcommunism.

  • The main focus in the first part is on methodological issues.
  • The second part features studies which depict the possibility of generational-gender interpretations of history.
  • The third part is informed by biographical perspectives.
  • The last part shows how the problem of generations and gender is staged via the medium of literature and how it can be narrated.

We wish you a pleasant reading!
Agnieszka Mrozik and Anna Artwińska

Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond
By Anna Artwińska / Agnieszka Mrozik
July 2020 Routledge
352 Pages – 1 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367423230


The book can be ordered here (hardback or eBook).


Table of Contents


Anna Artwińska and Agnieszka Mrozik

Part I: The Logic of Gender and Generation(s): Theoretical Approaches

1 Generational and Gendered Memory of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe: Methodological Perspectives and Political Challenges
Anna Artwińska and Agnieszka Mrozik

2. Acting and Memory, Hope and Guilt: The Bond of Generations in Arendt, Benjamin, Heine, and Freud
Sigrid Weigel

Part II: Generations and Gender in Historical Contexts: Comparative Case Studies

3. Communism, Left Feminism, and Generations in the 1930s: The Case of Yugoslavia
Isidora Grubački

4. Communisms, Generations, and Waves: The Cases of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Cuba
Chiara Bonfiglioli

5. Generations of Italian Communist Women and the Making of a Women’s Rights Agenda in the Cold War (1945–68): Historiography, Memory, and New Archival Evidence
Eloisa Betti

6. The Making of Turkish Migrant Left Feminism and Political Generations in the Ruhr, West Germany (1975–90)
Sercan Çinar

Part III: Women’s Biographical Experiences and Communism

7. “Old” Women and “Old” Revolution: The Role of Gender and Generation in Postwar Polish Communist Women’s Political Biographies
Natalia Jarska

8. Biographical Experience and Knowledge Production: Women Sociologists and Gender Issues in Communist Poland
Barbara Klich-Kluczewska and Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz

9. Without Tradition and Without Female Generation? The Case of Czech Artist Ester Krumbachová
Libuše Heczková and Kateřina Svatoňová

Part IV: Aesthetic Representations of Gendered Generations in Communism and Beyond

10. Girls from the Polish Youth Union: (Dis)remembrance of the Generation
Agnieszka Mrozik

11. “We’re Easy to Spot”: Soviet Generation(s) After Soviet Era and the Invention of the Self in Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets
Anna Artwińska

12. Entering Gray Zones: Questions of Female Identity, Political Commitment, and Personal Choices in Jiřina Šiklová’s Memoir of Life Under Socialism and Beyond
Anja Tippner

13. Gender, Generational Conflict, and Communism: Tonia Lechtman’s Story
Anna Müller

Conclusion: From “Communism as Male Generational History” to a More Inclusive Narrative

Francisca de Haan