Yulia Gradskova

Yulia Gradskova

Associate Professor

Senior Lecturer

I defended my PhD "Soviet People with Female Bodies" (2007). Currently my research is focused on Women's International Democratic Federation, the Cold War and the Third World.

Culture and Education


In 2007 I defended PhD dissertation in History (Södertörn University). I also have MA degree in Political Sciences (Central European University, Budapest, 1996). My research interests include Soviet and post-Soviet gender and social history, decolonial perspective on gender and politics as well as global and transnational history. I employ oral history approach in a big part of my research.
In my dissertation, "Soviet People with Female Bodies: Performing Beauty and Maternity in Soviet Russia" in the mid-1930s-1960s" (Stockholm University, 2007), I explored how discourses on maternity and beauty were changing. Also I analyzed how experiences of being a mother of a small child and of making yourself to look nice and attractive were remembered by women living in Moscow, Ufa (Bashkortostan) and Saratov.

My postdoctoral research project in the Center for Baltic and East European Studies,C BEES (Södertörn University, 2010-2012) was dedicated to the critical revision of the Soviet politics of "emancipation" and "culturalization" of women in former imperial borderlands. The special focus of my research was Volga-Ural region and Muslim women. I published several articles and book chapters resulting from this project. In particular, I showed that the Soviet “emancipators” ignored all the national movements’ activism for education and rights of women (Tatar, Bashkir, Mari and other people) before 1917 in order to present themselves as “emancipators” of the “docile Muslim woman” and “woman of the East”. Bolshevik practices of emancipation had a lot of similarities with the Russian imperial politics with respect to education of non-Russian women.

I was taking part in several collective research projects at Södertörn University. One of them was dedicated to transformation of family from the period of state socialism to postsocialist period ("Family and the Strong State: Emancipation or Coercion", 2008-2009). The second one was dedicated to traveling ideas and practices of gender equality ("Mourning becomes Elektra", 2010-2014).

Currently I am doing research on Women's International Democratic Federation (the WIDF) - a big transnational organization founded in 1945 in Paris and an important actor during the International Women's Year, 1975. I use mainly Soviet archive materials that allow me to look at the Soviet role in the transnational organization during the Cold War period. But, my main focus is on the federation's work for and in the name of women from Asia, Africa and Latin America.


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