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A Forgotten Women’s Organization? The WIDF, in between Women’s History and Cold War Studies

CBEES Advanced Seminar with Yulia Gradskova, associate professor in History, lecturer in Gender Studies, Södertörn University; Associate Researcher, Stockholm University, Department of History.

Presenter: Yulia Gradskova, Associate Professor in History, Södertörn University, Associate Researcher at Stockholm University
Discussant: Irina Sandomirskaja, Professor of Cultural Studies, CBEES, Södertörn University


The presentation discusses new approaches to study of the contradictory history of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) created in Paris in 1945 as a big transnational organization with peace and women’s rights on agenda. It is a part of a forthcoming book (Routledge 2021) which aim is to explore the WIDF’s work for, and in the name of, women from Asia, Africa, and Latin America in the context of the Cold War.

The presentation discusses the sources for study of the WIDF – the Moscow archives of the WIDF’s Soviet member organization, the Committee of Soviet Women (CSW), along with the theoretical approaches and methodology adopted.

In particular, I am looking for the answers to following questions:

  • Why was this organization ignored by researchers and activists?
  • Why was such a large organization, whose period of activity corresponded with the lifetimes of many people still living, forgotten?
  • What were the relations between the global women’s rights movement, the Cold War confrontation, and the anti-colonial struggle?
  • How did the WIDF navigate through Cold War “hot” conflicts and cultural battles?
  • Did the WIDF really overcome the Eurocentric conception of rights and women’s activism and become a political instrument for women from Latin America, Africa, and Asia?

Bio Note:

Yulia Gradskova, associate prof. in History, lecturer in Gender Studies, Södertörn University and researcher, Stockholm University, Dep. of History. She is the author of many articles and book chapters. Among her latest publications are: Yulia Gradskova& Ildiko Asztalos Morell, Gendering Postsocialism. Old Legacies and New Hierarchies, Routledge, 2018 ; Yulia Gradskova, Soviet Politics of Emancipation of Ethnic Minority Woman. Natsionalka. Springer 2018.

Tid och plats

08 mars 13:00-14:30

Högre seminarium

Zoom: Meeting ID: 623 4654 4041 Passcode: 179457


Arrangeras av

The Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Södertörn University


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