Women’s Labour Activism in Eastern Europe and Beyond, 19th and 20th Centuries

Conference, 14-16 October 2021, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

The conference brings together the contributors, international experts, and the ZARAH Team to discuss the papers and prepare the edited volume. During the conference, each contributor gives a short presentation, and all participants are invited to engage in the conference discussion. The draft papers will be pre-circulated instantly after submission (20 September 2021) with all conference participants.


Dorothy Sue Cobble (Rutgers University, New Brunswick)

Krassimira Daskalova (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”)

Marcel van der Linden (International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam)

ZARAH Team Members (Central European University, Vienna)

During the conference, each contributor gives a short presentation, and all participants are invited to engage in the conference discussion. The draft papers will be pre-circulated instantly after submission (20 September 2021) with all conference participants.


14 October 2021

9:00–9:15 Introduction

9:15–11:00 Panel 1: Women in the State-Socialist Gender Regime

Eszter Bartha (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest/Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, Technical University Dresden) Questioning the Gender Regime? Women Workers and Labour Sociology in Hungary in the Peak Years of Consumer Socialism

Manca G. Renko (University of Ljubljana)
Women’s Intellectual Labour in Yugoslavia after World War II

Marie Láníková (Masaryk University, Brno)
The Czechoslovak Women’s Union, Labour Activism and Expertise under Socialism, 1967-1989

11:00–11:15 Coffee Break

11:15–13:00 Panel 2: Women, Labour and Emancipation

Belma Buljubašić (University of Sarajevo)
The Process of Emancipation of Muslim Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Socialist Period during the Second Half of the 20th Century: Literacy, Inclusion in the School Process and Social Life

Sandra Cvikić (Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Regional Centre Vukovar)
Trapped Inside the Socialist Emancipation Paradox: A Case Study of Female Industrial Workers in the Borovo Factory (Vukovar)

Masha Bratischeva (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa/Florence)
Ground Zero of Russian Intellectual Feminism: The Women’s Publishing House, Saint Petersburg 1863-1875

13:00–14:15 Lunch break

14:15-16:00 Panel 3: Reflections and Discourses on Women’s (Labour) Activism

Zsombor Bódy (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest/Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest)
Discourses on Women's Labour Activism in the Field of Religious, National and Left-Wing Women’s Movements, Hungary 1920-1940

Dóra Czeferner (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
Interpretation and Discourse of Women’s Labour Activism in the Austro- Hungarian Bourgeois-Liberal Feminist Press, 1907-1919

Sonja M. Dujmović (University of Sarajevo)
Social Democratic Reflections on Women’s Activism in the Workers’ Movement During the First World War in Bosnia and Herzegovina

16:00–16:15 Coffee Break

16:15–18:00 Panel 4: Women Labour Activists’ Life Stories

Eric Fure-Slocum (St. Olaf College, Northfield)
Nada Oristo, Neighborhood and Race in World War II-era Milwaukee, Wisconsin (U.S.): An Eastern European Immigrant and Labour-Left Racial Egalitarianism

Georg Spitaler (Labor History Society, Vienna)
The Case of Hilde Krones: Depression, Left Melancholy and a Haunting Archive of Political Hope

Viktoria Pötzl (Grinnell College, Iowa)
Traveling Theories: Klara Blum’s/Zhu Bailan’s Labour Activism in Eastern Europe and Beyond

19:00 Joint Dinner

15 October 2021

9:00–10:45 Panel 5: Socialist and Communist Women’s Activism: Women in Left-Wing Politics

Mari-Leen Tammela (University of Tartu/Estonian History Museum, Tallinn)
Women’s Labour Activism and Left-Wing Politics in Early 1920s’ Estonia

Kamelia Tzeneva (Central European University, Vienna)
Communist Women Workers’ Labour Activism in Bulgaria Between 1919 and 1924: Everyday Resistances and the Organized Struggle

Jean-Pierre Liotard-Vogt (Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne)
“The Most Important Thing is that a New Society Can Come About”: Anna Kéthly (1889-1976), A Stubborn Loyalist in the Fight for Democratic Socialism, Women’s Rights and Trade Union Rights

10:45–11:00 Coffee Break

11:00–12:45 Panel 6: Women, Social Rights and Welfare Politics

Ihor Karpenko (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kyiv)
Women Workers as an Object of Care of the Modern State in the Sugar- Refining Industry of the Russian Empire (1880-1905)

Maren Hachmeister (Hannah Arendt Institute for Totalitarianism Studies, Technical University Dresden)
Just Around the Corner: Women’s Self-Organized Care for the Elderly Before and After 1989 in East Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic

Denisa Nešťáková (Comenius University, Bratislava/Herder Institute, Marburg)
Against Bourgeois Immorality: Pronatalism and Communist Women in Czechoslovakia

12:45–14:00 Lunch break

14:00–15:45 Panel 7: International and Transnational Dimensions of Women’s Labour Activism

Daria Dyakonova (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva/ Université de Montréal)
Transnational Women’s Labour Movement: Communist Women’s Fight for Women Workers’ Rights in the 1920s

Johanna Wolf (Max Planck Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory, Frankfurt am Main)
Women as Workers: Discussions about Equal Pay in the International Trade Union Movement in the 1940s and 1950s

Eloisa Betti (University of Bologna) and Rossella Roncati (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice/Heidelberg University)
Women’s Activism and Vocational Training Between the Local and the Global: The Case of Cold-War Italy

15:45–16:00 Coffee Break

16:00–17:45 Panel 8: Women and Strikes

Irina V. Shilnikova (Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow)
Participation of Russian Women Workers in Labour Conflicts: From Pre- Revolutionary Industrialization to New Economic Policy (1880s-1920s)

Büşra Satı (Binghamton University, State University of New York)
“Long Live Our father”: The Berec Women’s Strike

Ana Rajković (Croatian Institute of History, Zagreb)
Strike as a Form of Yugoslav Women Workers’ Activism in the Interwar Period, 1918-1939

16 October 2021

9:00– 10:45 Panel 9: Women in Trade Unions

Natalia Jarska (Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)
Trade Union Activists, Expertise and Gender Inequalities in the Workplace in Post-1956 Poland

Ana Lovreković (Independent Researcher, Zagreb)
Women and Trade Unions in Interwar Yugoslavia

Boleslav Šmejkal (Central European University, Vienna)
Františka Dočekalová: Women Working-Class Activism on the Local Level in Late 19th and Early 20th Century Moravia

10:45–11:00 Coffee Break

11:00–12:45 Panel 10: Between Inclusion and Exclusion: Working Women and Men-Dominated Unions in the First Half of 20th Century

Jan A. Burek (European University Institute, Florence)
The Moral Economy of the Disenfranchised: Female Working-Class Activism in the Polish Textile Industry in a Trans-War Perspective, 1917- 1951

Mátyás Erdélyi (French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences, Prague)
Women’s Labour Activism: The Case of Bank and Insurance Clerks in Central Europe, 1900-1930

Sophia Polek (University of Basel)
How to Organize “Unity”? Public Activism of Women Printers in St. Petersburg, 1905-1907

12:45–14:00 Lunch break

14:00–15:10 Panel 11: Public Representations of Women’s Labour

Masha Shpolberg (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)
Women Filmmakers, Women Workers: Visualizing the “Double Burden” in Late Socialist Poland

Sylwia Nehring (National Institute of Culture and Heritage of Countryside, Warsaw)
Labour Women in Modern Museums of Communism in Poland

Contact (announcement)