“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”
― Brigham Young
In Eastern European literature courses, women’s voices are often egregiously underrepresented. Male authors dominate the canon, and women’s perspectives are undervalued or completely ignored. Despite this fact, women of Eastern Europe have never been silent about their political, social, and cultural experiences. Through a variety of genres and media, women have expressed their needs and hopes for the future while facing an array of political and social obstacles. Race, ethnicity, class, religion, and a host of additional factors played (and continue to play) a role in their failures and successes as writers and filmmakers. This course explored the specificities of both (cultural) politics and the experiences of Eastern European women, utilizing writings and films from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. The primary texts of the course acquainted students with a variety of women’s perspectives from several eras and regions of Eastern Europe. These perspectives are especially important for a Western audience: they challenge our assumptions about feminism and about what constitutes a “liberated woman.” In this seminar, we worked to dismantle Western stereotypes about Eastern Europe and widen feminist critical paradigms in order to create a more inclusive vision of what global feminism looks like in this part of the world.