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Global Feminisms and the Polish "Woman": Reading Popular Culture Representations Through Stories of Activism Since 1989

Magdalena J. Zaborowska, Justine M. Pas


This article examines ten interviews with Polish feminist activists conducted by the Women’s Center “eFka” in Kraków and gathered by the Global Feminisms Project at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Employing intersectional and interdisciplinary approaches, it reads this collection in the context of Polish discourses on womanhood and femininity following the post-communist transition of 1989. The interviews offer a unique perspective on gender formations and invite us to think of the Other Europe beyond the clash of approaches to the region that have positioned it between the extremes of pre-1989 “communist oppression” and post-1989 “democratic freedom.” As the GF interviews make clear, although initially influenced by western gender theory, Polish women’s movements quickly crafted their own theorizations of patriarchy and the politicization of the private. Approaching the Poland Site interviews as examples of located oral histories shows that attention to women’s experiences and self-narrated stories of activism complicates the geopolitical contexts, historical accounts, and popular representations of feminism in the East and West.


gender symbologies, intersectionality, oral histories, post-totalitarian

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/1431