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«January 2020»

Communist Gender Policies towards Muslim Minorities in Eastern Europe: From Unveiling to Expulsion

This project will explore how gender policies towards Muslim women were utilised as a means to exert influence over Muslim communities. By offering comparison of Yugoslav and Bulgarian cases, it will examine the communist governments’ methods for implementing policies that interfered with people’s cultural norms, as well as the long-term consequences. Both countries were heavily influenced by Soviet models, and the project will look at how these ideas were adapted in each country. For example, it will examine similarities and differences in the communists’ views on Muslim women’s agency, dress and body, and explore how such views informed the policymaking in different periods and political surroundings. Besides the analysis of the policies and their implementation, this project will explore the strategies that Muslim women used to resist these measures and the consequences for them and their families. The project will bring a global perspective to the studies of national policies towards Muslim women and Muslim communities. It will engage in theoretical and methodological discussions regarding the transnational circulation of cultural policies, and the application of gender studies to global history. Finally it will contribute to the neglected field of gender history in Eastern Europe.

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