Prof Melanie Ilic Goes on Sabbatical

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that the university’s Being Human Research Priority Area has awarded me a period of sabbatical leave for semester one 2017/18. The main focus of my work during this period will be to make substantive progress on a monograph I’m currently preparing that examines Soviet women’s everyday lives. Research for this is already underway. Building on an extensive reading of Soviet women’s narrative literatures – biographies, testimonies, memoirs, life stories, interviews, etc. – I have already presented several conference papers around this general theme (on views of the West and travelling abroad, young women’s attitudes to romance and sexuality, and Soviet customs, rituals and superstitions). The study will draw out the contradictions between public discourse and private practice in Soviet society, as well as tracking changes evident in the official policy agenda and the historiographical debates evident in the academic research on the selected topics that provide the focus for each of the chapters.


Natalia Pushkareva, Barbara Engel and Melanie Ilic BASEES annual conference, Cambridge, April 2017

 I also have two books currently in production and will be seeing these through to the final publication stage over the next few months. I am editor of The Palgrave Handbook on Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Russia and the Soviet Union, which draws together 30 original specialist chapters in Russian women’s and gender studies from contributors around the world and across a range of academic disciplines. Women’s Experiences of Repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe is a co-authored volume currently in production with Routledge. My contribution examines the impact of Stalin’s purges and the Great Terror on secondary victims – the female family members of those who were arrested, imprisoned and executed. The other sections examine deportations from the Baltic States in the 1940s, the purges in Czechoslovakia after the Communist takeover of power in 1948, and the fallout from the student protests in Romania in 1956.


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