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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Catherine Portuges

Second Advisor

Jessica Barr

Third Advisor

Julie Hemment

Fourth Advisor

Angela Willey

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | European Languages and Societies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Film and Media Studies | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Modern Languages | Modern Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Slavic Languages and Societies | Visual Studies | Women's Studies


In this dissertation, I look to Ukrainian women’s literary and filmic contributions in the final Soviet years of perestroika to recontextualize and reconsider feminist and gendered epistemologies in Eastern Europe. I view the last Soviet Ukrainian filmmakers, writers, and artists as groundbreaking in their conceptualization a new, more “liberal” vision of nation, especially through their increasingly open and subversive critiques of the Soviet state. I locate perestroika as a powerful moment in Ukraine’s histories of resistance to the weaponization of colonialist and imperialist mythologies, past and present. For women in particular, the stakes of this shifting articulation of nation became part of a bolder and more visible feminist consciousness, although not necessarily named as such.

I contribute critical insight to the ways in which gender operated in dialogue with the idea of Ukrainian nationhood during perestroika and glasnost, while at the same time, considering how the works under examination have contributed to contemporary discourses of gender, violence, and nation within and beyond Ukraine. By giving new attention to Ukrainian feminist engagement with queer and transnational feminisms, I challenge narrow and incomplete, and thus colonialist, narratives about gender and sexuality in Ukraine and Eastern Europe more broadly, bringing visibility to feminism’s development not as a corollary of or in relation to Western discourses, but as a product of its own cultural, political, and ideological conditions. In so doing, I situate Ukrainian feminist critiques within broader transnational feminist discourses, especially regarding women’s ties to the idea of the nation, both materially, through their bodies, and psychically, as an imagined intimacy, constituted through a sense of belonging.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License