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Malgorzata Fidelis
Graduate Dissertation Fellow 2004-05, History

Malgorzata FidelisĀ is writing a dissertation entitled, "The New Proletarians: Women Industrial Workers and the State in Postwar Poland, 1945-1957," discussing the conception and implementation of the communist project of gender equality in postwar Poland. While numerous historians have examined gender politics during and after the Russian Revolution, gender issues remain largely unexplored in the context of emerging eastern European socialisms after World War II. Fidelis focuses on the state's construction of female proletariat as well as the diverse experiences of women workers in the context of postwar reconstruction, communist women's organizations, Stalinist rapid industrialization, and eventual de-Stalinization. She argues that the party-state constantly changed gender policies to accommodate not only the economic and ideological goals, but also national and local cultures. At the same time, women workers' identities were shaped by picking and choosing from both the state's version of gender equality and the traditional, pre-communist gender roles.