Visiting Fellow, Summer 2019
Margarite Poulos is a Senior Lecturer at Western Sydney University where she teaches modern European history. Her main area of research is modern Greek social and political history with a particular interest in the Greek Civil War, nationalism at war, the history of Greek feminisms, and the national, transnational and international history of the Greek communist women’s movement. She is the author of Arms and the Woman: Just Warriors and Greek Feminist Identity (Columbia, 2010). Her most recent publications focus on the activities of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) in Greece during the Civil War (‘So that life may triumph’, Journal of Women’ History (2017), ‘Communist women’s agency and ‘realpolitik’’, Review of European History (2017), ‘Gender politics in the aftermath of Resistance’ in Douzou and Yusta (eds) Resistance and Gender (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2018).
As a Seeger Fellow Margarite Poulos will be working on a monograph which is tentatively titled “Sausages and Subjects: Reflections on communist agency between Bolshevisation and War (1924 – 1950)”. This project aims to shed light on the path of the ‘professional revolutionary’ in the Greek Communist Party (KKE) between the Wars, in particular, the path taken by its aspiring female cadres. There were three main historical junctures which witnessed the formalisation of opportunities for cadre formation and upward mobility within the Party: the Bolshevisation phase (1924-1934), the period of Axis occupation and anti-fascist resistance (1941-1944), and the brief period of post-War consolidation of the social and political gains of the Resistance period which established Party priorities which favoured women (1945-1946). This book is strongly focused on the Bolshevisation period when the Party leadership was compelled to address the specific problems of the Greek Party, especially the knowledge deficit in Marxist-Leninist theory. In this context new opportunities for ‘development’ were created for ambitious and promising Party members to study in the cadre-training universities of the Comintern. A small but significant number of these students were women. One of this book’s main aims is to illuminate this obscure early chapter in the history of the KKE, and to shed light on the lives and political fates of the students who attended these schools, Stalin’s so-called ‘sausage machines’.