Kristen R. Ghodsee


Member of the Graduate Group in Anthropology

Ph.D.  University of California, Berkeley, 2002
M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1997
B.A. University of California, Santa Cruz, 1993

Kristen Ghodsee earned her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley and joined our faculty in 2017.  

Kristen Ghodsee's research interests include the lived experience of socialism and postsocialism, the gendered effects of the economic transition from communism to capitalism, and the ethnographic study of postcommunist nostalgia in Central and Eastern Europe. Ghodsee has spent over twenty years examining the impacts of the transition process on the lives of ordinary men and women.  Her early ethnographic research focused on women’s labor in the postsocialist Bulgarian tourism industry and on the effects of political transition on Bulgaria’s Muslim minorities.  Her later works are influenced by humanistic anthropology; Ghodsee has experimented with ethnographic fiction, autoethnography, and photoethnography to produce more intimate narratives and images of the disorienting impacts of the collapse of communism on daily life. 

Kristen Ghodsee is the author of eight books and over three dozen articles and essays, including The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism and Postsocialism on the Black Sea (Duke University Press, 2005) and Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria (Princeton University Press 2010), which won the 2010 Barbara Heldt Book Prize, the 2011 John D. Bell Book Prize, the 2011 Harvard Davis Center Book Prize, and the 2011 William Douglass Prize for Best Book in Europeanist Anthropology.  She is also the co-author of Professor Mommy: Finding Work/Family Balance in Academia (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011) and Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism (Duke University Press, 2011), which won the 2011 Ethnographic Fiction Prize from the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (for the short story “Tito Trivia”). Ghodsee is also the author of The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (Duke University Press in 2015), which won the Honorable Mention for the 2015 Heldt Prize for the Best Book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian Women's Studies from the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS), From Notes to Narrative: Writing Ethnographies that Everyone Can Read (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and collection of essays and stories, Red Hangover: Legacies of 20th Century Communism (Duke University Press, 2017). Her next book, Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War will appear in February 2019.

Her research in Eastern Europe has been supported by: the National Science Foundation (NSF), Fulbright Foundation, the National Council on Eurasian and East European Research (NCEEER), the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).  Kristen Ghodsee has also won residential research fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.; the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany; the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. 

In 2012, Ghodsee was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship for her work in anthropology and cultural studies. In 2014-2015, she was a senior external fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies.  In 2015-2016, she was a senior fellow at research institutes at the F. Schiller University in Jena (Germany) and at the University of Helsinki (Finland).

She is the current president of the Association of Members of the Institute for Advanced Study (AMIAS), and a former president of the Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA).

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Please send media inquiries to Kristina Fazzalaro at

Office Location

Williams Hall

Office Hours

By appointment only






CV (file)

CV (url)

Courses Taught

Fall 2018

RUSS026/EEUR026 Behind the Iron Curtain (Freshman Seminar)

RUSS160/EEUR160 Sex and Socialism