Kristen R. Ghodsee

Professor and Chair of Russian and East European Studies

Member of the Graduate Group in Anthropology

Kristen R. Ghodsee is an award-winning author and professor and chair of Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She also serves as a member on the graduate groups of Anthropology and Comparative Literature. Ghodsee’s articles and essays have been translated into over twenty-five languages and have appeared in publications such as Dissent, Foreign AffairsJacobinThe BafflerThe New Republic, Quartz, NBC Think, The Lancet, Project Syndicate, Le Monde Diplomatique, Die Tageszeitung, The Washington Post, and the New York Times.

She is the author of 12 books, including: Second World, Second Sex: Socialist Women's Activism and Global Solidarity during the Cold War (Duke University Press, 2019) and Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence (Bold Type Books, 2018 and 2020), which has had fifteen translations. In 2021, she published Taking Stock of the Shock: Social Impacts of the 1989 Revolutions with Oxford University Press (co-authored with Mitchell A. Orenstein). She hosts the podcast, A.K. 47 - Forty-seven Selections from the Works of Alexandra Kollontai, which inspired her 2022 book, Red Valkyries: Feminist Lessons from Five Revolutionary Women.

Her latest book, Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life, appeared in May 2023 with Simon & Schuster.

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Office Location

Williams Hall

Office Hours

by appointment






CV (file)

CV (url)

Research Interests

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 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. 

Selected Publications

  • For a full list of Ghodsee's books, click here
  • For Ghodsee's peer-reviewed jounral articles, click here
  • For Ghodsee's popular writing,  click here 

Courses Taught

Fall 2024 Courses:

REES 1680: Sex and Socialism


Graduate Group of Anthropology

Graduate Group of Comparative Literature

Graduate Group of the Lauder Program

Affiliated Faculty, Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies