Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

8/1/2016 - 7/31/2017

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,399.68 (awarded)

Gulag Wives: Women, Family, and Survival in Stalin's Terror

FAIN: FA-233399-16

Steven Anthony Barnes
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA 22030-4444)

The completion of a book on the women imprisoned in a Gulag known as Alzhir, a forced labor camp in Soviet Kazakhstan, during Stalin’s “Great Terror” in the 1930s.

This book project offers an in-depth history of a Stalin-era Gulag forced labor camp in Kazakhstan designed to hold the wives of victims of the Great Terror, a group of women arrested for no crime other than being their husbands' wives. Using formerly secret Soviet archival documentation in conjunction with unpublished memoirs, letters, and interviews of former prisoners, the book will reassess women's experiences of dislocation and persecution as a way to better understand not only the history of the Gulag but also women's roles, the shape of gender identities, and the conception of the family in Stalin's Soviet Union. Examining women's responses to the harsh Soviet penal system, the book explores the complicated nature of Soviet policies that simultaneously focused on women's emancipation and entry into the industrial labor force while reinforcing traditional roles as wives and mothers and placing limits on women's labor roles.

Media Coverage

Gulag Wives: NEH-Sponsored Research that Brings a Unique Group to Life (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Anne Reynolds
Publication: Cornerstone
Date: 7/12/2016