Academic Spotlight
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Ghodsee Book Wins Award For Best in Field

Story posted October 14, 2010

Ghodsee book cover

Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria, a book by Kristen R. Ghodsee, Bowdoin's John S. Osterweis Associate Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, has won the 2010 Heldt Prize for the best book in Slavic/Eastern European/Eurasian women's studies from the Association for Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS).

It is a top honor bestowed upon a publication by the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES), the largest professional association of scholars studying the countries of the former Soviet Union.

Ghodsee's ethnography traces the social and economic changes among the Pomaks, Bulgarian-speaking Muslim inhabitants of a remote mountain village. She explores how gender relations among the Pomaks had to be renegotiated after the collapse of both Communism and the region's state-subsidized lead and zinc mines. Read about the book.

pomak kids
Pomak children. Kristen Ghodsee photo.

In citing the book, the ASEEES noted: "Ghodsee's ethnographic study offers a subtle and fascinating analysis of the rise of 'orthodox' Islam in the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria. ...With its timely topic, insightful analysis and beautifully written, compelling stories, this book deserves to command a wide audience from both inside and outside academia."

"I'm absolutely thrilled that my work is being recognized in this way," said Ghodsee, who currently is a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. "I feel honored that the Association thinks that the study of a small community in Bulgaria has as much scholarly value as a broader historical or macro-sociological study. I hope it will encourage more people to read about Bulgaria, the European Union country with the largest Muslim minority."

Ghodsee will accept the award at the ASEEES 2010 Convention in Los Angeles, Nov. 20, 2010.

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