ZARAH: Women’s labour activism in Eastern Europe and transnationally, from the age of empires to the late 20th century

ZARAH is a research project co-hosted by the Department of History and the Department of Gender Studies at CEU.

ZARAH explores the history of women’s labour activism and organizing to improve labour conditions and life circumstances of lower and working class women and their communities – moving these women from the margins of labour, gender, and European history to the center of historical study.

ZARAH’s research rationale is rooted in the interest in the interaction of gender, class, and other dimensions of difference (e.g. ethnicity and religion) as forces that shaped women’s activism. It addresses the gender bias in labour history, the class bias in gender history, and the regional bias in European history. ZARAH conceives of women’s labour activism as emerging from the confluence of local, nation-wide, border-crossing and international initiatives, interactions and networking. It studies this activism in the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires, the post-imperial nation states, and during the Cold War and the years thereafter. Employing a long-term and transregional perspective, ZARAH highlights how a history of numerous social upheavals, and changing borders and political systems shaped the agency of the women studied, and examines their contribution to the struggle for socio-economic inclusion and the making of gender-, labour-, and social policies.

Principal Investigator:
Susan Zimmermann

February 2020 to January 2025

ERC Advanced Grant

For more information, please check the project website.