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«January 2020»

Fellow Seminar

24 October 2019

Dr. Evguenia Davidova will present her research proposal on the topic: "Dutiful Nurses: War, Public Health, and Gender in Southeast Europe (1878-1941)" on 24 October 2019 (Thursday) at 16:30h at CAS conference hall.

This talk will present part of my CAS research project. This is a new research direction for me, which compares the establishment of public health systems in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, and more specifically the gradual professionalization of nursing. I have already collected archival materials in Sofia (Tsentralen Dǔrzhaven Arkhiv and Dǔrzhaven Arkhiv Sofia) and the Rockefeller Archive Center. The CAS portion of my research will allow me to complete the gathering of archival sources in Bulgaria (Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Ruse, Varna, and Veliko Tǔrnovo). The collection of unpublished primary sources from diverse institutions that complement and sometimes negate one other will enable me to reconstruct a more nuanced picture of the social shifts with regard to public health and gender in Southeast Europe from the Berlin Congress to the beginning of the Second World War.

The talk focuses on the Bulgarian facet of the project, and offers some preliminary results. Deep social transformations, including both state and nation building, marked modern Bulgarian history. Within the context of such profound changes, nursing provides a useful lens through which to explore in gendered terms the evolving relationship between public health, state-building process, war, and civic associations. Nursing history falls into two distinct phases, which correspond with changes in Bulgarian state nationalism, in tandem with international organizations' intervention. Despite the shifts in types of service and social origin, rooted within discourses of modernization, I would suggest that there was a notable continuity in the perception and actual practice of nursing that operated within (neo)traditionalist gender regimes.

Evguenia Davidova is a Professor in the Department of International and Global Studies at Portland State University. Her research interests focus on the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans: trade, travel, nationalism, gender, and public health. Davidova has published in European History Quarterly; CLIO Femmes, Genre et Histoire; Turcica; Balkanologie; Aspasia; Studia Pontica (Mediterranées); and Journal of European Economic History, among others. She is the author of Balkan Transitions to Modernity and Nation-States through the Eyes of Three Generations of Merchants (1780s-1890s) (Brill, 2013) and the editor of Wealth in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans: A Socio-Economic History (I.B. Tauris, 2016).
Davidova's new project, with the provisional title, Dutiful Nurses: War, Public Health, and Gender in Southeast Europe (1900-1939), focuses on the intertwining processes of state and nation building wherein public health played a key role.


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