This presentation highlights the different attitudes surrounding menstruation and processes of advertising menstrual products during the Cold War. From a U.S. perspective, Saniya Lee Ghanoui will present how, in the early years of the Cold War, product companies connected menstruation to broader notions of nationalism and patriotism. By the 1970s and 1980s, many of these same companies spread the idea of menstruation as a global phenomenon that American companies could address. Pavel Vasilyev extends the discussion by focusing on post-Soviet Russia and examines how new menstrual discourses and practices emerged and developed in the wake of the Soviet collapse. Seismic shifts in Russian politics, economy, society, and culture that accompanied the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a new capitalist economy also resulted in profound changes in the politics of menstruation. Drawing on oral history interviews, memoir readings, visual materials and Internet archives, he shows how the inclusion of the Russian Federation in the neoliberal financial and gender order since the early 1990s has been accompanied by the often uncritical adoption of Western beliefs and practices relating to menstruation (such as the emphasis on the importance of disposable products). While our presentations will pay special attention to the movement of ideas from the U.S., the USSR, and post-Soviet Russia, we hope to prompt larger discussions about the history of international menstrual ideas that emerged with the global menstrual movement of the late-20th and early-21st centuries.
Saniya Lee Ghanoui is finishing her PhD in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where her research looks at the transnational history of sex education in the 20th Century. She is the Senior Producer for the podcast Sexing History, an Editor for the international blog Notches: (re)marks on the history of sexuality, and an Editor for SourceLab.
Dr. Pavel Vasilyev is a Senior Lecturer at HSE University in St. Petersburg and a Junior Research Fellow at Siberian State Medical University. He defended his doctoral dissertation on drug abuse and drug policy in early Soviet Russia at the St. Petersburg Institute of History of the Russian Academy of Sciences in October 2013. Between 2014 and 2019, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the History of Emotions in Berlin and at the Polonsky Academy in Jerusalem. His recent publications include articles in Rechtsgeschichte - Legal History, Historical Research, The Journal of Social Policy Studies and Vestnik of Saint-Petersburg University. History. His current research project, tentatively entitled Red Days on the Calendar: A Cultural History of Soviet Menstruation, examines various types of knowledge about menstruation, diverse emotions associated with it as well as evolving bodily practices and technologies that Soviet women used to deal with their menstrual cycles.
Please register for this event at https://go.illinois.edu/ghanoui-vasilyev-lecture