Dear All,


Please join us Friday, October 27 at a special time (12:00-1:20) for the Interdisciplinary Approaches to Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia(REECA) workshop!



The paper topic is:


“The Fighting Body: Experiences of Military Embodiment in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia”




This paper presents material from a chapter of my dissertation, which is tentatively entitled Socialism with a Sexy Body: Gendered Bodies and Embodiment in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia. The chapter focuses on experiences of male bodies in army training and embodiment of military masculinities (Connell 1995). While the entire population was subjected to intensified militarization in the wake of suppression of the Prague Spring in 1968 – so much so that some scholars label late socialism as “military socialism” (Mann 1987) – only all able-bodied men were mandated to undergo army training. Despite its stated purpose, the training did not contribute to the increased fitness of male bodies to defend socialism; on the contrary, by all accounts men got out of the training not only less fit but also deeply opposed to the army. Analyzing ego documents, oral history interviews, expert literature, magazines, and archival material, the chapter explores the construction of male military bodies through physical training, hygiene, confinement to army barracks for an extended period of time, with the phenomena of bullying and hazing; and their effects on male embodiment in a period of sharply decreasing popularity of the army. The chapter also examines the bodily strategies men developed to avoid training, escape army barracks, and satisfy their bodily desires. Through the military body, I suggest, we can also interrogate the late socialist crisis of masculinity.


Author: Michaela Appeltova, PhD Candidate in History (University of Chicago)

Discussant: Cheryl Stephenson, PhD Candidate in Slavic Lang. & Lit. (University of Chicago)


October 27, 2017

12:00pm-1:20pm in Foster Hall, Room 103

University of Chicago


Tea and snacks will be served. You are welcome to bring your lunch.


The paper is attached to this email and also available on our website (under the ‘Papers’ tab). The paper password is reeca17ma .

For more information, visit our website:


Please contact me ( if you have any questions about this workshop or if you believe you may need assistance in any way.


REECA workshop is an interdisciplinary scholarly forum where graduate students and faculty can explore different perspectives on area studies as they pertain to these deeply interconnected regions of the world. We invite topics of discussion from a wide range of disciplines, including but not limited to Slavic studies, political science, social thought, history, intellectual history, comparative literature, cinema studies, sociology, philosophy, divinity studies, economics, anthropology, public policy, comparative human development, and legal studies.