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Zhivka Valiavicharska

Associate Professor


[On sabbatical leave for Spring 2022]

Zhivka Valiavicharska joined Pratt Institute in 2014 and is currently Associate Professor of Political and Social Theory. She is a scholar, teacher, writer, and activist, whose work traverses political ideas, social struggles, and the contemporary arts.

As a scholar, Valiavicharska works in the fields of political and social theory, visual studies, postcolonial studies, gender and sexuality, and Russian and East-European studies. She has written about the visual, cultural, and social history of the socialist and postsocialist periods in Bulgaria, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe, and about the contemporary arts from the region. Her book Restless History: Political Imaginaries and their Discontents in Post-Stalinist Bulgaria (McGill-Queens University Press, 2021) offers a new reading of the post-Stalinist period in socialist Bulgaria and Eastern Europe in the context of the global 1960s and ’70s. She has also written on Lenin, Althusser, and Marcuse, on gender and social reproduction in the 1970s, and on different aspects of political life, material culture, and the arts in late socialist and postsocialist Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared in journals and edited volumes, including Theory and Event, boundary 2, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, Interventions: An International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, DVersia, and more. Future projects include a book on the land communes and social movements influenced by the work of Russian writer and social thinker Lev Tolstoy, and their history and legacy in Bulgaria, Russia, and Eastern Europe throughout the twentieth century.

While at Pratt Institute, Valiavicharska has been teaching courses on critical theory, modern political thought, and gender and sexuality (please note that some course descriptions appearing on the website may not be authored or current). She is also the co-founder and coordinator of the interdisciplinary minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies. Before coming to Pratt, she was a Harper-Schmidt Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago.

Ph.D., Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, 2011; M.A., Modern Art History and Theory, School of the Art Institute Chicago, 2005; B.A. and M.A., Art History, National Academy of Arts, Sofia, 1999