Experts and selection

Experts and selection

Tatyana Kmetova and Roza Dimova, Center of Women’s Studies and Policies
Field of expertise: Gender Equality Policies and Legislation
Short bio: The Center of Women’s Studies and Policies (CWSP) is established as a foundation under the Bulgarian law on non-profit legal entities by the decision of Sofia City Court as of 30 June 2003. The CWSP succeeds the Women’s Program of the Open Society Foundation, Sofia. During its existence from 1997 to 2002 the program established successful mechanisms for coordination, information exchange and networking with other NGOs addressing women’s issues in Bulgaria, and developed a capacity in providing expertise on gender equality issues, which allows the program to be spun off into an independent NGO. CWSP continues and enhances the work on women’s, gender and equal opportunities issues in Bulgaria and further develops new areas of expertise and activities. It implements its own or joint projects with similar domestic or international organizations. At national level the CWSP is a member of consultative bodies on gender equality issues to the executive: Consultative Commission on Equal Opportunities to the Minister of Labour and Social Policy – since 2003 and National Council on Equality between Women and Men to the Government of Bulgaria, representing 21 Bulgarian organisations and networks – since 2006. The CWSP is a member of several international networks.

Krassimira Daskalova
Field of expertise: History, Gender History, European Women’s Movements and Feminisms
Short bio: Krassimira Daskalova is associate professor of Modern European Cultural History at St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia. She is the author, editor and co-editor of fourteen volumes (in English, German and Bulgarian), and authored articles, book chapters and essays in history of the book and reading, and women’s and gender history published in Bulgarian, English, German, French, Russian, Romanian and Serbian; co-editor and book review editor of ASPASIA. The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History; past president of the Bulgarian Association of University Women (BAUW) and the current president of the International Federation for Research in Women’s/Gender History.

ASPASIA. The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Women’s and Gender History
International Federation for Research in Women’s/Gender History

Milena Kirova
Field of expertise: Literature, Gender Studies, Biblical Studies
Short bio: Milena Kirova (born 1958) is professor in Bulgarian literature, head of the department of Bulgarian literature at the University of Sofia. Women’s and gender issues have been a priority in Dr. Kirova’s work for the last fifteen years. She is currently chair of the Bulgarian Association of University Women; editor (and co-author) of a number of books in gender studies; coordinator of a project, sponsored by ERSTE Foundation (Vienna), entitled “Gender Identities in Transition: The Role of the Media and Popular Culture in Bulgaria Before and After 1989”, author of many books and articles on the same subject, published in Bulgarian and English.

Veronika Viktorova Azarova
Field of expertise: Gender Studies and Anthropology
Short bio: Veronika Azarova, Ph.D., teaches courses in social anthropology and gender studies at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. She is also writer and author of several literary books.

Kornelia Slavova
Field of expertise: Gender Studies, American studies
Short bio: Kornelia Slavova is associate professor of American culture and literature at the department of English and American Studies, University of Sofia St. Kliment Ohridski. Her publications are in the field of cross-cultural studies, American drama, and gender studies. She has edited and co-edited several books of gender theory and literary criticism; she is the author ofThe Gender Frontier in Sam Shepard’s and Marsha Norman’s Drama (Polis Publishers, 2002) and The Traumatic Re/Turn of History in Postmodern American Drama (Sofia University Press, 2009 ). Since 2008 she has been associate editor for The European Journal of Women’s Studies, published by SAGE. She is among the founders of the Bulgarian Association of University Women, currently serving as its vice-president.


Report on the selection process by the Bulgarian FRAGEN team

BAUW has contacted four well-known gender studies experts (Milena Kirova, Kornelia Slavova, Tatyana Kmetova and Veronika Azarova) and explained them the aims of QUING and FRAGEN projects. BAUW also provided them with all materials sent by FRAGEN coordinators.
The team discussed the texts that might be included in the Bulgarian selection and prepared together a longlist of the titles that deserve attention. Then every expert prepared her own ranked list. At the end we gathered again and agreed on the titles to be included in the final list. The selection mirrors the contemporary feminism in Bulgaria, i.e. mostly academic feminism.

There were also titles produced by women’s NGOs but at the end the team (even the colleagues from CWSP) agreed that they could not evaluate the impact of materials/documents/appeals they produced while the books published by academic feminists are widely used, cited and valued. The problem with some of the titles suggested by the colleagues from the CWSP was also that these documents were prepared for outside audience and in English.

Another point: though Olga Todorova’s book was selected by all the experts and included in their lists, the author said she would not like her book to be put in the FRAGEN database and the team had to exclude her work from the final selection. (This was the case with the books by Sashka Georgieva and Teodora Dimova, as well.) The final selection which includes titles only from the post-socialist period is consistent with the belief that there was no feminism during the time of state socialism, i.e. between 1960s and 1989. (But as specialists know, there is an ongoing debate on this issue.)

Most of the texts in the final selection were among the choices of more than three experts. In just one case, the team excluded one book -Teoria prez granitsi. Vuvedenie v izsledvaniata na roda [Theory across borders: Introduction in gender studies], selected by three experts and instead of it included in the final selection another book- Shte Vi razkazha za edna romska zhena [I’ll tell you about a Roma woman], selected by only one expert in order to show the rise of gender sensitivity towards women from the minority groups, as well.