The seminar, "Motherhood and the Nation State in Western Societies: Modern Times," will be held June 24 through Aug. 2 at Stanford University. Nowacki is one of only 15 college teachers selected from across the nation to participate.
The seminar will cover the history of motherhood as an essential ingredient in discussions of human interaction in western societies. The theme is integral to a variety of issues including family economy, personal identity, social life and women's experiences, citizenship and authority, nationalism and politics, religion, economics, ethics and law. The seminar will include intensive reading and discussions.
During the seminar, Nowacki will undertake a project building on past research she's conducted on Russian women politicians. She will study literary journals in the Stanford Library to examine cultural attitudes about women in the public sphere. Nowacki hopes to link variations in the election of women to regional parliaments to variations in regional subcultures' attitudes toward women in the public sphere.
According to Nowacki, one explanation for women's declining representation in the political sphere is the state discourse on motherhood and the proper role of women in society.
"Under conditions of economic transition, Russian women are again being encouraged to 'return to the home' from the public sphere, to do their parts in halting the drastic decline in the Russian population and to be 'mothers of the nation,'" Nowacki said.
Nowacki plans to incorporate relevant material on motherhood and the nation state into her Linfield courses on nationalism, political Islam, political psychology, comparative politics and international politics, all of which have substantial historical components.