Book Release: Survival as Victory by Oksana Kis

February 4, 2021
Oksana Kis book Survival as Victory

Kis book coverHURI is pleased to announce the publication of Survival as Victory: Ukrainian Women in the Gulag by Oksana Kis and translated by Lidia Wolanskyj.

Now available for purchase from Harvard University Press, the book is an anthropological study of daily life for Ukrainian women imprisoned in the Gulag. Infused with first-hand stories from memoirs and images of artistic artifacts, Survival as Victory celebrates the women's agency and outlines the strategies they took to retain their identity and humanity in the most trying of conditions.

Explore the book

Book Description

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian women were sentenced to the GULAG in the 1940s and 1950s. Only about half of them survived. With this book, Oksana Kis has produced the first anthropological study of daily life in the Soviet forced labor camps as experienced by Ukrainian women prisoners. Based on the written memoirs, autobiographies, and oral histories of over 150 survivors, this book fills a lacuna in the scholarship regarding Ukrainian experience. It details the women’s resistance to the brutality of camp conditions not only through the preservation of customs and traditions from everyday home life, but also through the frequent elision of regional and confessional differences. Following on from the groundbreaking work of Anne Applebaum’s Gulag: A History (2003), this book is a must-read for anyone interested in gendered strategies of survival, accommodation, and resistance to the dehumanizing effects of the Gulag. 

$94.00 • £75.95 • €84.50
ISBN 9780674258280
652 pages
78 color photos, 10 photos

Publication of this book has been made possible in part by the Translate Ukraine Translation Grant Program of the Ukrainian Book Institute, and by the Stefan and Iwanna Rozankowskyj and the John Ivan Tymkiw Ukrainian Studies Funds at the Ukrainian Research Institute, Harvard University.

About the Author 

Oksana Kis is a historian and anthropologist who works on Ukrainian women’s history, feminist anthropology, oral history, and gender transformations in post-socialist countries. She holds a doctorate in History and Ethnology, is a senior research fellow at the Institute of Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the president of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History. She is the online editor of the journal Ukraïna Moderna.