Martina Cvajner is assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Trento. Her interests lie at the intersection of gender and migration. Her recent publication Soviet Signoras (University of Chicago Press, 2019) details the personal and collective changes brought about by the experience of migration for Eastern European women: from the first hours arriving in a new country with no friends, relatives, or existing support networks, to later remaking themselves for their new environment. In response to their traumatic displacement, the women of Soviet Signoras—nearly all of whom found work in their new Western homes as elder care givers—refashioned themselves in highly sexualized, materialistic, and intentionally conspicuous ways. Her focus on overt sexuality and materialism is far from sensationalist, though. By zeroing in on these elements of personal identity, previously unexplored sides of the social psychology of migration are revealed, coloring our contemporary discussion with complex shades of humanity.
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Spring 2020 Italian Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer