The Politics of Reproductive Rights in Post-Soviet Poland

Joanna-Mishtal1-250x279Associate professor of anthropology, Joanna Mishtal, Ph.D., had her book, The Politics of Morality: The Church, the State and Reproductive Rights in Postsocialist Poland, published and released with Ohio University Press in August. The Politics of Morality is a full-length, single author ethnography based on 21 months of primary data collection in Kraków, Warsaw, and Gdańsk, Poland. It examines the politics of gender, focusing on reproductive rights, health, and social policies. Specifically, this book is an anthropological study of the expansion of power by the religious right and its effects on individual rights and social values, and it examines the contentious nature of reproductive rights politics that emerged since the fall of state socialism in 1989, and in light of the 2004 EU integration.

The research for this book started in 2000 when Joanna began her preliminary fieldwork in Poland as part of her doctoral program at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She subsequently conducted a year of research in 2002 as a Fulbright Scholar, and additional summers in 2007 when she was at Columbia University on a Postdoctoral Fellowship, and in 2014 while an assistant professor at UCF. While at UCF she collected data with women, health care providers, and nongovernmental women’s rights and health organizations, as well as with the catholic church about the complex issues involved in the restrictions of reproductive rights after the fall of communism in Poland in 1989. This monograph is therefore the product of her doctoral and postdoctoral fieldwork, as well as her follow-up studies while a faculty member at UCF.

The writing process was quite challenging, as she explains, “I had collected over 1800 pages of single-spaced narratives, which ultimately I was able to distill to a 250-page book.”  She received the prestigious Wenner-Gren Hunt Fellowship for writing of the book, which is an international grant competition and has an acceptance rate of 5% once a year: “I feel very fortunate to have been granted the ability to write my book full-time for 7 months in 2011 on the Wenner-Gren Fellowship.”

Dr. Mishtal specializes in sociocultural cultural and medical anthropology, concentrating on reproductive rights and policies in Poland, Ireland and the European Union. She was recently awarded the UCF Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award and her work has been endorsed by the Fulbright Scholarship, the Devaney Fellowship, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ellertson Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

She joined the UCF faculty in 2008 and teaches cultural, medical, and applied/public anthropology courses, while assisting and advising students in their research. She is the co-founder of the medical anthropology minor and the founder of the global health certificate at UCF.

For more information on her book visit the links below:

Press Link:


Amazon link:

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