Rasa Navickaitė

Year of Enrollment: 

Rasa Navickaitė is a Doctoral Candidate in Comparative Gender Studies with a Specialization in History at the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.

During her PhD, Rasa has received the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) scholarship, which financed her research stay at the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe, in Marburg, Germany (October 2017 - July 2018). She has also received the CEU DRSG (Doctoral Research Support) grant, which enabled her research stay at the Research Center for Historical Studies, University of Groningen, the Netherlands (September-December 2018).
Rasa's research has also been supported by the Dissertation Grant for Graduate Students 2017, awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) and the Lithuanian Foundation scholarship.
Currently Rasa is on the CEU write-up grant (February-July 2019).

Rasa's dissertation is a transnational biography and reception history of Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994) – a renowned Lithuanian-American archaeologist and an advocate of the theory of the peaceful, egalitarian, gynocentric and Goddess-centered prehistoric civilization of “Old Europe”. Gimbutas’ utopian antimodernist vision became a source of inspiration for a variety of socio-political movements (environmentalist, feminist, indigenous, neo-pagan, etc.) in diverse geographical contexts, on both sides of the “Iron Curtain”, starting with the 1970s and flourishing during the 1990s. This dissertation analyses the reception that Gimbutas’ work and persona received in diverse feminist contexts, namely, the gender archaeology scholarship, the women’s spirituality movement in the United States and post-socialist Lithuanian feminism.

Her dissertation combines historical methods with theoretical insights from feminist and postcolonial/post-socialist studies to produce a critical account of Gimbutas’ life and the reception of her ideas, while shedding light on some questions of broader historiographical importance for feminism transnationally. The dissertation proposes that a close analysis of diverse feminist activist and scholarly engagements with Gimbutas’ antimodernist spiritual vision can reveal the fundamental contradictions in the relationship between feminism and the project of modernity, namely, regarding questions of scientific objectivity, gender “essentialism” and Eurocentrism. The dissertation argues that an interest in Gimbutas’ theory of Old Europe can be understood as a symptom of the general disappointment with the traditional ideologies of the Left and Right by the end of the Cold War, a search for alternative moral frameworks in the “postmodern” and “postsocialist” period of the 1980s and the 1990s.