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Johanna Panagiotou

Johanna Panagiotou, M.A.

Alumna (Dissertation completed 2023)



"WOMEN, POWER, AND TRAUMA IN THE COLD WAR. Biographies in front of and behind the Iron Curtain (1947-1953)"

(supervised by Prof. Dr. Michael Hochgeschwender)

Academic Profile

Johanna Mamali Panagiotou is a Ph.D. student at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich [American Cultural History and Transatlantic Studies] and is a member of the LMU Mentoring Program for outstanding young women scholars. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on transnational women's biographies during the Cold War. She is an editor at the academic publishing house Büchner, speaks five languages, and lectures on socio-political issues. She works in the reintegration of people with health limitations into the labor market, with which she is dealing academically and from a transatlantic perspective as well. Under the pen name Victoria Mali, she hosts the program »Munich reads a book - German and international political literature«. She is a mother of three children.


In her dissertation Mamali Panagiotou consolidates the biographies of politically active women who wrote history at the pinnacle of the Cold War. Thereby she provides an insightful perspective on post-war history, contradicts an androcentric tradition in historiography, and gives gender justice its due.

The female actors form an inseparable collective − even if they never came to a meeting. The two profiteers Hilde Benjamin (GDR) and Ana Pauker (Romania) were at the forefront of politics, while the other two oppositionists Ethel Rosenberg (USA) and Elli Pappa (Greece) came under immense state pressure when they were threatened with the death penalty.

With a transatlantic perspective, the biography researcher classifies these personalities in the scheme of power and trauma and portrays their exciting world of thoughts and experiences under the premise »The personal is political and the political is personal«.
Labeled for the first time in the German-speaking bibliography as a Transnational Tetrabiography and supported by the theoretical reflections of the PhD student, this thesis not only shows the story of four special women but also that of a world in upheaval, shaped by so many power constellations and collective traumata that it is unparalleled.