Academic Articles

Jonathan Waterlow received his PhD (DPhil) from the University of Oxford in 2012. He went on to hold a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at St Antony’s College, Oxford, and was a Research Associate at the University of Bristol from 2016-18. He’s also been a Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto, and studied at the Universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, and the Herzen State Pedagogical University in St Petersburg, Russia. He’s a founder at Voices in the Dark (, where he writes and podcasts.

Babushka, Helper, Harlot, Joker: Women and Gender in 1930s Political Humour


I contributed a chapter to this groundbreaking collection: The Palgrave Handbook of Women and Gender in Twentieth-Century Russia and the Soviet Union.

Humour is a way of coping with dramatic change and unstable times, so in this chapter I explore how the changing role of women in the USSR was dealt with in contemporary jokes. How were women represented? What kinds of jokes did women tell? And why did the regime seem to treat women far more leniently than men for telling political jokes?

More information about the book is available on the publisher’s website here.

Jonathan Waterlow