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Dr. Albena Shkodrova is a researcher at the Institute for Social Movements at the Ruhr University-Bochum, Germany and a member of the Modernity and Society research group at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. A former journalist and editor-in-chief of Bacchus magazine, Bulgaria's magazine on food and wine culture, she is the author of the popular book Communist Gourmet (Zhanet 45, 2015; CEU Press, 2021 in English), the academic book Rebellious Cooks and Recipe Writing in Communist Bulgaria (Bloomsbury academic, 2021) and articles in scientific and popular magazines including Gastronomica, Appetite and Food&History. She teaches political history of food in 20th century Europe and interview technique for research purposes.



Dr. Albena Shkodrova defended her PhD thesis in history at the Belgian universities of Brussels (VUB) and Leuven (KUL) in 2017. She was awarded the scholarships of the Center for Academic Research IMW in Vienna (Milena Jesenska Fellowship, 2014), the Center for Academic Studies in Sofia (2018) and the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Josef Dobrovský Fellowship, 2022). Since this year, Albena Shkodrova is a member of the editorial board of the scientific journal Food&History, published by the European Institute for the History and Culture of Food IEHCA. 

Her historical studies explore food as a tool of politics and ideologies, and the entanglement of food in individual and group identities. Her new project researches various aspects of social mobility in the planning and habitation of European New Towns after the Second World War. The topic of the place of horticulture, husbandry and food production in general - pushed out of or incorporated into the expanding urban space - is part of her current research. It compares the tensions between groups opposed by gender, social origin, generation and territorial affiliation by comparing new cities in four countries: Great Britain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

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Selected publications

Peer-reviewed articles in international academic journals


Shkodrova, Albena (2020) “(Re)digesting Communism. Contemplating the late 20th-century East European diets. Forthcoming in Food&History” In: Shkodrova, Albena, Scholliers, Peter and Yves Segers, eds. Food and Drink in Communist Europe, special issue of Food&History, vol. 18, n 1-2/2020, pp. 11-24. DOI: 10.1484/J.FOOD.5.122027 


Shkodrova, Albena (2019) “Home Cooking from ‘Slavery’ to a ‘Right’. The impact of state socialist feminism on domestic cooking practices in Bulgaria” In: Food & History, 16/1, DOI: 10.1484/J.FOOD.5.117098


Shkodrova, Albena (2018) “Investigating the history of meanings of a dish. An enactivist approach to the life of the Russian salad in 20th century Bulgaria” Volkskunde. Tijdschrift over de cultuur van het dagelijks leven, 2018 (3), pp 343-366.


Shkodrova, Albena (2018) “Rediscovering Europe and national cuisine. How EU integration is shaping food tastes in Sofia and Belgrade in the 21st century.” In: Appetite,  First published version available online since 19 October 2018. DOI


Shkodrova, Albena (2018) “From Duty to Pleasure in the Cookbooks of Communist Bulgaria. Attitudes to food in the culinary literature for domestic cooking released by the state-run publishers between 1949 and 1989.” In: Food, Culture & Society, 25 June 2018. DOI: 10.1080/15528014.2018.1480647


Shkodrova, Albena (2018) “Revisiting Coca-Cola’s ‘Accidental’ Entry into Communist Europe” In: Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, Vol. 18 No. 2, Summer 2018; (pp. 59-72) DOI: 10.1525/gfc.2018.18.2.59 



Shkodrova, Albena (2021) Communist Gourmet. The Curious Story of Food of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria. Budapest/Vienna: Central European University Press.


Shkodrova, Albena (2021). Rebellious Cooks and Recipe Writing in Communist Bulgaria. London: Bloomsbury Academic.


Shkodrova, Albena (2014) Soc Gourmet. Kurioznata istoria na kuhnyata v NRB [Communist Gourmet. The Curious History of Food of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria]. Sofia: Zhanet 45.

Based on over 80 interviews and a rich variety of historical sources, the book is an Arcimboldian portrait of communist Bulgaria. It explores the communist food modernisation project: analyses the ideology, policy and management of the state food industry, and looks into the consumers’ experiences with its output. The book was published in November 2014 and in the following year became a bestseller in Bulgaria, with three print runs. 


Book chapters

Shkodrova, Albena (2018) “In the Network, Out of the Network. Food under Bulgarian communism, as remembered by 15 North American visitors”. In: Food in Central and Eastern Europe. Past-Present-Memory. Eds. A. Drzał-Sierocka and M.Tomaszewska-Bolałek, Gdansk: Wydawnictwo Naukowe Katedra, pp. 43-56. ISBN 978-83-65155-92-4


Edited volumes

Shkodrova, A., P. Scholliers and Y. Segers (2021) Food and Drink in Communist Europe. Special issue of Food&History

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