An Amazon Warrior, a Chaste Maiden or a Social Man?

Early Ethnographic Accounts of the Balkan Man-Woman

in Volume 3 (2009): Issue 1 (Mar 2009): The Gender History of Everyday Life

This article looks into the representations of the figure of the Balkan man-woman in missionary and travel accounts from the turn of the twentieth century. I read these early proto-ethnographic texts, both written and visual, dialogically – as points of intersection between observers and the observed, with the aim of addressing the question of how professional transgressors – travellers and missionaries – perceived and culturally ‘translated’ female gender-transgressors who were enjoying the role and status of social men in northern Albanian and Montenegrin societies, and whose gender identity was heavily based on their daily performance of male chores and on the possession of male privileges, such as smoking, socialising with men and wearing arms.