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The Soviet Solution for Women in Clara Zetkin's Journal Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale, 1921-1925

Liberty P. Sproat

Since the early 1920s, following the Bolshevik Revolution, Clara Zetkin, the renowned German socialist, politician, and fighter for women's rights, argued that only communism provided complete emancipation for women because it brought equality both in theory and in practice. Zetkin used her periodical Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale (The communist women's international) (1921-1925) to convince women of the virtues of joining Soviet Russia (later the Soviet Union) in worldwide revolution rather than succumbing to the empty promises of feminist movements in capitalist nations. From reports of International Women's Day celebrations to statistical reviews of the institutions established to aid working women, Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale used the example of Soviet Russia to illustrate what life for women entailed in a country that had experienced a successful communist revolution. The Soviet model portrayed in Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale was optimistic and illustrated what Zetkin anticipated her female readers dreamed for themselves. The periodical, thus, became a tool of communist propaganda to convince women that supporting international communism was the most effective path for obtaining equal economic and social rights with men.

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Together and Apart

Polish Women's Rights Activists and the Beginnings of International Women's Day Around 1911

Iwona Dadej and Angelique Leszczawski-Schwerk

This article investigates International Women's Day (IWD) in Poland as a historical and current event. In 1911, the first IWD was observed by Polish feminists who belonged to a "nation without a state." This first celebration marked the beginning of the first stage of the history of IWD in the Polish lands. One hundred years later, women's marches took place again on 8 March. This article examines how Polish feminists celebrated and organized IWD in Galicia and Congress Poland in 1911 and beyond. The article sheds light on the relationship between the liberal and socialist women's movements in Poland during the years 1911–1914. This study contributes to Polish women's history and to the feminist memory culture of IWD. Using our analysis of the history of the origins of IWD in Poland, we also consider whether or not the demands of 1911 are still relevant to the present day.

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Ukrainian Women Reclaiming the Feminist Meaning of International Women's Day

A Report about Recent Feminist Activism

Oksana Kis

During the Soviet regime the meaning of International Women’s Day (IWD) in Ukraine changed dramatically: its original feminist essence was substituted with communist propaganda aimed at women’s mobilization for the construction of a radiant communist future. In recent decades 8 March turned into a holiday of spring, women’s beauty, and love, celebrated both in public settings and in Soviet families. By the late 1980s, Soviet citizens had interiorized the new ways to celebrate this day at which men and boys were expected (or even required) to solemnize the “eternal femininity” of their counterparts by expressing their love, respect, and attention to women and girls of all ages, to greet them with flowers and gifts and to fulfill all their (rather modest) wishes one day a year. The leaders of the Communist Party and the heads of local authorities developed the new tradition of publishing their holiday greetings to female citizens in the media, while directors of enterprises congratulated their female employees in more tangible ways, from flowers and letters of commendation to financial bonus or career promotion. While celebrating “Soviet women―the most liberated women in the world,” nobody was to speak about the multitude of gender inequalities persisting in late Soviet society, as the so-called woman question was proclaimed solved in the USSR long ago.

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The Birth of a Field

Women's and Gender Studies in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Part II

Gorana Mlinarević, Lamija Kosović, Kornelia Slavova, Hana Hašková, Raili Põldsaar Marling, Theodossia-Soula Pavlidou, Irina Novikova, Laima Kreivytė, Katerina Kolozova, Serpil Sancar, Elif Ekin Akşit, and Krassimira Daskalova

Women’s Movements and Gender Studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina Gorana Mlinarević and Lamija Kosović

The Beginnings of Gender Studies in Bulgarian Academia Kornelia Slavova

Establishing Gender Studies in Czech Society Hana Hašková

Out of The Room of One’s Own? Gender Studies in Estonia Raili Põldsaar Marling

Gender Studies at Greek Universities Theodossia-Soula Pavlidou

Gender Studies in Latvia: Development and Challenges Irina Novikova

Gender Studies in Lithuania Laima Kreivytė

On the Status of Gender Studies in Macedonia Today Katerina Kolozova

Women’s and Gender Studies in Turkey: From Developmentalist Modernist to Critical Feminist Serpil Sancar and Elif Ekin Akşit

“The City of Gender Studies” in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe: Concluding Remarks Krassimira Daskalova

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Book Reviews

Ana Proykova, Malgorzata Fidelis, Marianna G. Muravyeva, Moyuru Matsumae, Slavco Dimitrov, Krassimira Daskalova, Polly Mukanova, Gisela Bock, and Haris Exertzoglou

Marina Blagojević, Knowledge Production at the Semiperiphery: A Gender Perspective (Belgrade: Institut za kriminološka i sociološka istraživanja, 2009), 260 pp., (pb), ISBN 978-86-83287-36-9.

Maria Bucur, Heroes and Victims: Remembering War in Twentieth- Century Romania (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2009), 352 pp., $19.60 (pb), ISBN 978-0-253-22134-6.

Irina R. Chikalova, ed., Zhenshchiny v istorii: vozmozhnost byt uvidennymi (Women in history: The possibility to be visible) (Minsk: BPGU imeni Maksima Tanka, 2001–2004), vol. 1, 320 pp., (pb), ISBN 985-435- 359-1; vol. 2, 320 pp., (pb), ISBN 985-435-359-2; vol. 3, 308 pp, (pb), ISBN 985-435-776-7.

Kristen Ghodsee, Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2009), 270 pp., $24.95 (pb), ISBN 978-0-691-13955-5, $65.00 (hb), ISBN 978-0-691-13954-8.

Katerina Kolozova, The Lived Revolution: Solidarity with the Body in Pain as the New Political Universal (Skopje: Evro-Balkan Press, 2010), 232 pp., €15.00, ISBN 978-9989-136-69-6.

Shana Penn and Jill Massino, eds., Gender Politics and Everyday Life in State Socialist Eastern and Central Europe (New York: Palgrave Macmil- lan, 2009), 292 pp., $85 (hb), ISBN 978-0-230-61300-3.

Wendy Rosslyn and Alessandra Tosi, eds., Women in Russian Culture and Society, 1700–1825 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 272 pp., £55.00 (hb), ISBN 978-0-23-055323-1.

Marius Turda and Paul J. Weindling, eds., Blood and Homeland: Eugenics and Racial Nationalism in Central and Southeast Europe, 1900–1940 (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2007), 476 pp., $25.95 (pb), ISBN 978-963-7326-81-3.

Demetra Tzanaki, Women and Nationalism in the Making of Modern Greece: The Founding of the Kingdom to the Greco-Turkish War (London: Palgrave Macmillan, St Anthony’s Series, 2009), 234 pp., $75 (hb), ISBN 978-0-230-54546.

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Canon-Building and Popular Culture

Gender Trouble in Bulgarian Culture Today

Nadezhda Alexandrova

Milena Kirova, Literaturniat kanon. Predizvikatelstva (The literary canon. Challenges) (Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2009), 287 pp., 15 BGN (hb), ISBN 978-954-07-2811-7.

Milena Kirova, ed., Neslucheniat kanon. Bulgarski pisatelki ot Vuzrazhdaneto do Vtorata svetovna voina (The canon that did not happen. Bulgarian women writers from the Bulgarian national revival period to World War II) (Sofia: Altera, 2009), 430 pp., 18 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-975-732-3.

Milena Kirova and Kornelia Slavova, eds., Identichnosti v prehod: rod, medii i populiarna kultura v Bulgaria sled 1989 g. (Gender identities in transition: Media and popular cul- ture in Bulgaria a er 1989) (Sofia: Polis Publishers, 2010), 256 pp., 12 BGN (pb), ISBN 978-954-796-032-9.

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Editorial

Francisca de Haan

It is a pleasure to present volume 5 of Aspasia, which consists of six articles, nine Forum contributions about regional women’s and gender studies, two review essays, nine book reviews, and an In Memoriam of Richard Stites, the influential historian of women in Russia.

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Gender and Religiosity among the Orthodox Christians in Romania

Continuity and Change, 1945–1989

Maria Bucur

This article questions the claim that in Romania, the post-1990 period was one of radically greater freedom in religious matters, as well as greater religiosity on the part of the population. Instead, it suggests that continuity be er encapsulates the development of religiosity—religious beliefs and their embodiment in specific practices— among Orthodox Christians in Romania in the twentieth century. It also makes visible important imbalances, gaps, and faulty assumptions about the importance of institutions in the daily religious practices and beliefs of most Orthodox populations in the historiography on Orthodoxy in Romania. Scholars have failed to see continuities and have embraced analytical frameworks that stress change, especially around the communist takeover period (1945–1949) and the fall of communism (1989–1990). Central to re-evaluating this trajectory are two aspects of Orthodoxy in Romania: (1) most believers live in the countryside; and (2) women have remained central to the development and maintenance of religious practices in ways that cannot be accounted for through any institutional analysis of the Orthodox Church, because of its both implicit and explicit misogyny.

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Gendering Grief

Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941

Melissa Bokovoy

This article is part of a larger research project on the political, cultural, and social implications of interwar Yugoslavia’s remembrance and mourning of its war dead. Es- chewing a focus on state-centered commemorative practices, this article focuses on two types of sources, laments of Serbian women and photographs by Serbian military photographers, as entry points into understanding the private, cultural, and religious arenas of Serbian wartime and interwar remembrances. Drawing on research examining the political uses of lament and grief, the article considers the role Serbian women played in controlling and directing the “passion of grief and anger” within their communities as they remembered the dead. The photographic evidence reveals that traditional death rituals and laments were performed and that these rituals were significant socio-political spaces where women, families, and communities of soldiers advanced claims for recognition of their wartime experiences and memories. However, the photographs themselves are sites of memory and this article examines how military photographers, acting on behalf of the state, sought to control the representation of grief and by doing so politicized and secularized the way grief was expressed. Placing these sources side by side illustrates the intermingling of forms of mourning and remembrance that existed not only in the Balkans, but also in many other communities throughout Europe, especially among its rural inhabitants.

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In Memoriam

Richard Stites (1931–2010)

Rochelle Ruthchild Goldberg

Richard Stites (2 December 1931–7 March 2010), a pioneer in gender history, took on “unfashionable” themes, researched them diligently, produced imaginative, fascinating monographs, and made his subjects fashionable. He died of cancer in his be- loved Helsinki while on research leave, and is buried near the city’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.