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Between Transnational Cooperation and Nationalism

The Little Entente of Women in Czechoslovakia

Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová

Abstract

Focusing on the involvement of feminist activist women from Czechoslovakia in the Little Entente of Women (LEW), this article examines the ideological and political limits of transnational cooperation within such an international organization, one that aimed to promote women's rights and pacifism in Central and Eastern Europe. The case of Czechoslovakia suggests that deep, ideological divisions between liberal feminist and conservative nationalist threads within the LEW's national branch seriously undermined efforts at unity and “global sisterhood” on the international level. It became possible to overcome ideological and political differences in the 1920s without questioning the very existence of the LEW. However, the antirevisionist political agenda of states involved in the LEW was a decisive factor in its reorganization. This article characterizes the rather limited impact of the LEW's activities in Czechoslovakia and presents new details on its reorganization in the 1930s.

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Book Reviews

Birgitta Bader-Zaar, Evguenia Davidova, Minja Bujaković, Milena Kirova, Malgorzata Fidelis, Stefano Petrungaro, Alexandra Talavar, Daniela Koleva, Rochelle Ruthchild, Vania Ivanova, Valentina Mitkova, Roxana L. Cazan, Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska, and Nadia Danova

Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 4, no. 2, “East European Feminisms, Part 1: The History of East European Feminisms,” eds. Maria Bucur and Krassimira Daskalova, 2020.

Maria Bucur, The Nation's Gratitude: World War I and Citizenship Rights in Interwar Romania, London: Routledge, 2022, vi–viii, 231 pp., $160.00 (hardback), $48.95 (ebook), ISBN: 978-0-367-74978-1.

Sanja Ćopić and Zorana Antonijević, eds., Feminizam, aktivizam, politike: Proizvodnja znanja na poluperiferiji. Zbornik radova u čast Marine Blagojević Hughson (Feminism, activism, politics: Knowledge production in the semiperiphery. Collection in honor of Marina Blagojević Hughson), Belgrade: Institute for Criminological and Sociological Research (IKSI), 2021, 621 pp., ISBN: 978-86-80756-42-4.

Krassimira Daskalova, Zhorzheta Nazarska, and Reneta Roshkeva, eds., Ot siankata na istoriata: Zhenite v bulgarskoto obshtestvo i kultura, volume 2, Izvori za istoriana na zhenite: Dnevnitsi, spomeni, pisma, beletristika (From the shadows of history: Women in Bulgarian society and culture, volume 2, Sources of women's history: diaries, memoirs, letters, fiction), Sofia: Sofia University Press, 2021, 621 pp., BGN 30 (paperback), ISBN: 978-954-07-5180-1.

Melissa Feinberg, Communism in Eastern Europe, New York: Routledge, 2022, 229 pp., $44.75 (paperback), ISBN 978-0-8133-4817-9

Fabio Giomi, Making Muslim Women European: Voluntary Associations, Gender, and Islam in Post-Ottoman Bosnia and Yugoslavia (1878–1941), Budapest: CEU Press, 2021, 420 pp., €88.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-963-386-369-5.

Yulia Gradskova, The Women's International Democratic Federation, the Global South and the Cold War: Defending the Rights of Women of the “Whole World”? London: Routledge, 2020, 222 pp. £29.59 (e-book), ISBN: 9781003050032.

Dagmar Gramshammer-Hohl and Oana Hergenröther, eds., Foreign Countries of Old Age: East and Southeast European Perspectives on Aging, Aging Studies, vol. 19, Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2021, 386 pp., €45 (paperback), ISBN: 978-3-8376-4554-5.

Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer, Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet Home Front During World War II, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, 528 pp., $34.95 (hardback), ISBN: 9780190618414.

Oksana Kis, Survival as Victory: Ukrainian Women in the Gulag, Harvard Series in Ukrainian Studies, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2021, 652 pp., 78 color photos, 10 photos, €84.50 (hardback), ISBN: 9780674258280.

Yelena Lembersky and Galina Lembersky, Like a Drop of Ink in a Downpour: Memories of Soviet Russia, Boston: Cherry Orchard Books, 2022, 247 pp., $17.19 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-64469-669-9.

Mihaela Miroiu, Povestiri despre Cadmav (Stories about Cadmav), Bucharest: Rocart, 2021, 270 pp., RON 31.00 (paperback), ISBN: 978-606-95093-0-2.

Mie Nakachi, Replacing the Dead: The Politics of Reproduction in the Postwar Soviet Union, New York: Oxford University Press, 2021, 352 pp., $39.95 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-0190635138.

Olga Todorova, Domashnoto robstvo i robovladenie v osmanska Rumelia (Domestic slavery and slave ownership in Ottoman Rumelia), Sofia: Gutenberg, 2021, 444 pp., BGN 30 (paperback), ISBN: 978-619-176-195-1.

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Book Reviews

Gregory Mahler, Ami Pedahzur, Ilan Peleg, Morrie Fred, and Louis A. Fishman

Alan Dowty, Israel (Medford, MD: Polity Histories Series, 2021), 224 pp., $14.95 (paperback).

Devorah S. Manekin, Regular Soldiers, Irregular War: Violence and Restraint in the Second Intifada (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020), 264 pp., $39.95 (hardback).

Raphael Cohen-Almagor, Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Liberalism, Culture and Coercion (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), 250 pp., $29.99 (paperback).

Ian Mcgonigle, Genomic Citizenship: The Molecularization of Identity in the Contemporary Middle East (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021), 220 pp., $75.00 (paperback).

Liora Halperin, The Oldest Guard: Forging the Zionist Settler Past (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2021), 368 pp., $28.00 (paperback).

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Bringing Politics Back In

Embedded Neoliberalism in Israel during Rabin's Second Government

Arie Krampf, Uri Ansenberg, and Barak Zur

Abstract

This article makes an empirical and historical contribution regarding the role of the Labor Party government between 1992 and 1996—Yitzhak Rabin's government—in shaping the Israeli path to neoliberalism. The article argues that Rabin's government developed a new neoliberal political-economic logic that differed from the political-economic logic of the Emergency Stabilization Plan as well as from the political-economic logic of Sharon's government in the post-Intifada era. It argues that Rabin's government's political-economic logic conforms to the notion of ‘embedded neoliberalism’ (Bohle and Greskovits 2012). The article also argues that political parties had greater impact on the Israeli neoliberal path than is conventionally claimed. The historical analysis is based on qualitative and quantitative research in six policy areas: supply-side, demand-side, welfare and redistribution, development, depoliticization and democratization.

Open access

Case Study

The ‘Deep Believer’ 30 Years On, 1926–2008

Reinhold L. Loeffler

In my book Islam in Practice (1988), I showed the great variety of religious beliefs in Sisakht, a village of Luri-speaking tribal people in the province of Kohgiluye/Boir Ahmad in Iran. I gave one of the 21 men I presented, Mr. Husseinkhan Sayadi, the epithet ‘Deep Believer’ to reflect his firm belief in God and Shi'a traditions. We became close friends, and revisiting his life again 14 years after his death, I will continue to use his first name to reflect and honour our friendship.

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“The Chain of Hebrew Soldiers”

Reconsidering “Religionization” within an IDF Bible Seminar

Nehemia Stern, Uzi Ben-Shalom, Udi Lebel, and Batia Ben-Hador

Abstract

This article presents an ethnographic analysis of the educational and religious tensions that emerged during a five-day biblical seminar run by the Israel Defense Forces’ Identity and Jewish Consciousness Unit. We argue that despite the official focus on professionalization as a pedagogical parameter, the seminar participants themselves reacted to biblical narratives in ways that indicate a distinct kind of personal and individualized discourse. By focusing on this disjuncture, we highlight the very real limitations larger (governmental or civilian) institutional entities face as they attempt to shape religious attitudes within the Israeli public arena. Examining how seminar participants interpret biblical narratives can enable scholars to portray a more nuanced account of how religion and “religionization” function within the Israel Defense Forces.

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Diplomats’ Wives and the Foreign Ministry in Late Imperial Russia, in Four Portraits

Marina Soroka

Abstract

The infrequent publications about women's agency in European diplomacy have concerned themselves with either the early modern age or the post-World War I period, but women remain virtually absent from the diplomatic history of the long nineteenth century. To determine their place in the European political world of this period, this article examines the experiences of four Russian diplomats’ wives. The biographical approach reveals contradictions in patriarchal discourse: it required a diplomat's wife to be worthy of her role as a representative of the Russian Empire, yet effectively dismissed her from politics. From this another contradiction ensued: as a diplomat's wife played no political role, the ministry turned a blind eye if her actions challenged traditional social and gender norms, even when such actions led to the neglect of her duties as her husband's helpmeet.

Free access

Editor's Introduction

Sharon A. Kowalsky

As I prepare this volume's introduction, we are well into the third month of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The Aspasia editorial board joins the leaders of multiple scholarly organizations around the world in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin's devastating attack not only on the Ukrainian people and their culture, but also on the very principles of national self-determination. As historians of and in the region, we particularly condemn the misinterpretations, distortions, and simplifications of Russian and Ukrainian history in the context of the current conflict. Such misinformation actively undermines open dialogue, democracy, and democratic regimes everywhere. In addition, we are deeply troubled by the growing militarization of our region that this war has legitimized. As women's and gender historians, we understand the consequences that ensue when military values and practices overshadow civilian ones, and the implications that result from propaganda, censorship, and the militarizing of society, particularly regarding violence toward women. We are also only just beginning to conceive of the long-term implications of the war in Ukraine for scholars and scholarship in our region. Beyond concerns for the immediate personal safety of individual scholars and colleagues, we are facing the probable destruction and loss of significant Ukrainian archival and other sources on all aspects of Ukrainian history. The probable impact on future research in our field is catastrophic and will require us to reconsider our research priorities, goals, and methods. At the same time, the war has added urgency to a growing recognition of the need to “decolonize” scholarship and to confront ethnocentrism—to move away from a traditionally Russocentric focus, to better recognize the complexities of the historical experiences in the region, and to place such experiences in their broader historical contexts, offering a more complete, nuanced, and holistic analysis to undermine simplistic, nationalistic, and distorted narratives. As the war in Ukraine amplifies calls for such a reorientation for the field, these shifts reinforce and complement the mission of Aspasia as a forum for the multiplicity of voices that speak in and about the region, on all topics related to women's and gender history.

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Editors’ Note

Oded Haklai and Adia Mendelson-Maoz

We are pleased to introduce the second issue of 2022. Several of the articles in this issue are marked by their policy relevance. The article by Arie Krampf, Uri Ansenberg, and Barak Zur examines the role played by the Labor Party government between 1992 and 1996 to guide Israel onto a neoliberal economic path. The authors coin the term “embedded neoliberalism” to explain the interaction between pro-market and anti-market influences, yielding a peculiar type of neoliberal order in Israel. Examining social work education of Palestinian female students in Israel, the article by Haneen Elias and Ronit Reuven Even-Zahav identifies the significance of context-informed education that integrates the intersectional position of Palestinian students. Finally, Erez Cohen's article identifies incompatibilities between existing public policy pertaining to post-retirement employment and the real-life needs of elderly people, suggesting a need for reform.

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Empathy and Personal Distress toward Outgroup Members, Attachment, and Traumatic National Narrative

A Comprehensive Model of Israeli Students

Sarit Alkalay, Anat Itzhak-Fishman, and Ohad Marcus

Abstract

This study investigates empathy toward Israeli Arabs among Jewish students in Israel. Our model shows that elevated levels of attachment-related anxiety are associated with greater personal distress elicited by Arab suffering. Perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic had a negative effect on empathy toward Arabs, while attachment-related anxiety and perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic were positively linked and empathy and personal distress toward Arabs were positively linked. Political views mediated the link between perceptions of the national narrative as traumatic and empathy toward Arabs. We propose that diminishing the traumatic intensity of the Jewish national narrative may serve to increase intergroup empathy.