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Picturing Politics

Female Political Leaders in France and Norway

Anne Krogstad and Aagoth Storvik

This article explores images of high-level female politicians in France and Norway from 1980 to 2010, examining the ways in which they present themselves to the media and their subsequent reception by journalists. Women in French politics experience difficulties living up to a masculine heroic leadership ideal historically marked by drama, conquest, and seductiveness. In contrast, Norwegian female politicians have challenged the traditional leadership ethos of conspicuous modesty and low-key presentation. We argue that images of French and Norwegian politicians in the media are not only national constructions; they are also gendered. Seven images of women in politics are discussed: (1) men in skirts and ladies of stone, (2) seductresses, (3) different types of mothers, (4) heroines of the past, (5) women in red, (6) glamorous women, and (7) women using ironic femininity. The last three images-color, glamour, and irony-are identified as new strategies female politicians use to accentuate their positions of power with signs of female sensuality. It is thus possible for female politicians to show signs of feminine sensuality and still avoid negative gender stereotyping.

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Redefining the Engagé

Intellectual Identity in Fin de Siècle France

Sarah Shurts

There is a tendency to see the history of intellectual engagement during the Dreyfus Affair as a study of the Dreyfusard Left. However, this approach marginalizes the existence of self-proclaimed intellectuals of the anti-Dreyfusard Right and diminishes our appreciation of the complexity of the debates. This article explores the efforts of self-proclaimed anti-Dreyfusard intellectuals, such as Maurice Barrès, to claim the title of intellectual, redefine intellectual responsibility according to right-wing values, and reconstruct intellectual collective identity around their own social and cultural experience.

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“Sad Era, Villainous Affair“

The Dreyfus Affair in the Notebooks of Henri Vever

Willa Z. Silverman

This article analyzes representations of the Dreyfus Affair in the private diaries written between 1898 and 1901 by Henri Vever, a prominent Art Nouveau jeweler, art collector, and small-town mayor. The important place accorded the Affair in these “ordinary writings“ by an individual with no direct engagement in it offers an opportunity to assess how historical events become enmeshed with private life, mentalités, and sociability. Further, Vever's notebooks reveal position taking during the Affair as a complex phenomenon, in Vever's case influenced by circumstances encompassing his identity as both a native of Lorraine, marked by France's defeat in 1870, and a Republican notable and Parisian businessman. While Vever's notebooks corroborate some standard themes of Dreyfus Affair historiography, including the importance of the press and the eclipsing of the Affair by the 1900 World's Fair, they also nuance the idea of a rigid ideological division between Dreyfusards and anti-Dreyfusards.

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The Women of the Pavillons

A Case Study

W. Brian Newsome

This article investigates the experiences of French women in communities of single-family homes by analyzing Villagexpo, a model subdivision built in the Paris suburb of Saint-Michel-sur-Orge in 1966. Drawing on archival resources and recent interviews with original inhabitants, the article argues that the “village“ model of Villagexpo attracted a nucleus of couples with deep roots in associational movements. Committed to the concept of village life, they facilitated social activity in the subdivision, helping female residents overcome a sense of isolation. The article modifies previous, and largely negative, depictions of the experiences of women in communities of single-family homes and places Villagexpo in the context of broader urban trends.

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Active History

Vijay Prashad

In 2011 the editors of the Canada-based journal Left History ran a special issue on “Active History.“ Jim Clifford of York University pointed out that one aspect of the active history project “is for historians to work with and share authority with the community whose history they study.“ This is not quite the same as activist history, nor is it a project that simply suggests that history matters. The tenor is to see if academic historians could find ways to engage with social movements. I am greatly sympathetic to this project, and would like to reflect on its implications. But I am also aware that in some areas of social life, movements do not exist. What is the capacity of an historian to work “actively“ with the currents of our time, and what are its implications for institutional careers and intellectual trajectories?

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History and Ordinary Womanhood

Teresa Barnes

Contemporary social history is premised on the idea of writing histories of ordinary people. This article reflects critically on the concept of “ordinariness“ as facilitated by the author's brief moment of personal fame and her professional experiences of learning and writing about women's and gender history in and of southern Africa. These perspectives then informed her attempts to write and publish a story of the brief encounter in the late 1930s between a member of her family and the brilliant African-American writer, Richard Wright. The article explores the parameters and definitions of “ordinariness“ in African and American history.

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Memory, History, and Ego-Histoire

Narrating and Re-enacting the Australian Freedom Ride

Ann Curthoys

This article explores the intersections between history, memoir, and collective memory. It re ects on my experience of writing, as both historian and former participant, about the 1965 Australian Freedom Ride, which protested racial discrimination against Aboriginal people. It also traces the ways in which memory of and discourse about that event has changed over time: how it was and is remembered and understood, and the di erent uses made of the event by Aboriginal people, educators, and historians.

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Open Secrets, Off the Record

Audience, Intimate Knowledge, and the Crisis of the Post-Apartheid State

Jon Soske

This article reflects on the ways that individuals, communities, and political organizations sometimes invest in an understanding of history based on their lived experiences or, to borrow a term from Hugh Raffles, their “intimate knowledge.“ Debates regarding the practice of public history often begin with the question of how historians can—or should—address the abstract figure of “the public.“ In contrast, this article discusses how individuals and communities with political, emotional, and ideological commitments to a particular historical narrative emerge as an audience through their decision to engage, or sometimes not to engage, with the historian's research and publications. Drawing on my own research into the life of a South African anti-apartheid activist, Dr. Abu Baker “Hurley“ Asvat, this article also analyzes how contemporary struggles for historical visibility not only shape the terrain and process of academic research, but can also draw the historian's practice of writing into a broader landscape of discursive and political battles over the past.

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History Writing as a Public Calling

Antoinette Burton

This introductory article raises questions about history's work in the contemporary public sphere and sets the stage for the issues addressed in the special issue as a whole. Drawing on my experience at a public university in fiscal crisis, I argue that historians can and should contribute to debates about the future of higher education, the role of the humanities in the twenty-first-century liberal arts curriculum, and the fate of intellectual work in a global world.

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Shona Kelly Wray, 1963-2012, beloved colleague, friend, and member of the Historical Reflections/ Réflexions Historiques Editorial Board

Linda E. Mitchell

In Memoriam Shona Kelly Wray, 1963-2012