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Report on the International Women's Congress, 17 December 1948

(Jelentés a Nemzetközi Nőkongresszusról, 1948. December 17)

Éva Cserháti

Source translated and discussed: Report on the International Women’s Congress (Jelentés a Nemzetközi Nőkongresszusról), discussed by the Organizing Committee of the Magyar Dolgozók Pártja (Hungarian Working People’s Party, MDP) on 17 December 1948, National Archives of Hungary (Magyar Országos Levéltár, MOL), Documents of the MDP and the MSzMP, section M-KS, fond 276, group 55, unit 49, pp 20–24, typed.1

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Rural Women, Gender Ideologies, and Industrialization in State Socialism

The Case of a Polish Factory in the 1950s

Natalia Jarska

This article focuses on gender relations and industrialization in the Stalinist and post-Stalinist period in Poland. Taking the example of a newly built metal factory in Kraśnik and its female workers, it shows the importance of local conditions for the process of the “productivization” of women. The article argues that in rural areas the access of women to the factory generated less conflict than in the urban milieu. The plant employed a great number of female workers in nearly every position—not as a result of any special “productivization” policy, but because women sought to work there. Women in Kraśnik did not see a conflict between their identities as women and wage work, including that in occupations traditionally dominated by men. In the course of de-Stalinization, the gender division of work became more important in shaping the employment policy of the factory. This article demonstrates how gender ideologies specific to peasant and workers' culture interacted in the process of industrialization.

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Secret Years

Hungarian Lesbian Herstory, 1950s–2000s

Anna Borgos

The article explores the personal narratives of middle-aged and elderly Hungarian lesbian women based on oral history interviews. The stories open a window into the Kádár era from a special perspective, allowing us to get a glimpse into the women's self-recognition and coming out process; their different (sexual, professional or maternal) identities, relationships, informal social scenes, and communities; their thinking about gender roles, as well as the available representations of lesbians over the decades. The women also discuss the freedom and greater visibility—as complex as it was—that came after the democratic transition. The article contributes more detailed knowledge about the situation of LGBT people in the region during the state socialist period and around the 1989 regime change.

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Sexing Twentieth-Century European History

Jill Massino

Dagmar Herzog, Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 238 pp., $28.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-52169-143-7.

Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 239 pp., $29.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-2172-761-7.

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The Tensions within the Early Twentieth-Century Bulgarian Women's Movement

Krassimira Daskalova and Karen Offen

Sources translated and discussed: Vela Blagoeva, “Klasovo suznanie i feminism” (Class consciousness and feminism), Zhenski trud (Women’s labor) 1, no. 2 (1904–1905): 1–2; [Ana Karima], “Nie” (We), Ravnopravie (Equal rights) 1, no. 1 (November 1908): 1–2; [A. Karima], “Vnasiame li nie raztseplenie” (Do we divide the Union?) Ravnopravie 1, no. 3 (1908): 1–2.

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War, Memory, and Punishment in Russia

Two Heldt Prize Winners

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

Judith Pallot and Laura Piacentini, with the assistance of Dominique Moran, Gender, Geography, and Punishment: The Experience of Women in Carceral Russia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 290 pp., $99.00 (hb), ISBN 978-0-19965-861-9.

Karen Petrone, The Great War in Russian Memory, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011, 385 pp., $39.95 (hb), ISBN 978-0-25335-617-8.

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Writing Women's Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography

An International Symposium, 19–20 April 2014, Istanbul

Francisca de Haan

The Istanbul Women’s Library and Information Center Foundation, on occasion of its twenty-fourth anniversary, together with Yeditepe University organized the international symposium “Writing Women’s Lives: Auto/Biography, Life Narratives, Myths and Historiography,” which took place at Yeditepe University on 19–20 April 2014.

The symposium coordinators were Birsen Talay Keşoğlu, Vehbi Baysan, and Şefik Peksevgen, assisted by eleven more members of the Organizing Committee, including Aslı Davaz, director of the Istanbul Women’s Library.

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Book Reviews

Yulia Gradskova, Albena Hranova, Anastasia Falierou, Daniela Koleva, Birgit Sauer, Eleonora Naxidou, Sabine Rutar, Iris Rachamimov, Maryna Bazylevych, Timothy G. Ashplant, and Nadezhda Alexandrova

Elisabetta Addis, Paloma de Villota, Florence Degavre, and John Eriksen, eds., Gender and Well-Being: The Role of Institutions

Nadezhda Alexandrova, Robini, kukli I chelovetsi. Predstavi za zhenite vuv vuzrozhdenskata publitsistika i prozata na Ljuben Karavelov (Slaves, dolls, individuals: Representations of women in nineteenth-century Bulgarian periodicals, and in Ljuben Karavelov's fiction)

Efi Kanner, Emfiles Koinonikes Diekdikiseis apo tin Othomaniki Aftokratoria stin Ellada kai stin Tourkia: O kosmos mias ellinidas hristianis daskalas (Gender-based social demands from the Ottoman Empire to Greece and Turkey: The world of a Greek-Orthodox female teacher)

Krassimira Daskalova, Zheni, pol i modernizatsia v Bulgaria, 1878–1944 (Women, gender and modernization in Bulgaria, 1878–1944)

Krassimira Daskalova, Caroline Hornstein Tomic;, Karl Kaser, Filip Radunovic;, eds., Gendering Post-Socialist Transition: Studies of Changing Gender Perspectives

Evguenia Davidova, Balkan Transitions to Modernity and Nation-States: Through the Eyes of Three Generations of Merchants (1780s–1890s)

Daniela Koleva, ed., Negotiating Normality: Everyday Lives in Socialist Institutions

Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat: A History of Violence on the Eastern Front

Marian J. Rubchak, ed., Mapping Difference: The Many Faces of Women in Contemporary Ukraine

Ingrid Sharp and Matthew Stibbe, eds., Aftermaths of War: Women's Movements and Female Activists, 1918–1923

Mark David Wyers, “Wicked” Istanbul: The Regulation of Prostitution in the Early Turkish Republic

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Bytovukha

Family Violence in Soviet Russia

Marianna Muravyeva

The article gives a systematic assessment of legal attitudes toward family and domestic violence in Soviet Russia to examine whether the incidence of family violence remained as high as it was in the pre-revolutionary period, whether forms of family violence changed due to the new regime and new legal categories, and whether and how the new gender regime (i.e., the proclaimed equality of women and men) influenced the state of family violence in Soviet Russia. The analysis reveals that the Soviet state used the concepts of “hooliganism” and “family-domestic crimes” as the legal frameworks to deal with family violence while the concept of the “problem family” was employed to suggest prevention policies against domestic violence. The article also addresses the problem of continuity in social and criminal policies of Russia within the current application of “traditional values” and explains why this concept is consistent with the Soviet past.

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Communism, Consumerism, and Gender in Early Cold War Film

The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros

Rhiannon Dowling

This article deals with ideologies of domesticity, femininity, and consumerism as they were articulated in two films in the early Cold War. These films, shown in occupied Berlin from the spring of 1948 through the first few months of 1949, were Ernst Lubitsch's Hollywood classic Ninotchka (1939) and the Soviet film Russkiivopros (The Russian Question, 1948). They portrayed competing notions of domestic consumption and the “good life” in the aftermath of the Second World War—issues more commonly understood to have characterized the later, thaw-era, years of the conflict. Though they were shown at a time of heightened political and ideological tensions, neither painted a one-dimensional or demonized portrait of the enemy. Instead, both films employed narratives about the private lives and material desires of women in order to humanize their enemies and yet make a statement about the inhuman nature of the other system.