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Crossing Boundaries

The Case of Wanda Wasilewska and Polish Communism

Agnieszka Mrozik

Abstract

The article sketches “a personal genealogy” of Wanda Wasilewska (1905-1964): a writer, a devoted communist, and head of Związek Patriotów Polskich (Union of Polish Patriots) in the USSR during World War II. Referring to Michel Foucault’s lectures on “revolution which becomes an existential project,” the author frames Wasilewska neither as a communist icon nor as a symbol of national betrayal, but instead as a living human being, a social actor, a person strongly embedded in the historical and geopolitical context of her era. The author reconstructs the process of shaping the communist identity in prewar Poland, points to the moments of transgressing subsequent boundaries—gender, national, and class—and uncovers a gradual exploring of the limits of the communist transgression by the protagonist.

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Raili Marling

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Gendered Images and Soviet Subjects

How the Komsomol Archive Enriched My Understanding of Gender in Soviet War Culture

Adrienne M. Harris

Abstract

In this article, I detail how archival finds helped me develop questions on World War II martyr heroes and their role in Soviet culture and Russian collective memory. I consider how one might approach silences, read discrepancies in archival holdings, and extrapolate meaning from various kinds of documents. Considering that the Russian State Archive of Sociopolitical History Komsomol archive allows one to study the evolution of gender via the continuous reshaping of feminine and masculine ideals for Soviet youth, I discuss how the archive might open up new research areas and prompt additional questions for gender historians, and lead one to reconsider power and authority in the Soviet past.

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“Home Is Home No Longer”

Political Struggle in the Domestic Sphere in Postarmistice Hungary, 1919-1922

Emily R. Gioielli

Abstract

This article analyzes the social history of the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary struggles in postarmistice Hungary as they played out in the Hungarian domestic sphere. Using court cases and statements made to legal aid bureaus in Budapest, it examines how elites and the middle class reasserted their social and political power by using legal channels and the threat of denunciation to seek revenge and retribution on domestic employees and neighbors. It also explores how revolutionary and counterrevolutionary politics affected conflicts over housing in Budapest. By exploring the gendered nature of transitional and retroactive justice in counterrevolutionary Hungary, this article shows the blurring of the line between personal and political violence.It also demonstrates that women played an important role in counterrevolutionary politics by assisting state efforts to reassert traditional social and political hierarchies in the domestic sphere.

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Migration, Empire, and Liminality

Sex Trade in the Borderlands of Europe

Tracie L. Wilson

Abstract

In this article I analyze accounts from police and women’s activist documents from the turn of the twentieth century, which present narratives of sex trafficking in and from Galicia, an eastern borderland region of the Habsburg Empire. Both police and activist accounts underscore the image of innocent women forced into prostitution, although police accounts provide more variety and nuance regarding degrees of coercion and agency demonstrated by women. I examine what such narratives reveal about the role of crossing boundaries—an act central to both sex trafficking and efforts to maintain empire. In this context, I consider how the Habsburg authorities coped with and attempted to manage populations whose mobility appeared especially problematic. Although this research draws extensively from historical archives, my analysis is guided by perspectives from folklore studies and the anthropological concept of liminality.

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Women and Gender in Europe from 1939 to the Present

Challenging and Reassessing the Narrative

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

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Johanna Gehmacher, Svetla Baloutzova, Orlin Sabev, Nezihe Bilhan, Tsvetelin Stepanov, Evgenia Kalinova, Zorana Antonijevic, Alexandra Ghit, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Ana Luleva, Barbara Klich-Kluczewska, Courtney Doucette, Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz, Valentina Mitkova, Vjollca Krasniqi, Pepka Boyadjieva, Marina Hughson, and Rayna Gavrilova

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Francisca de Haan

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Monika Rudaś-Grodzka, Katarzyna Nadana-Sokołowska, Anna Borgos, and Dorottya Rédai