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Open access

Jafta Masemola's Master Key

Experimental Notes on Azanian Aesthetic Theory

Athi Mongezeleli Joja

Abstract

Jafta Kgalabi Masemola is the longest serving (1963–1989) anti-apartheid political prisoner in South Africa's notorious Robben Island. Although Masemola is well known in the struggle narratives, not much has been written about him and his practices as a political organiser beyond biographical and anecdotal narratives. This article considers, with a certain degree of detail, an even more unthought aspect of Masemola's life, his creative productions; in particular, the aesthetic logic that underwrites the master key that he cloned from a bar of soap while jailed in Robben Island. Looking from the vantage point of aesthetic and critical discourse, the article attempts to open up new vistas and interests in Azanian cultural praxis.

Open access

Tsenay Serequeberhan

Abstract

The focus of the article is to explore the possibilities of philosophic discourse in the present postcolonial African situation. As indicated in the title, it will begin by exploring and laying out grosso modo, the character of philosophy as a discipline. It will then engage in examining, again broadly, Africa's present: the situation that has prevailed since the end of formal colonialism. Consequent on the two expositive presentations, the article will then indicate the role that philosophy can and should play in this situation. The aim is to explore the possible beyond the demise of colonialism in the hope of catching sight of a truly postcolonial future. The article is thus a concise articulation of the hermeneutical stance in contemporary African philosophy.

Open access

Anjuli Webster

Abstract

This article discusses the contemporary history of South African social science in relation to the Azanian Philosophical Tradition. It is addressed directly to white scholars, urging introspection with regard to the ethical question of epistemic justice in relation to the evolution of the social sciences in conqueror South Africa. I consider the establishment of the professional social sciences at South African universities in the early twentieth century as a central part of the epistemic project of conqueror South Africa. In contrast, the Azanian Philosophical Tradition is rooted in African philosophy and articulated in resistance against the injustice of conquest and colonialism in southern Africa since the seventeenth century. It understands conquest as the fundamental historical antagonism shaping the philosophical, political, and material problem of ‘South Africa’. The tradition is silenced by and exceeds the political and epistemic strictures of the settler colonial nation state and social science.

Open access

Behind Closed Doors?

The Private Lives of the Minor Communist Party Activists in Romania, 1945–1960

Cristina Diac

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between men, spousal violence, and politics in Romania in the 1950s and aims to analyze how the Romanian Communist Party (RCP), as an institution, dealt with spousal violence perpetrated by its officials. The RCP was a significant player within state socialist regime. Thus, the way the Party managed the discussed cases of spousal violence gives an idea about how gender relations functioned in reality, beyond the official discourse and the letter of the law. This article argues that spousal violence was the result of inequality within the family and a manifestation of patriarchy and male dominance. This analysis draws on files from the archive of the Committee of Party Control of the Central Committee of the RCP, which contains cases of Party members with a history of spousal violence.

Open access

Kristen Ghodsee, Hülya Adak, Elsa Stéphan, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Ivan Stankov, Rumiana Stoilova, Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Mara Lazda, Adrienne Harris, Ayşe Durakbaşa, Lex Heerma van Voss, Lejila Mušić, Zdeňka Kalnická, Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska, Evguenia Davidova, Tsoneva Tsoneva, Georgi Medarov, and Irina Genova

Anna Artwinska and Agnieszka Mrozik, eds., Gender, Generations, and Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and Beyond, New York: Routledge, 2020, 352 pp., £120.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-0-36742-323-0.

CLIO: Femmes, Genre, Histoire 48, no. 2, “Genre et espace (post-)ottoman” (Gendering the [post-]Ottoman world), Paris: Editions Belin/Humensis, 2018, 328 pp., €21.00 (paperback), ISBN: 97-2-410-01429-7.

Lisa Greenwald, Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019, 426 pp., $64.50 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-496-20755-5.

Gal Kirn, The Partisan Counter-Archive: Retracing the Ruptures of Art and Memory in the Yugoslav People's Liberation Struggle, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020, 309 pp., 43 illustrations, €86.95 (hardback), ISBN: 9783110681390.

Milena Kirova, Performing Masculinity in the Hebrew Bible, Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2020, 212 pp., €75.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-1-910928-77-6.

Andrea Krizsan and and Conny Roggeband, eds., Gendering Democratic Backsliding in Central and Eastern Europe: A Comparative Agenda, Budapest: CEU Press, CPS, 2019, 221 pp., price not listed (ebook), ISBN 978-615-5547-07-2.

Ludmila Miklashevskaya, Gender and Survival in Soviet Russia: A Life in the Shadow of Stalin's Terror, translated and edited by Elaine MacKinnon, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, 267 pp., $115.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-3501-3920-6.

Barbara Molony and Jennifer Nelson, eds., Women's Activism and “Second Wave” Feminism: Transnational Histories. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017, 344 pp., £90.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-4411-3160-7; 2020, 335 pages, £26.99 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-3501-2770-8.

Nina Konstantinovna Petrova, ed. Zhenskie sud'by voiny (Women's war fates), Moscow: Veche, 2019, 600 pp., P- 655.00 (hardback), ISBN 978-5-4484-0954-7.

Feryal Saygılıgil and Nacide Berber, eds. Feminizm: Modern Türkiye'de Siyasi Düşünce, Cilt 10 (Feminism: Thought in modern Turkey, vol. 10), Istanbul: İletişim Yayıncılık A.Ş., 2020; 880 pp., with an extensive bibliography, Index, and annexed section of selected primary texts, 789–880; 71.50 (hardback), ISBN: 978-975-05-0003-9.

Marsha Siefert, ed., Labor in State-Socialist Europe, 1945–1989: Contributions to a History of Work, Work and Labor: Transdisciplinary Studies for the 21st Century, vol. 1, Budapest: CEU Press, 2020, xv +466 pp., $105.00 / €90.00 / £85.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-963-386-337-4.

Zilka Šiljak Spahić, Sociologija roda: Feministička kritika (Sociology of gender: Feminist critique), Sarajevo: TPO Fondacija, 2019, 274 pp., €10.00 (paperback), ISBN: 978-9926-422-17-2.

Věra Sokolová and Ľubica Kobová, eds., Odvaha nesouhlasit: Feministické myšlení Hany Havelkové a jeho reflexe (The courage to disagree: Hana Havelková's feminist thought and its reflections), Prague: Charles University, Faculty of Humanities, 2019, 605 pp., price not listed (paperback), ISBN: 978-80-7571-038-3.

Katarzyna Stańczak-Wiślicz, Piotr Perkowski, Małgorzata Fidelis, Barbara Klich-Kluczewska, Kobiety w Polsce, 1945–1989: Nowoczesność, równouprawnienie, komunizm (Women in Poland, 1945–1989: Modernity, equality, communism), Cracow: Universitas, 2020, 520 pp., 49.00 zł, ISBN: 978-83-242-3630-5; 29.00 zł (e-book), ISBN: 978-83-242-6504-6.

Vassiliki Theodorou and Despina Karakatsani, Strengthening Young Bodies, Building the Nation: A Social History of the Child Health and Welfare in Greece (1890–1940), Budapest: Central European University Press, 2019, 374 pp., $95.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-963-386-278-0.

Maria Todorova, The Lost World of Socialists at Europe's Margins: Imagining Utopia, 1870s–1920s, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020, 384 pp., $115.00 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-350-15033-1.

Jessica Zychowicz, Superfluous Women: Art, Feminism, and Revolution in Twenty-First-Century Ukraine, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2020, 420 pp., $63.75 (hardcover), ISBN: 978-1-4875-0168-6.

Open access

Comment: Socialism's Mal(e)contents

Masculinity as Performance Art in Postwar and Late Socialism

Marko Dumančić

Abstract

This article reflects on how the authors in this Special Forum collectively advance the work in the subfield of critical masculinity studies. The several significant themes emerging in this collection of articles include: persistent state intervention in gender relations, the impact of longstanding patriarchal norms, the rapidly changing postwar gender equilibrium, and the continuing significance of war and martial masculinity. Furthermore, the Special Forum illuminates the importance of micro-histories and ego-documents to the study of masculinities in Central and East Europe. Finally, by framing agency as a relational process affected by a variety of constraints, these authors’ work marks a productive forward movement for the future study of critical masculinity studies more generally.

Open access

Cosmonaut Gossip

Socialist Masculinity as Private-Public Performance in the Kamanin Diaries

Erica L. Fraser and Kateryna Tonkykh

Abstract

The diaries of Nikolai P. Kamanin, a well-placed official in the early Soviet space program in charge of cosmonaut selection and chaperoning, have been an important source for historians since their publication in the 1990s. This article reevaluates the diary entries from 1961 to 1965, using the framework of gossip. The diaries’ salacious tales of infidelity, drinking, and other violations of communist morality provide cultural historians with as much insightful material as the parallel technological entries have done for historians of science and space engineering. The cosmonaut gossip that Kamanin records comprised a mix of knowledge production and moralizing that built and reinforced his self-fashioning among the Soviet elite. Furthermore, reading the diaries (a private text) through the lens of gossip (a public act) helps us see how socialist masculinity was forged in part through the specific hybridized private-public performances required of elite men.

Open access

Sharon A Kowalsky

When Peter Hallama approached the Aspasia editorial board about publishing the proceedings of a conference he was organizing on Socialist Masculinities, we jumped at the opportunity. It seemed that Aspasia, as a journal of women's and gender history, would be the perfect venue to showcase the innovative and important historical scholarship being conducted on masculinities in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed his plans and necessitated holding a virtual conference, the results that make up the contents of this volume do not disappoint. As Hallama mentions in his Introduction to the Special Forum articles, and as Marko Dumančić highlights in his concluding Comments, the works included here reflect a deep engagement with the lived experiences of men, assessed through memoirs, diaries, photographs, newspapers, and internal party documents. These articles explore some of the many and shifting masculinities constructed throughout the region during the socialist period, showing that individuals and the state constantly engaged in their negotiation and renegotiation.

Open access

For the Father of a Newborn

Soviet Obstetrics and the Mobilization of Men as Medical Allies

Amy E. Randall

Abstract

This article introduces the translated pamphlet For the Father of a Newborn by contextualizing it in Soviet medical efforts to deploy men as allies in safeguarding reproduction and bolstering procreation in the 1960s and 1970s. It examines the pamphlet as an illustration of how doctors and other health personnel tried to educate men to protect their wives’ pregnancy and the health of their wives and newborns in the postpartum period, and it considers the implications of these initiatives for women's bodies, gender norms, sexual practices, models of masculinity, and the socialist goal of promoting women's equality.

Open access

From Don Juan to Comrade Ivan

Educating the Young Men of the Urals for Love and Marriage, 1953–1964

Brendan McElmeel

Abstract

This article examines discussions of love and marriage in a regional newspaper of the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) in the central Urals region. Although framed around the intention to communicate official communist morality and ideals about the family, these discussions included stories and readers’ letters that expressed a range of views that could both draw on and challenge Party ideals. While scholarship has emphasized the conservative elements of communist morality and the lack of support for men in the domestic sphere, these sources point to an understanding of love as central to a man's life and comradely partnership as fundamental to Soviet marriage.