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Open access

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.

Open access

Feminisms and Politics in the Interwar Period

The Little Entente of Women (1923–1938)

Katerina Dalakoura

Abstract

The primary goals of the Little Entente of Women were to hammer out a common agenda and joint strategies for the promotion of women's demands in the respective countries, and to create favorable conditions for socioeconomic, cultural, and political cooperation among the member states. This article addresses the latter goal of the LEW, based on the position that its objectives were deeply political, interwoven with contemporary political challenges in the region, and intersected with the foreign affairs policies of the associated countries. To support this position, the article explores the historical and political circumstances at the foundation of the LEW, the entanglements of its feminist strategies with regional diplomacy and politics and, lastly, focusing on the “Greek case,” the relationship between the foreign policy of the Greek state and the political initiatives of the Greek LEW member.

Open access

Freedom, Autonomy, and (Inter)dependency

Feminist Dialogues and Republican Debates on Democracy

Ailynn Torres Santana

Abstract

This article starts from the analytical disconnection between feminisms and republicanism and investigates the potential of an academic and political conversation between them. The text takes up some of the intersections between feminism and republicanism over the past few decades and draws attention to the greater interest that has been verified recently. Furthermore, the article proposes spaces where potential conversation between feminism and republicanism can take place: examining the relationship between material dispossession, dependence, and freedom; across the public, private, and domestic spheres; and the implications of extending autonomy to consider bodily autonomy. It ends with a brief reference to political participation as a feminist and republican virtue. Finally, the article stresses the need to produce a republican feminist revival.

Open access

From Neo-Republicanism to Socialist Republicanism

Antonio Gramsci, the European Council Movements and the ‘Second Republican Revival’

Andreas Møller Mulvad and Benjamin Ask Popp-Madsen

Abstract

This article engages with socialist republicanism, which is preoccupied with extending freedom as non-domination, central to the neo-republican revival, from the political sphere of formal democracy to the economic sphere of capitalist production. Firstly, we discuss the transition from neo-republicanism to socialist republicanism. Secondly, we reconstruct the socialist republicanism of Antonio Gramsci, who was involved in the council movements in Turin in 1919–20. We argue that Gramsci applies the republican vocabulary of servitude to describe the capitalist workplace and analyse the workers’ councils as republican forms, allowing for popular self-determination in the economic sphere. Consequently, we contribute to the ongoing exploration of the historical, political, and conceptual affinities between republicanism and socialism and inscribe Gramsci as a key thinker in this endeavour.

Open access

Maria Bucur, Katerina Dalakoura, Krassimira Daskalova, and Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová

Abstract

This Forum introduces an innovative topic: the short but rich story of the local network of Eastern European feminists, the Little Entente of Women (LEW), which so far has attracted little attention among historians working on the region. The four authors present their analysis through the prism of entangled history. The introduction contextualizes the creation and activities of the LEW by providing background information about the post-World War I period, the tensions and struggles between the revisionist and antirevisionist states, and the entanglements between feminist and national goals and between nationalism and internationalism among women's movements and feminisms at the time.

Open access

It's Complicated

The History of Sexuality in Eastern Europe Flourishes

Maria Bucur

Kristen Ghodsee, Why Women Have Better Sex under Socialism: And Other Arguments for Economic Independence, New York: Hachette, 2018, 356 pp, $17.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781645036364;

Kateřina Lišková, Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Czechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945–1989, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018, 293 pp, $31.99 (paperback), ISBN 9781108341332;

Agnieszka Kościańska, Gender, Pleasure, and Violence: The Construction of Expert Knowledge of Sexuality in Poland, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2021, 268 pp, $42.00 (paperback), ISBN 9780253053091;

Agnieszka Kościańska, To See a Moose: The History of Polish Sex Education, New York: Berghahn, 2021, 354 pp, $145.00 (hardback), ISBN 9781800730601;

Anita Kurimay, Queer Budapest, 1871–1961, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2020, 336 pp, $32.50 (paperback), ISBN 9780226705798.

Open access

Jovanka Broz and the Yugoslav Popular Press during Tito's Reign

At the Crossroads of Tradition and Emancipation (1952–1980)

Iva Jelušić

Abstract

To gain insight into the desirable characteristics of the Yugoslav New Woman, this article focuses on the country's only first lady, Jovanka Broz. Considering her as the most visible embodiment of modern Yugoslav womanhood, it analyzes portrayals of the first lady in the Yugoslav popular press, considering the interplay of several factors, including her strategy of (self-)representation, but also ideology, the nature of the magazines, and the related expectations of the journalists. Her exceptional social position was variously interpreted. The article finds that the innovative characteristics of the figure of the Yugoslav New Woman were not intentionally utilized to make the first lady into the leading female comrade. Instead, a fusion of traditional and revolutionary interpretations located her at the crossroads of tradition and emancipation.

Open access

Maria Bucur

Abstract

The founding of the Little Entente of Women (LEW) in 1923 provided new opportunities for feminists from member and aspiring countries to work together toward common goals for women's rights in those states. As they forged transnational bridges and built friendships across borders, the feminists of the LEW articulated a vision of progress deeply rooted in ethno-nationalism and racialized rhetoric. In this article I reflect primarily on the verbal rhetoric and visual symbols used by representatives of these countries in the first two gatherings of the network. Their empathy seems to have extended predominantly to the ethnic majorities represented in the group. Even as they spoke for women in general as a category, many understood each other to be speaking on behalf of specific ethnic and racial groups. The narrowness of this vision undercut the effectiveness of the work the LEW undertook and the goals it aspired to achieve.

Open access

Krassimira Daskalova

Abstract

This article discusses some aspects of the interwar women's movements and feminist activities in Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular, taking as a starting point the creation of the regional feminist network called the Little Entente of Women (LEW). It shows that—despite the idea of “global sisterhood”—women's actions have always been conditioned by the agenda of male political elites. At the same time, the article highlights some entanglements of the feminist activities and initiatives that shattered the (fraternal) social contracts of nation states and, already before World War II, won certain aspects of citizenship rights for women throughout the region of Southeastern Europe.

Open access

Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni

Shannon Woodcock, Life is War: Surviving Dictatorship in Communist Albania, Tirana: HammerOnPress, 2016, 238 pp, $22 (paperback), ISBN 1910849030

Margo Rejmer, Mud Sweeter Than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania, translated by Zosia Krasodomska-Jones and Antonia Lloyd-Jones, London: MacLehose Press, 2021, 320 pp, £18.99 (hardback), ISBN 978-1529411461