As we begin Volume 13, Aspasia would like to take this opportunity to congratulate several of our contributors. First, congratulations to Rochelle Ruthchild on her receipt of the Association of Women in Slavic Studies Outstanding Achievement Award (see the citation “In Recognition: Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild” following this introduction). In addition, Emily Gioielli's article, “‘Home Is Home No Longer’: Political Struggle in the Domestic Sphere in Postarmistice Hungary, 1919–1922,” which appeared in Volume 11 (2017), received an honorable mention for the 2018 Mark Pittaway Article Prize in Hungarian Studies by the Hungarian Studies Association. Aspasia is pleased to extend its congratulations to Rochelle and Emily.
Sharon A. Kowalsky
Marija Bulatović and Višnja Krstić
Jelena J. Dimitrijević, Sedam mora i tri okeana: Putem oko sveta (Seven seas and three oceans: Traveling around the globe), edited by Biljana Dojčinović, Belgrade: Laguna, 2016, 445 pp., price not listed (paperback), ISBN 978-86-521-2306-3.
Jelena J. Dimitrijević, Pisma iz Indije (Letters from India), second edition, edited by Ana Stjelja, English translation by Željko V. Mitić, Hindi translation by Latika Chawda, Belgrade: A. Stjelja, 2017, 106 pp., price not listed (paperback), ISBN 978-86-918903-6-0.
Slobodanka Peković, Časopisi po meri dostojanstvenog ženskinja: Ženski časopisi na početku 20. veka (Journals suited for respectable women: Women's journals from the early twentieth century), Novi Sad-Beograd: Matica srpska, Institut za književnost i umetnost, 2015, 378 pp., RSD 550 (paperback), ISBN 978-86-7946-154-4.
Stanislava Barać, Feministička kontrajavnost: Žanr ženskog portreta u srpskoj periodici 1920–1941 (The feminist counterpublic: A genre of woman's portrait in the Serbian periodical press from 1920 to 1941), Beograd: Institut za književnost i umetnost, 2015, 436 pp., RSD 1100 (paperback), ISBN 978-86-7095-224-9.
Sex, Gender, and Emotions among Polish Displaced Person in the Aftermath of World War II
This article investigates the experiences of Polish Displaced Persons (DPs) through the lens of sexuality, analyzing their perceptions of liberation and life in DP camps in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria (1945–1951). It draws on a wide array of sources, including archival material, memoirs, and letters. Employing Mikhail Bakhtin's concepts of carnival and the carnivalesque, it argues that the dynamics of DPs’ sexual and romantic encounters, analyzed as emotional experiences, can be characterized as having a carnivalesque structure of oppression, eruption, and normalization. It demonstrates how the eruption of sexuality (including sexual violence) was connected to the wider problems Poles faced, including feelings of emasculation, war trauma, and the challenges of rebuilding a community in exile. Polish elites, acting mostly within a Catholic conservative register, boosted normalization by combatting perceived “immorality” and promoting family values. To this end, they cooperated with international organizations and the Allied military in an attempt to contain venereal disease, prostitution, and abortion. Many of these efforts focused on policing women's bodies and regulating their sexuality, as a part of rebuilding the nation after the hecatomb of war.
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
It is with great pleasure that Aspasia offers its congratulations to Dr. Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, the 2018 recipient of the Association for Women in Slavic Studies’ Outstanding Achievement Award. A historian of the Russian woman suffrage movement, Dr. Ruthchild played a foundational role in the development of women's history within Russian and Eastern European studies. She helped to establish the Association of Women in Slavic Studies (AWSS) in 1988, serving as its first president. She also contributed to the inaugural volume of Aspasia in 2007, and has served as an editor of this journal for over a decade. She is an exemplary scholar, a champion of women's studies and women's achievements, as well as a mentor to colleagues and students in the United States and abroad.
The Case of Thaleia Flora-Caravia's Photographic Images and Self-Portraits
There is a recent trend, mainly in the field of historiography but also in art history, toward the exploration of female autobiographical discourse, whether it concerns written (autobiographies, correspondence), painted (self-portraits), or photographic data. On the basis of the highly fruitful gender perspective, this article seeks to present and interpret the numerous photographs of the well-known Greek painter Thaleia Flora-Caravia. These photographic recordings, taken almost exclusively from the painter's unpublished personal archive, are inextricably linked to the artist's self-portraits. This kind of cross-examination allows the reader to become familiar with the mosaic of roles and identities that constitutes the subjectivity of female artists in Greece in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Dueling in the Greek Capital, 1870–1918
Based on some forty duels that took place in Athens between 1870 and 1918, this article examines the different connotations middle-class dueling assumed in the political culture of the period. Drawing on newspaper articles, monographs, domestic codes of honor, legal texts, and published memoirs of duelists, it reveals the diversified character of male honor as value and emotion. Approaching dueling both as symbol and practice, the article argues that this ritualistic battle was imported to Greece against a background of fin de siècle political instability and passionate calls for territorial expansion and national integration. The duel gradually became a powerful way of influencing public opinion and the field of honor evolved into a theatrical stage for masculinity, emanating a distinct glamor: the glamor of a public figure who was prepared to lay down his life for his principles, his party, the proclamations he endorsed, and his “name.”
Disability Memoirs in Socialist Poland
This article discusses disability memoirs written by mothers of disabled sons during state socialism in Poland. It recovers an often forgotten experience of living socialism as a mother of a disabled child and analyzes disability as a category of difference that, unlike gender or class, was not reordered by the socialist state. It argues that disability reconfigured motherhood as a political institution under state socialism and shows that a child's disability permitted women to become politically disobedient subjects. Disability allowed women who were responsible for their children's overcoming disability to make demands on the state and criticize it for the lack of sufficient accommodations and resources. At the same time, the article highlights the violence embedded in the relationship between a disabled son and his mother.
Over the past half decade, philosopher and political scientist Mihaela Miroiu published a series of short autobiographical stories that were eventually collected in a book, Cu mintea mea de femeie [With my woman's mind] (Bucharest: Cartea românească, 2017), which was reviewed in Aspasia (vol. 12) in 2018. While the whole volume deserves an international audience, I have selected the story “Medusa's Smirk,” for translation because it sheds light on a topic little known, yet extremely important, in the lives of many women: sexual violence. Discussing sexual violence was a taboo topic under communism, and many women suppressed their traumatic memories of violence both seen and experienced. Yet accounts such as the one shared below have circulated orally and deserve further attention from scholars. For another relevant account, see http://www.publicseminar.org/2017/12/sex-in-the-time-of-communism/.
This article analyzes the Gulag memoirs of four women political prisoners—Olga Adamova-Sliozberg, Liudmila Miklashevskaya, Nadezhda Joffe, and Valentina Grigorievna Ievleva-Pavlenko—to examine the interplay of motherhood and survival. Each was a mother of small children sentenced to forced labor camps in the northern polar regions of the Soviet Union. Motherhood played a complex role in their survival. The rupture in family relations, particularly the separation from their children, magnified the psychological and emotional stress of their incarceration. Yet, being a mother in the camps provided a compelling motivation to stay alive. It helped them to sustain a sense of normalcy by connecting them to their former lives and to the family unit that represented stability and sustenance amid the bleakness of their Gulag existence.