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Masculinity on Stage

Dueling in the Greek Capital, 1870–1918

Dimitra Vassiliadou

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.”

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"Maternal Impressions"

Disability Memoirs in Socialist Poland

Natalia Pamula

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.

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Medical Ethnography over Time

Penetrating “the fog of health” in a Nigerian community, 1970–2017

Murray Last

Too often, research into the health of a particular community is brief and superficial, focusing only on what is public and leaving the private health of women and children ‘foggy’. By contrast, long-term anthropology can offer access to processes taking place within a local culture of illness. Here, an account of a community’s experience of health over the past 50 years not only outlines the key changes as seen anthropologically but also shows how even close ethnography can initially miss important data. Furthermore, the impact of a researcher – both as a guest and as a source of interference – underlines how complex fieldwork can be in reality, especially if seen through the eyes of the researcher’s hosts.

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Maria Bucur

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, Cumintea 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/.

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Elaine MacKinnon

This article analyzes the Gulag memoirs of four women political prisoners—Olga Adamova-Sliozberg, Liudmila Miklashevskaya, Nadezhda Joffe, and Valentina Grigorievna levleva-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.

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Melissa Feinberg

Maria Bucur, Gendering Modernism: A Historical Reappraisal of the Canon, London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017, xi + 149 pp., $24.95 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-3500-2625-4.

Maria Bucur, The Century of Women: How Women Have Transformed the World Since 1900, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2018, x + 232 pp., $35.00 (paperback), ISBN: 978-1-4422-5739-9.

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Valentina Mitkova

Milena Kirova, ed., Mara Belcheva: Poezia (Mara Belcheva: Poetry), Volume 1, Sofia: Kibea, 2018, 268 pp., BGN 17 (paperback), ISBN 978-954-474-728-2.

Milena Kirova, ed., Mara Belcheva: Proza i prevodi (Mara Belcheva: Prose and translations), Volume 2, Sofia: Kibea, 2018, 350 pp., BGN 19 (paperback), ISBN 978-954-474-729-9.

Vanya Georgieva, Ekaterina Karavelova—Lora Karavelova: Kulturnoistoricheskiat sjuzhet “maiki-dushteri” v bulgarski context (Ekaterina Karavelova—Lora Karavelova: The cultural-historical subject “mothers-and-daughters” in the Bulgarian context), Sofia: Iztok-Zapad, 2017, 543 pp., BGN 25 (paperback), ISBN 978-619-01-0073-7.

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On Vertical Alliances, ‘Perfidious Albion’ and the Security Paradigm

Reflections on the Balfour Declaration Centennial and the Winding Road to Israeli Independence

Arie M. Dubnov

Revisiting the Balfour Declaration, this article offers a threefold argument: first, challenging those who read the Declaration as symbolizing a new dawn of Jewish political history, the article proposes an alternative reading that considers it as a continuation of familiar patterns of Jewish political behaviour based on the forging of ‘vertical alliances’. Second, it argues that this perspective led many Jews to treat the Declaration as an unsigned ‘contract’, and it was not until the 1940s, with the rise in popularity of a discourse concerning Britain’s ‘betrayal’, that this view began to be challenged. Third, explaining how and why the vertical alliance perspective was pushed to the margins of Israeli collective memory, the article looks at the rise of the ‘security paradigm’ in Hebrew literature and examines the ways in which the creation of a Jewish army was imagined as marking the end of old forms of Jewish politics.

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The politics of affect

Perspectives on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism in the West

Sindre Bangstad, Bjørn Enge Bertelsen and Heiko Henkel

This article is based on the transcript of a roundtable on the rise of the far-right and right-wing populism held at the AAA Annual Meeting in 2017. The contributors explore this rise in the context of the role of affect in politics, rising socio-economic inequalities, racism and neoliberalism, and with reference to their own ethnographic research on these phenomena in Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the UK and Hungary.

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As the Editors’ Note to this inaugural 2019 issue has noted, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC approaches this new year with optimism. However, as 2018 came to a close, RISC suffered an immeasurable loss, which we wish to acknowledge here. Professor Robert VH Dover of the Instituto de Estudios Regionales (INER) at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, Colombia, passed away in December, leaving holes in both the consortium’s leadership and the hearts of its members.