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Introduction

Reading Primers and Political Change in European Countries around 1945

Wendelin Sroka and Simona Szakács-Behling

This introduction addresses the origins, general assumptions and intentions of the special issue. The guest editors show how reading primers published and used around the end of the Second World War in several European countries may serve as an object of study in different disciplinary contexts. They present a broad working definition of the reading primer as an educational medium that lends itself to interdisciplinary research which takes into account aspects such as visual and textual content, materiality, and societal contexts of production, distribution and usage. The editors further highlight characteristics of current research into primers and argue in favor of more comparative approaches that reveal transnational dimensions of textbooks designed to teach children how to read and write.

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Edith Kauffer and Carmen Maganda

English abstract: This note presents an account of transboundary basins on a global and regional scale throughout history. The authors introduce the special section on transboundary basins, presenting their constant increase and profound complexity. Regions & Cohesion has shown a permanent interest in this subject, from its first publications and, in particular, with the 2014 special issue that addressed different theoretical, methodological, and case studies in different continents. The three readings that make up this section address contemporary water border contexts and Mexico–U.S. policy where multi- and transdisciplinary challenges continue.

Spanish abstract: Esta nota presenta un recuento de las cuencas transfronterizas a escala global y regional a través de la historia. Las autoras introducen la sección especial de cuencas transfronterizas exponiendo su constante aumento y su profunda complejidad. La revista Regiones & Cohesión ha demostrado un interés permanente por este tema, desde sus primeras publicaciones y en particular con el número especial de 2014 que abordó distintas problemáticas teóricas, metodológicas y estudios de caso de cuencas transfronterizas en diferentes continentes. Las tres lecturas que componen esta sección abordan contextos contemporáneos de la frontera hídrica y política México-Estados Unidos donde el reto multi- y transdisciplinario continúa vigente.

French abstract: Cette présentation aborde les bassins versants transfrontaliers à l’échelle globale et régionale à travers l’histoire. Les auteures introduisent la section spéciale sur les bassins transfrontaliers en signalant leur constante augmentation et leur profonde complexité. La revue Regions & Cohesion a démontré un intérêt permanent pour ce thème depuis ses premières parutions en particulier avec la publication du numéro spécial de 2014 qui a evoqué diverses problématiques théoriques, méthodologiques et des études de cas dans différents continents. Les trois lectures qui composent cette section spéciale se centrent sur les contextes contemporains de la frontière hydrique et politique entre le Mexique et les États-Unis où le défímultidisciplinaire et pluridisciplinaire est toujours d’actualité.

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Ana B. Amaya and Philippe De Lombaerde

English abstract: This introduction to the special section explores the nexus between global health governance and international health diplomacy. In these dynamic governance spaces, particular attention is paid to the multi-level and multi-actor character of global health governance and how health diplomacy functions in such a complex context. It is pointed out that the regional level plays both vertical (i.e., as an intermediary between the global and national levels) and horizontal (i.e., interregional) roles. The contributions to the special section develop the conceptual understanding of those interactions and analyze a number of concrete cases, including the African Union, ASEAN, the European Union, SADC, and UNASUR.

Spanish abstract: Esta introducción a la sección especial explora el nexo entre la gobernanza global de la salud y la diplomacia internacional de la salud. En estos espacios dinámicos de gobernanza, se presta especial atención al carácter multi-nivel y multiactor de la gobernanza sanitaria mundial y al funcionamiento de la diplomacia sanitaria en un contexto tan complejo. Se señala que el nivel regional desempeña funciones verticales (es decir, como intermediario entre los niveles mundial y nacional) y horizontales (es decir, interregionales). Las contribuciones en la sección especial desarrollan la comprensión conceptual de esas interacciones, así como analizan una serie de casos concretos, incluyendo la Unión Africana, la ASEAN, la Unión Europea, la SADC y la UNASUR.

French abstract: Cette introduction à la section spéciale explore le lien entre la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et la diplomatie internationale de la santé. Dans ces espaces dynamiques de gouvernance, une attention particulière est accordée au caractère multi-niveaux et multi-acteurs de la gouvernance mondiale de la santé et au fonctionnement de la diplomatie de la santé dans un contexte très complexe. Il est souligné que le niveau régional joue un rôle à la fois vertical (c’est-à-dire en tant qu’intermédiaire entre les niveaux mondial et national) et horizontal (c’est-à-dire interrégional). Les contributions à la section spéciale développent la compréhension conceptuelle de ces interactions et analysent un certain nombre de cas concrets, notamment l’Union africaine, l’ASEAN, l’Union européenne, la SADC et l’UNASUR.

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Issues of Gender Representation in Modern Greek Art

The Case of Thaleia Flora-Caravia’s Photographic Images and Self-Portraits

Despoina Tsourgianni

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.

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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.