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Pamela Ballinger and Kristen P. Ghodsee

Scholars of religion have increasingly brought secularism within the framework of critical studies of spirituality, analyzing the dialogic relationship between religions and secularisms past and present. This emerging field of “postsecularist” studies examines the multiple meanings and practices that different cultures and societies attach to the concepts of “religion,” “faith,” and “piety.” The articles presented in this special section of Aspasia contribute to these larger academic debates by focusing on the multiethnic and historically pluralistic region of Southeastern Europe, an area too often ignored in larger scholarly discussions that have focused primarily on Western Europe and the so-called Third World. More important, the articles in this volume demonstrate how secularization projects are intricately interwoven with gender relations in any given society. Collectively, the articles urge readers to draw connections between the shifting spiritual cartographies, state formations, and definitions of appropriate masculinity and femininity of particular Southeastern European societies.

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Ordinary Trauma

Twenty-One Disabled Women Surviving the 1989 Polish Transformation

Natalia Pamula


This article analyzes the Polish disability memoirs in Cierpieniem pisane: Pamiętniki kobiet niepełnosprawnych (Written through Suffering: Disabled Women's Memoirs), published in 1991. Written through Suffering consists of twenty-one short memoirs submitted as a response to a memoir competition organized around the theme “I am a Disabled Woman” in 1990. Published two years after the first democratic elections, which took place in Poland in June 1989, this anthology shows that contrary to the mainstream narrative in Poland, Western Europe, and the US, 1989 did not bring about a revolution or any dramatic change for disabled women. Women's memoirs included in this collection question the teleological narrative of linear progression from state socialism to democracy and capitalism and point to the uneven distribution of newly acquired rights.

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It's Complicated

The History of Sexuality in Eastern Europe Flourishes

Maria Bucur

draw upon—either with other countries in the region, with Western Europe, or with the United States—convincingly question any assumptions that readers might still have about the “backwardness” of the region vis-à-vis the West or any broad

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Birgitta Bader-Zaar, Evguenia Davidova, Minja Bujaković, Milena Kirova, Malgorzata Fidelis, Stefano Petrungaro, Alexandra Talavar, Daniela Koleva, Rochelle Ruthchild, Vania Ivanova, Valentina Mitkova, Roxana L. Cazan, Sylwia Kuźma-Markowska, and Nadia Danova

lost much of its appeal for women from Western Europe and the US. Women's organizations from the Global South, thus, became the main basis of growth for the WIDF, and the former profited from the WIDF's resources, infrastructures, and solidarity

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Zuzanna Kołodziejska-Smagała

violent persecutions in Western Europe. I felt I'm a citizen of the country, a sister of its people.” 21 The passage indicates two important elements of Polish-Jewish identity: the attachment to the Jewish religion or, in more general terms, tradition

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Feminisms and Politics in the Interwar Period

The Little Entente of Women (1923–1938)

Katerina Dalakoura

meetings and on the boards of international feminist organizations—which were dominated by feminists and feminist organizations from Western Europe and the USA, who also essentially set the agenda—seems to have been proposed by some LEW members at an

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Between Transnational Cooperation and Nationalism

The Little Entente of Women in Czechoslovakia

Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová

's founders was to serve as a counterweight against established international women's organizations dominated by activists from Western Europe and the United States, which had already exhibited great influence and organizational infrastructure (the

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Maria Bucur

acquired provinces. 78 These criticisms came from Western European feminists, who had received complaints from women's organizations representing ethnic minorities inside Romania and their allies in Europe (Hungary, Austria, Germany). At the 1924 Belgrade