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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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From West to East

International Women's Day, the First Decade

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

The year 2010 was the centennial of Clara Zetkin's proposal for an annual women's holiday, which became known as International Women's Day, and 2011 was the centennial of its first celebrations. The first ten years of the holiday's existence were a particularly tumultuous time in world history, with the advent of World War I, revolutionary upheavals in some of the major combatant countries, and the demise of the German, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires. During this time, International Women's Day celebrations quickly gained great popularity, and in 1917 sparked the February Russian Revolution. This article focuses on the development of the holiday from its U.S. and Western European origins and goal of women's suff rage, to its role in empowering Russian women to spark a revolution, and its re-branding as a Soviet communist celebration. Special attention is paid to the roles of two prominent international socialist women leaders, Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, in shaping the holiday's evolution.

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Chiara Bonfiglioli

The Cold War era has been mainly represented as a period of gender conservatism in feminist literature, and communist women in Eastern and Western Europe have been often described as manipulated or deprived of agency due to their lack of autonomy from Communist Party politics. On the basis of archival sources and autobiographies, this article explores the Cold War activities of a women's organization founded in Yugoslavia during the Second World War: the Antifašistički Front Žena (Antifascist Women's Front, or AFŽ). The article describes the activities of the AFŽ from its creation until its dissolution in 1953, focusing on its campaigns for women's political, economic, and social rights in the postwar and early Cold War period. By engaging with the pioneering work of Zagreb feminist historian Lydia Sklevicky and with new archival sources, the article aims to shed light on women's political and social agency in Cold War times.

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The Burden of History

The Defeat of Second-Wave Feminism in Greece

Margaret Poulos

The specificity of national histories shapes the priorities, tensions, and character of respective feminist movements. In the case of Greece, several waves of occupation and resistance from the Second World War to the Colonels dictatorship (1967-1974) gave rise to a broad-based and complex women's movement in the 1970s. This paper investigates the main division in the movement between (a) activists who espoused the autonomy of feminist politics in the spirit of Western European and American feminisms and (b) activists who aligned women's liberation with the projects of the Greek socialist and communist left. This article seeks to illuminate the ways in which second-wave feminism was shaped by the legacy of the Second World War when, in popular memory, the notions of freedom, justice, and equality became identified with the Greek left. While the rift enriched the women's movement, deeply entrenched beliefs in feminism as a subdivision of mainstream politics prevailed and ultimately stifled the development of an enduring contemporary feminist political culture in Greece.

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Sharon A. Kowalsky

—contribute to action and experience. Although there is some overlap among the various contributions, the articles are arranged roughly chronologically, beginning in the late nineteenth century in Greece and traveling north to Russia, Poland, and parts of Western

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Women and Gender in Europe from 1939 to the Present

Challenging and Reassessing the Narrative

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

the cataclysm of World War II. She is careful not to center her account mainly on Western Europe, bringing in significant evidence from Eastern Europe and attesting to the destruction endured by those on whose land the bulk of the war was fought. Smith

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Public Health in Eastern Europe

Visible Modernization and Elusive Gender Transformation

Evguenia Davidova

endorse the decentering of research on Western European public health. The authors promote academic dialogue and suggest fruitful venues for future studies. Readers interested in structural issues in healthcare, in which power and gender imbalances are

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Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

2009 research conducted in St. Petersburg with twelve middle-class families, she finds that the “division of food-related household labor” (189) is similar to that in Western Europe and the United States. Not surprisingly, in all of these societies

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The East Side Story of Gender and Feminism

The Hungarian and Czech Cases

Gabriela Dudeková Kováčová

have credibly contested the simplified idea that the region experienced the same processes as Western Europe and the United States, but with a time lag. Such authors’ projections stemmed mainly from their lack of knowledge of the different cultural and

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Valentina Mitkova

texture of her poetry. “Asimvolia” (Asymbolia)—the fifth thematic part of the volume—outlines Miglena Nikolchina's interests in the field of Western European literature and modernism, interpreted through the theoretical optics of Julia Kristeva. 8 The