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Catherine O'Byrne

The Piper Alpha disaster remains the most significant event in the history of the British North Sea oil industry, yet despite a large range of scholarship on the topic women's experiences of the disaster have not been heard publicly. This article uses oral history testimony to add the private experiences of women who were affected by the disaster to the public experiences of men. The focus of the analysis is on the gendered and political nature of remembrance and the impact that women had on the way that Piper Alpha was commemorated and remembered.

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Secret Years

Hungarian Lesbian Herstory, 1950s–2000s

Anna Borgos

The article explores the personal narratives of middle-aged and elderly Hungarian lesbian women based on oral history interviews. The stories open a window into the Kádár era from a special perspective, allowing us to get a glimpse into the women's self-recognition and coming out process; their different (sexual, professional or maternal) identities, relationships, informal social scenes, and communities; their thinking about gender roles, as well as the available representations of lesbians over the decades. The women also discuss the freedom and greater visibility—as complex as it was—that came after the democratic transition. The article contributes more detailed knowledge about the situation of LGBT people in the region during the state socialist period and around the 1989 regime change.

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Between Resistance and the State

Caribbean Activism and the Invention of a National Memory of Slavery in France

Itay Lotem

In June 2014, the newly appointed president of the Comité national pour la mémoire et l’histoire de l’esclavage (CNMHE), Myriam Cottias, spoke about the organization’s history and future plans in an oral history interview. For her, one of the most

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A Woman Politician in the Cold War Balkans

From Biography to History

Krassimira Daskalova

of Stalinism and state socialism by emphasizing the agency of local actors. 8 In the new economic, political, and ideological context after 1989, the proliferation of oral history research in Eastern Europe made visible various points of view of

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Amanda H. Littauer

distance. Stories of girls developing “crushes” on adult women are ubiquitous in oral histories, autobiographies, and fiction. Gym teachers, school teachers, scout leaders, camp counselors, and nuns appear over and over again as the objects of girls

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Sara Lennox

Gender Relations in German History: Power, Agency and Experience from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century edited by Lynn Abrams and Elizabeth Harvey

Frank Biess

Divided Memory. The Nazi Past in the Two Germanies by Jeffrey Herf

Erik Willenz

Embattled Selves: An Investigation into the Nature of Identity through Oral Histories of Holocaust Survivors by Kenneth Jacobson

Wade Jacoby

The Grand Experiment: Debating Shock Therapy, Transition Theory, and the East German Experience by Andreas Pickel and Helmut Wiesenthal

Henry Krisch

Creating German Communism, 1890-1990: From Popular Protests to Socialist State by Eric D. Weitz

Jan Plamper

Stalinism and Nazism: Dictatorships in Comparison edited by Ian Kershaw and Moshe Lewin

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Melissa Feinberg

In the years after the fall of communist governments in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE), a flood of memoir literature began to fill bookstores around the region. Some of these books were newly written, others had been composed long ago but could not be published during the socialist period. Alongside this rush of published work, historians and anthropologists began numerous oral history projects devoted to recording ordinary people’s experiences of state socialism. This need to narrate one’s own past and capture the memories of those who witnessed the tragedies of the twentieth century continues to the present day. The turn to autobiography and personal narrative inspired the theme section in this issue of Aspasia: women’s autobiographical writing and correspondence.

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Catherine Plum

This essay explores the history of young historians clubs in East Germany as they pursued antifascist projects from the early 1950s through the final years of communist rule. Using antifascism as an analytical tool, the author investigates students who not only accepted socialist values and prescribed historical interpretations in total or in part, but advanced them in their own right during their leisure time. Voluntary young historians clubs provided a previously unexplored window into the prevalence and relative depth of youth interest in the regime's favored heroes-communist resistance fighters. Youth interest in this theme dispels the pervading theory in some contemporary political circles that young people overwhelming rejected state-supported antifascism. The primary source base for this essay includes individual club reports, regional statistics, conference documents, and oral history interviews.

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Barbara Klich-Kluczewska, Gabriela Dudeková, Philip Mann, Kristen Ghodsee, Susan Zimmermann, Barbara Alpern Engel, Rhonda Semple, Amelia Licheva, Christian Promitzer, and Oksana Kis

Women, Communism, and Industrialization in Postwar Poland by Małgorzata Fidelis Barbara Klich-Kluczewska

The Politics of Gender Culture under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice by Hana Havelková and Libora Oates-Indruchová (eds.) Gabriela Dudeková

Gendered Artistic Positions and Social Voices: Politics, Cinema, and the Visual Arts in State-Socialist and Post-Socialist Hungary by Beata Hock Philip Mann

Staging Socialist Femininity: Gender Politics and Folklore Performance in Serbia by Ana Hofman Kristen Ghodsee

Kohle für Stalin und Hitler: Arbeiten und Leben im Donbass 1929 bis 1953 (Coal for Stalin and Hitler. Working and living in the Donets basin 1929 to 1953) by Tanja Penter Susan Zimmermann

Bytovoe nasilie v istorii rossiiskoi povsednevnosti (XI–XXI vv.) (Domestic violence in the history of Russian everyday life [XI–XXI vv.]) by Marianna G. Muravyeva and Natalia L. Pushkareva, (eds.) Barbara Alpern Engel

Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East, 1831–1908 by Barbara Reeves-Ellington Rhoda Semple

Zhenite v modernostta (Women in modernity) by Reneta Roshkeva and Nikolai Nenov (eds.) Amelia Licheva

Physical Anthropology, Race and Eugenics in Greece (1880s–1970s) by Sevasti Trubeta Christian Promitzer

Nezvychaini doli zvychainykh zhinok: Usna istoria XX stolittia (The extraordinary lives of ordinary women: Oral history of the twentieth century) by Iroida Wynnytsky (ed.) Oksana Kis

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Constructing the Socialist Worker

Gender, Identity and Work under State Socialism in Braşov, Romania

Jill Massino

Utilising socialist legislation, propaganda and oral history interviews, this article analyses how women’s identities and roles – as well as gender relations – were reformulated as a result of women’s participation in paid labour in socialist Romania. Although some women regarded work as burdensome and unsatisfying, others found it intellectually fulfilling, personally rewarding and, in certain respects, empowering. For example, work improved women’s economic position and offered them an array of social services, which, although inadequate in a number of ways, were welcomed by many women. Moreover, work increased women’s physical and social mobility, which in turn provided them with greater freedom in directing their own lives and in choosing a partner. Finally, the experience of being harassed by male co-workers and of combining work outside the home with domestic responsibilities motivated some women to rethink their status both within the workplace and the family, and to renegotiate their relationships with male colleagues and partners. Although women never achieved full equality in socialist Romania, by creating the conditions for women’s full-time engagement in the workforce, state socialism decisively shaped the course of women’s lives, their self-identities and their conceptions of gender roles, often in positive ways.