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.
Hungarian Lesbian Herstory, 1950s–2000s
From Biography to History
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
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 Some of these books were newly written, others had been composed long ago but could not be published during the socialist period.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.
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
Gender, Identity and Work under State Socialism in Braşov, Romania
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.
Ayse Durakbasa, Raluca Maria Popa, Ralitsa Muharska, Nadya Radulova, and Krassimira Daskalova
Serpil Çakır, Osmanlı Kadın Hareketi [The Ottoman women’s movement], Istanbul: Metis, 1994, second edition 1996; 350 pp. (pb) 13,20 YTL. ISBN: 975-342-044-7
Krassimira Daskalova ed., Voices of Their Own. Oral History Interviews of Women, trans. Ralitsa Muharska and Elitsa Stoitsova, Sofia: Polis Publishers, 2004, 207 pp. (pb). ISBN 954-796-008-3
Kristen Ghodsee, Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism, and Postsocialism on the Black Sea, Duke University Press, Durham and London, 2005, 174 pp., 2 appendices, $74.95 (cloth). ISBN cloth 0-8223-3650-2; $21.95 (pb). ISBN 0-8223-3662-6
Irina Novikova and Dimitar Kambourov, eds., Men in the Global World: Integrating Post-Socialist Perspectives, Helsinki: Kikimora Publications, 2003, 250 pp. (pb). ISBN 952-10-1308-7
Olga Todorova, Zhenite ot tsentralnite Balkani prez osmanskata epoha (XV–XVII vek). (Women of the Central Balkans during the early centuries of Ottoman Rule [fifteenth-seventeenth Centuries]). Sofia: Gutenberg, 2004, 515 pp., 12 BGL (pb). ISBN954-9943-85-2
Maria Bucur, Rayna Gavrilova, Wendy Goldman, Maureen Healy, Kate Lebow, and Mark Pittaway
It is not the first time a journal is attempting a livelier format of intellectual exchange among academic specialists in the history of Russia/the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. But it is the first time that specialists working on questions of gender in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe are coming together to discuss a theme, theory and methodology issue together in this fashion, across a vast area and a very rich and differentiated scholarship. My interest in generating this dialogue is connected to my graduate training in the early 1990s, which came at a point when the social history of Eastern Europe was starting to gain new dimensions, linked to oral history and to the evanescent everyday life field that was gaining an important foothold at that time through the work of Alf Lüdtke and a group of social historians and historical sociologists working at University of Michigan and a few other institutions at that time. I was also becoming interested in gender as a category of historical analysis and found the Alltagsgeschichte approach embraced by this group of scholars particularly conducive to making gender topics visible and relevant in historical research and writing.
Sharon A. Kowalsky
themselves within their social milieus through their dress. Drawing material from oral histories, Sitar highlights the fluidity of social class in socialist Slovenia as women negotiated, defined, and challenged ideas about social status. Slovenia's proximity
A European Research Network Exploring the Life Histories of a Hidden Population
Kimberley Anderson and Sophie Roupetz
before been discussed, and so we seek to present it to the international readership of Aspasia . Theoretical Tools, Alternative Sources, and Methodology Oral history interviews will be the central method of data collection across the CHI-BOW project
Edited by Raili Marling
punitive organizations, but also, most significantly, from women’s oral histories. The war intensified the control of women’s bodies and especially their sexuality, and violence against women who were perceived as transgressing norms was a widespread form