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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.

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Jill Massino

Dagmar Herzog, Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 238 pp., $28.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-52169-143-7.

Josie McLellan, Love in the Time of Communism: Intimacy and Sexuality in the GDR, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, 239 pp., $29.99 (pb), ISBN 978-0-2172-761-7.

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Gendering the Cold War in the Region

An Email Conversation between Malgorzata (Gosia) Fidelis, Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Jill Massino, and Libora Oates-Indruchova

Malgorzata Fidelis, Renata Jambrešic´ Kirin, Jill Massino and Libora Oates-Indruchova

Although historians have established that gender was a crucial element of the Cold War competition between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, there is not much historical literature yet exploring that aspect of the Cold War. Even less literature specifically addresses the role of gender and/in the Cold War in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE), the region that Aspasia covers. Since Aspasia’s first issue (2007), each volume has had a Forum, though in different formats. This Forum, based on an email exchange conducted over several months between four regional experts, addresses questions about gender and/in the history and historiography of the Cold War in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. Of these countries, the first three were Soviet dominated, but Yugoslavia, after the Tito–Stalin split in 1948, developed its own branch of state socialism.

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Astrid M. Fellner, Tatyana Kmetova, Basia A. Nowak, Jill Massino, Melissa Feinberg, Magdalena Koch, Mária Pakucs Willcocks, Mihaela Petrescu, Libora Oates-Indruchová, Biljana Dojčinović-Nešić, Lisa A. Kirschenbaum, Albena Hranova, Maria Bucur, Oana Băluţă, Elena Shulman, Olga Todorova, Irina Novikova and Marianna G. Muravyeva

Marlen Bidwell-Steiner and Karin S. Wozonig, eds., A Canon of Our Own? Kanonkritik und Kanonbildung in den Gender Studies (A canon of our own? Canon criticism and canon building in gender studies)

Marina Blagojevic, ed., Mapiranje mizoginije u Srbiji: Diskurs I prakse (Mapping the misogyny in Serbia: Discourses and practises), vols. 1 and 2

Graz ̇yna Borkowska, Alienated Women: A Study on Polish Women’s Fiction, 1845–1918

Choi Chatterjee, Celebrating Women: Gender, Festival Culture, and Bolshevik Ideology, 1910–1939

Francisca de Haan, Krassimira Daskalova and Anna Loutfi, eds., A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms. Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries

Biljana Dojčinović-Nešić GendeRings: Gendered Readings in Serbian Women’s Writing

Constant a Ghit ulescu, În s ̧alvari s ̧i cu is ̧lic. Biserica ̆, sexualitate, ca ̆sa ̆torie s ̧i divort în T ara Româneasca ̆ a secolului al XVIII-lea (Wearing shalvars and ishlik. Church, sexuality, marriage and divorce in eighteenth-century Wallachia) Reviewed

Valentina Gla ̆jar and Domnica Ra ̆dulescu, eds., Vampirettes,Wretches and Amazons. Western Representations of East European Women

Hana Hašková, Alena Krˇížková, and Marcela Linková, eds., Mnohohlasem: vyjednávání ženských prostoru ̊ po roce 1989 (Polyphony: Negotiating women’s spaces after 1989)

Celia Hawkesworth, Voices in the Shadows: Women and Verbal Art in Serbia and Bosnia

Katherine R. Jolluck, Exile and Identity. Polish Women in the Soviet Union during World War II

Milena Kirova, Bibleyskata zhena. Mehanizmi na konstruirane, politiki na izobrazjavane v Staria zavet (Biblical femininity. Mechanisms of construction, policies of representation in the Old Testament)

Stefania Mihailescu, Emanciparea femeii romane. Studiu si antologie de Texte. Vol. II (1919–1948) (The emancipation of the Romanian woman. Study and anthology of texts.Vol. 2 [1919–1948])

Mihaela Miroiu, Nepret uitele femei (Priceless women)

Cynthia Simmons and Nina Perlina, Writing the Siege of Leningrad. Women’s Diaries, Memoirs and Documentary Prose

Maria Todorova, Balkan Family Structure and the European Pattern. Demographic Developments in Ottoman Bulgaria 258

Nancy Wingfield and Maria Bucur, eds., Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe

Elizabeth A.Wood, Performing Justice: Agitation Trials in Early Soviet Russia