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The Miniskirt and the Veil

Islam, Secularism, and Women's Fashion in the New Europe

Kristen Ghodsee

This article examines another European iteration of the headscarf debate, this time in postcommunist Bulgaria, the European Union member with the largest Muslim minority. Bulgaria is a country that has always been at a crossroads between East and West, and women's bodies and their fashion choices have increasingly become the symbols of the "backward Orient" or the "corrupt and decadent West" for those on either side of an ongoing national identity crisis. For the Orthodox Christian/Secular majority, the headscarf represents all that is troubling about the country's Ottoman past and Islam's presumed oppression of women. For a growing number of Bulgarian Muslims, the miniskirt has come to represent the shameless commodification of women's bodies and the moral bankruptcy of global capitalism.

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Socialist Secularism

Religion, Modernity, and Muslim Women's Emancipation in Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, 1945–1991

Pamela Ballinger and Kristen Ghodsee

This article uses the examples of socialist Bulgaria and Yugoslavia to propose some new directions for rethinking scholarly understandings of “secularism” and the ways in which socialist secularizing projects were intricately intertwined with questions of gender equality. Current scholarly debates on the genealogy of secularism root its origins in the Catholic/Protestant West, and systematically ignore cases from the former communist world. This article takes two cases of Balkan states to explore the theoretical contours of what we call “socialist secularism.” Although Bulgaria and Yugoslavia’s experiences of socialist secularism differed in the degree of their coerciveness, this article examines the similarities in the conceptualization of the secularizing imperative and the rhetoric used to justify it, specifically the rhetoric of communist modernism and women’s liberation from religious backwardness.

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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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Ten Years After

Communism and Feminism Revisited

Francisca de Haan, Kristen Ghodsee, Krassimira Daskalova, Magdalena Grabowska, Jasmina Lukić, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Raluca Maria Popa and Alexandra Ghit

Introduction - Francisca de Haan

State-Socialist Women’s Organizations in Cold War Perspective: Revisiting the Work of Maxine Molyneux - Kristen Ghodsee

Audiatur et altera pars: In Response to Nanette Funk - Krassimira Daskalova

From Revolutionary Agents to Reactive Actors: The Transformation of Socialist Women’s Organizing in Poland from the 1940s through the 1980s - Magdalena Grabowska

One Socialist Story, or How I Became a Feminist - Jasmina Lukić

On Vida Tomšic, Marxist Feminism, and Agency - Chiara Bonfiglioli

“We Opposed It”: The National Council of Women and the Ban on Abortion in Romania (1966) - Raluca Maria Popa

Partisan Potential: Researching Communist Women’s Organizations in Eastern Europe - Alexandra Ghit

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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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Linda L. Clark, Olga Gurova, Elena Bedreag, Daniela Koleva, Kristen Ghodsee, Roza Dimova, Evguenia Davidova, Maija Jäppinen, Tanja Petrović, Valentina Mitkova, Daniela Naydeva, Jelena Bakić, Irina Genova, Galina Goncharova, Michelle DenBeste, Katarina Loncarevic, Avital H. Bloch, Leda Papastefanaki, Olena Styazhkina and Eszter Varsa

James C. Albisetti, Joyce Goodman, and Rebecca Rogers, eds., Girls' Secondary Education in the Western World: From the 18th to the 20th Century

Djurdja Bartlett, FashionEast: The Spectre That Haunted Socialism

Ioan Bolovan, Diana Covaci, Daniela Deteşan, Marius Eppel, and Elena Crinela Holom, eds., În căutarea fericirii. Viaţa familială în spaţiul românesc în secolele XVIII-XX (Looking for happiness. Family life in the Romanian territory from the eighteenth to the twentieth century)

Ulf Brunnbauer, “Die sozialistische Lebensweise“: Ideologie, Gesellschaft, Familie und Politik in Bulgarien (1944-1989) (“The socialist way of life“: Ideology, society, family and politics in Bulgaria [1944-1989])

Gerald Creed, Masquerade and Postsocialism: Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria

Krassimira Daskalova and Tatyana Kmetova, eds., Pol i Prehod, 1938-1958 (Gender and Transition, 1938-1958)

Evdoxios Doxiadis, The Shackles of Modernity: Women, Property, and the Transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Greek State (1750-1850)

Katalin Fábián, ed., Domestic Violence in Postcommunist States: Local Activism, National Policies, and Global Forces

Kristen Ghodsee, Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life after Communism

Liubov Krichevskaya, No Good without Reward: Selected Writings

Tomislav Z. Longinović, Vampire Nation: Violence as Cultural Imaginary

Ivana Panteli´, Partizanke kao građanke: društvena emancipacija partizanki u Srbiji, 1945-1953 (Female partisans as citizens: Social emancipation of female partisans in Serbia, 1945-1953)

Bojana Pejić, ERSTE Foundation and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, eds., Gender Check: A Reader. Art and Theory in Eastern Europe

Christian Promitzer, Sevasti Trubeta, and Marius Turda, eds., Health, Hygiene and Eugenics in Southeastern Europe to 1945

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Equality and Revolution: Women's Rights in the Russian Empire, 1905-1917 Reviewed by Michelle DenBeste

Giulia Sissa, Sex and Sensuality in the Ancient World

Lidija Stojanovik-Lafazanovska and Ermis Lafanovski, The Exodus of the Macedonians from Greece: Women's Narratives about WWII and Their Exodus

Lex Heerma van Voss, Els Hiemstra-Kuperus, and Elise van Nederveen Meerkerk, eds., The Ashgate Companion to the History of Textile Workers, 1650-2000

Galina I. Yermolenko, ed., Roxolana in European Literature, History and Culture

Susan Zimmermann, Divide, Provide, and Rule: An Integrative History of Poverty Policy, Social Policy, and Social Reform in Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy