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Myra Marx Ferree, Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Angelika von Wahl

K. Michael Prince, War and German Memory: Excavating the Significance of the Second World War in German Cultural Consciousness (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009)

Reviewed by Richard Boffey

Shulamit Volkov, Walther Rathenau. Weimar’s Fallen Statesman (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Sabine von Mering

Quinn Slobodian, Foreign Front: Third World Politics in Sixties West Germany (Durham: Duke University Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Anna von der Goltz

Mary Fulbrook, A Small Town Near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Richard Boffey

Lily Gardner Feldman, Germany’s Foreign Policy of Reconciliation: From Enmity to Amity (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012)

Reviewed by Eric Langenbacher

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Feminist Anthropology Anew

Motherhood and HIV/AIDS as Sites of Action

Pamela J. Downe

Ongoing discussions about feminist anthropology as an active and relevant sub-discipline largely rely on historical comparisons that pit the political fervour of the past against what is deemed to be the less defined and increasingly disengaged feminist anthropology of today. In this paper, I argue that the prevailing tone of pessimism surrounding feminist anthropology should be met with a critical response that: (1) situates the current characterization of the sub-discipline within broader debates between second- and third-wave feminism; and (2) considers the ways in which the supposed incongruity between theories of deconstruction and political engagement undermines the sub-discipline's strengths. Throughout this discussion, I consider what an ethnographic study of motherhood in the context of HIV/AIDS can offer as we take stock of feminist anthropology's current potential and future possibility.

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Women and Carnival Space

Gender and Carnival in a North Aegean Island Community

Regina Zervou

This article focuses on gender relations through the performance of carnival rites in a North Aegean island rural community. Based on qualitative research, it approaches the women’s use of public space during carnival and the changes under the influence of women’s emancipation since the 1970s. The percentage of women, especially young girls, participating in carnival rites has risen dramatically over the last decade. However, not all carnival public spaces are equally open to women. The article examines the way women try to impose their presence on the strictly male universe of the carnival space and especially the marketplace, the traditional and timeless core of the carnival rites, where only men can pronounce the obscene carnival language, fruit of the kafeneion male discourse and the reactions of the male community to the novelties brought by feminism into the village.

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Introduction

Schools, Masculinity and Boyness in the War Against Boys

Chris Haywood, Máirtín Mac an Ghaill and Jonathan A. Allan

The re-publication of Christine Hoff Sommers’s book on the War Against Boys (2000, 2013) continues to feed into a widely circulating premise that feminist inspired pedagogical strategies are having a detrimental effect on boys’ experience of education. It resonates with a UK newspaper article whose author asked: “Why do women teachers like me treat being a boy as an illness?” (Child 2010). In the late 1990s, Sara Delamont had already highlighted how the media targeted feminists for the failure of boys, where “school and classroom regimes … favour females and feminine values; a lack of academic/scholarly male role models for boys, a bias in favour of feminism in curricula, a lack of toughness in discipline, and a rejection of competition in academic or sporting matters” (1999: 14).

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The Construction of the Palestinian Girl

Voices from South Lebanon

Kathleen Fincham

This paper examines how specific femininities have been constructed in Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon through the intersecting discourses of gender and nation. Through these discourses, Palestinian girls and women have been positioned largely as biological reproducers, gatekeepers, metaphors, ideological reproducers and cultural transmitters of the nation. This has worked to shape Palestinian girls' upbringing in the home and in the community and presented them with limited gender scripts from which to construct their identities and imagine their futures. However, Palestinian females have also exercised agency to gain the most advantageous position available to them at any given time in Palestinian society. Although structural, legal and cultural barriers have severely limited their participation in political activism, education and paid work, Palestinian females in Lebanon have constructed their identities through Islamic feminism, and to a lesser extent, secularism. Moreover, these identities are continually being transformed through the processes of resistance, negotiation and accommodation.

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Reframing Disability through Graphic Novels for Girls

Alternative Bodies in Cece Bell’s El Deafo

Wendy Smith-D’Arezzo and Janine Holc

In this analysis of Cece Bell’s El Deafo, a graphic novel for children, we examine the tension between representations of able-bodiedness and disability in Bell’s narrative of a young girl negotiating family and friendships while experiencing hearing loss. Drawing on recent scholarship in disability studies and feminism, we demonstrate that ability is a characteristic that is not static; it circulates among a number of characters and bodies in the novel. Characters who match normatively abled bodies are at times unable to achieve their goals, while Cece, the protagonist, deploys a range of strategies to negotiate her social world, at times to great effect. El Deafo, in this way, neither idealizes disability nor represents it as something to be overcome. Instead, the novel opens up a space for alternative notions of embodiment.

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Frederika Eilers

Engaging a cross-disciplinary approach, this comparative analysis shows how two disparate icons, Barbie and Modulor, are similar. The former is an often criticized symbol of girl culture, beauty, and consumerism. The latter is a drawing of a man that summarizes the dimensional system of Le Corbusier, one of the world's most influential architects, and that subsequently became a symbol of modern architecture. Divided into three parts—idealized bodies, their spaces, and how typical users are excluded—this nuanced interpretation explores the intersections of architecture, feminism, embodiment, and ableism. I show how these two bodies—Barbie and Modulor—inspire homes that emphasize the vertical: the buildings exclude typical users. For instance, Barbie's friend Becky, who is in a wheelchair, does not fit into Barbie's skinny world and Modulor's needs are dissimilar to those of mothers and children. Putting these artifacts into conversation reinvigorates the subjects and provides a contextual framework in which to consider Barbie's house as architecture.

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The “power of silence”

Spirituality and women's agency beyond the Catholic Church in Poland

Agnieszka Kościańska

This article looks at various models of women's agency in Poland in the context of religion. Based on fieldwork among members of two feminized religious milieus—a new religious movement the Brahma Kumaris and an informal Catholic fundamentalist group—this article discusses the role of silence in ritual and everyday life as a form of agency. From the perspective of feminist discourse, particularly Western liberal feminism, silence is often interpreted as a lack of power. Drawing on informants' experiences, under Polish gender regimes, particularly as they relate to the organization of public and private spheres, silence is shown to be a fundamental component of agency. The analysis of silence displays the complexity of religious issues in Poland and serves as a critique of assumptions about religious homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religious authority in Poland.

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Meals in Foreign Parts

Food in Writing by Nineteenth-Century British Travellers to the Balkans

Ludmilla Kostova

The interest in the narrative and ideological parameters of travel writing,1 which has been an important feature of the Western European and North American academic contexts over the last fifteen years or so, is undoubtedly a reflection of the unique position of the genre as an area thematising and problematising cultural difference and otherness and as a meeting point of varying discourses of gender, race/ethnicity, class, power, domination and counter-domination. Travel narratives have played a key role in current theoretical debates in postcolonial studies, feminism, cultural studies and comparative literature. To my mind, a considerable number of the critical texts that they have engendered in those fields, appear to privilege a particular analytical strategy focusing on the interpretation of what Laura E. Ciolkowski has termed ‘gender-coded visual power’ (1998: 343). This power operates through the travelling subject’s gaze, which is intent upon the construction of the relatively stationary object(s) of his/her observation. By persistently privileging the analysis of the gaze critics have tended to ignore and even erase other aspects of the complex processes of mediation and negotiation in which travellers and ‘travellees’ are involved.

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Barbara Franchi and Natália da Silva Perez

The f-word used to be inappropriate for polite company, but today nobody seems afraid to say it, loud and proud. Hollywood stars and world-famous pop singers can openly claim to be feminists; it is now acceptable for mainstream celebrities to emulate that which more radical independent feminist artists have been doing for the past few decades. This gradual mainstreaming of feminism, facilitated in part by easier and wider access to communication technology, is reflected all over mass media. The last couple of years have also seen a number of high-profile female celebrities engaging in feminist political action. When Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson are UN ambassadors in projects that aim to promote the emancipation of women worldwide, when pop singer Beyoncé openly declares that “we have a way to go [to achieve equality] and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept,” (Vena, 2013) their voices are heard by a wider audience, one that might not have been reached by the voices of activists and scholars who have for decades denounced the problems caused by gender discrimination.