This essay explores Jean Benoît-Lévy and Marie Epstein's box-office success La Maternelle and their lesser-known Maternité in the context of interwar debates over women's roles in society. Reflecting natalist-familialist conceptions of motherhood and femininity, the films magnified three pervasive cultural icons in French social and political discourse: the monstrous, childless "modern woman," the exalted mother, and the "single woman" who fell somewhere in the middle. As both products and vehicles of these tropes, La Maternelle and Maternité not only illustrate how popular cinema disseminated and justified certain value-laden assumptions about female identity in the late 1920s and early 1930s; they also reveal the limitations of French feminism and socially-engaged, progressive art of the period.
The Politics of Female Identity in Maternité (1929) and La Maternelle (1933)
Cheryl A. Koos
The article describes the historical circumstances and context of the beginnings of Progressive Judaism in Central Europe in the nineteenth century, with the rabbis I.N. Mannheimer and A. Jellinek and the famous cantor Salomon Sulzer in the historic Viennese city temple (which still stands today) as the main protagonists. In the interwar period, the founding of the Verein für fortschrittliches Judentum in Vienna, its president Heinrich Haase (1864–1943) and its dissolution (in 1936) are discussed, and biographies of Liberal rabbis in Vienna and in some parts of the Austrian provinces are presented. After 1945 the focus is on the history of the Liberal Viennese community Or Chadasch, founded in May 1990, which is celebrating twenty-five years in November this year with a Festschrift and a Festakt with a keynote speech by Anat Hoffman.
The Debate on Transport Policy in Belgium, 1920-1940
When new motorized means of transport, such as buses, vans, and lorries, captured part of the transport market in Belgium in the interwar period, the rail companies engaged in a political fight to restrict the new modes of road transport. Attempts were made to introduce fiscal and administrative measures aimed at limiting road transport. This coincided with an intense debate on transport policy, both in the press and in parliament. The article focuses on the discourse driving this debate. It is argued that the positions taken were motivated by economic issues, but that there were underlying cultural motivations, different perceptions of what transport should represent in the lives of the users and the whole of society. The focus on the so-called coordination debate is widened beyond the conflict between trains and vans in the 1930s, to include the conflict between automobiles, buses, and trams in the 1920s.
Mobility and the Geographical Imaginaries of Interwar Australian Magazines
Victoria Kuttainen and Susann Liebich
In the interwar period, increasingly mobile Australians began to contemplate travel across the Pacific, both toward Asia as well as to America. Contemporary writing reflected this highly mobile culture and Pacific gaze, yet literary histories have overlooked this aspect of cultural history. Instead of looking to Australian novels as indexes of culture, as literary studies often do, this article explores the range of writing and print culture in magazines, concentrating on notions of mobility through the Pacific. Its focus is on the quality magazines MAN and The Home, which addressed two distinct, gendered readerships, but operated within similar cultural segments. This article suggests that the distinct geographical imaginaries of these magazines, which linked travel and geographical mobility with aspiration and social mobility, played a role in consolidating and nourishing the class standing of their readers, and revealed some of their attitudes toward gender and race.
Theorizing Mobility through Modern Subway Dramas
This article begins from the premise that modern American drama provides a useful and understudied archive of representations of mobility. It focuses on plays set on the New York City subway, using the performance studies concept of “restored behavior” to understand the way that these plays repeat and heighten the experience of subway riding. Through their repetitions, they make visible the psychological consequences of ridership under the historical and cultural constraints of the interwar period. Elmer Rice's 1929 play The Subway is read as a particularly rich exploration of the consequences of female passenger's presumed passivity and sexualization in this era. The Subway and plays like it enable scholars of mobility to better understand the ways that theatrical texts intervene in cultural conversations about urban transportation.
Medical Auxiliaries, Smallpox, and the Colonial State in the Communes mixtes
Compulsory smallpox vaccination was introduced to Algeria by decree on 27 May 1907. After World War I, the combination of public health crises, racialized fears of contagion, and the objective of mise en valeur prompted the colonial state to make Muslim villagers in the communes mixtes a more systematic target of smallpox vaccination. This was achieved in large part thanks to the efforts of Muslim medical auxiliaries. This article reconstructs the kinds of training, labor, and clerical skills embodied in these agents’ administration of vaccination. It also examines the accommodation and contestation of their presence by officials, politicians, and villagers. The author argues that the administrative bureaucracy generated by vaccination may have preceded and enabled the expansion of state registration in rural areas during the interwar period, but ultimately was more effective at disciplining the medical auxiliary than it was at controlling villagers or the smallpox virus.
French Cultural Policies in Britain during the Second World War
The Second World War challenged the well-established circulation of cultural practices between France and Britain. But it also gave individuals, communities, states, and aspiring governments opportunities to invent new forms of international cultural promotion that straddled the national boundaries that the war had disrupted. Although London became the capital city of the main external Resistance movement Free France, the latter struggled to establish its cultural agenda in Britain, owing, on the one hand, to the British Council’s control over French cultural policies and, on the other hand, to the activities of anti-Gaullist Resistance fighters based in London who ascribed different purposes to French arts. While the British Council and a few French individuals worked towards prolonging French cultural policies that had been in place since the interwar period, Free French promoted rather conservative and traditional images of France so as to reclaim French culture in the name of the Resistance.
a Provisional Survey
This international overview focuses on the conflict between drivers and non- drivers in Britain, France, the United States, Germany, and Sweden during the interwar period. It suggests that on neither side of the Channel did pro-pedestrian movements make a major impact on national safety legislation. In the U.S.A. automobile-manufacturing interest groups undermined what they perceived to be threatening neighborhood opposition to the onward rush of the automobile. In Germany, which had earlier experienced high levels of anti-car activity, Hitler-inspired commitment to modernization nevertheless led, by the mid-1930s, to the consolidation of punitive measures against erring drivers. In Sweden, however, there appears to have been a high degree of complementarity between pro-motorism and policies designed to minimize dangerous driving. The paper concludes that an understanding of this “deviant“ position may be deepened through scrutiny of the values associated with the Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party (SAP). A similar approach might be applied to the other nations discussed in the article.
Critical Moves on Method and Truth
Stéphane Baciocchi and Jean-Louis Fabiani
Durkheim’s course of twenty lectures on pragmatism, given at the Sorbonne during the academic year 1913 to 1914, has been regularly reassessed, particularly since an apparently complete English translation (1983). Far from being marginal in Durkheim’s work, as claimed by Steven Lukes (1973), the lectures seem central for understanding Durkheim’s epistemology and methodology. This was initially set out in his two doctoral theses – the main one on the division of labour (1893) – then substantially reworked in later writings, particularly Les Formes élémentaires (1912). Unfortunately, we know the lectures only from a posthumous reconstruction by the faithful Durkheimian and sympathiser with Marxism, the philosopher Armand Cuvillier, who published Pragmatisme et sociologie in 1955, drawing on two anonymous sets of ‘student notes’ that later disappeared. It is thus difficult to know the scope and effect of Cuvillier’s own rewriting of these notes. Moreover, he made his reconstruction forty-two years after the actual presentation by Durkheim at the Sorbonne. The sociological context in France was by this time entirely different. The most prominent sociologists, such as Jean Stoetzel, were outspoken anti-Durkheimians in their demand for an empirical knowledge clearly severed from any philosophical foundation. The Durkheimians who tried to pursue the founder’s endeavour in the interwar period were dead. The very first reviews of Cuvillier’s edition indicate that Durkheimianism seemed to belong to the intellectual past, at least since the death of Marcel Mauss in 1950.
Abraham L. Newman
Since the end of World War II, scholars have attempted to make sense of Germany's insistent multilateralism. Many concluded that this sacrifice resulted from a deeply ingrained political identity that stressed international cooperation and shunned parochial national politics. More recently, however, German leadership has suggested a willingness to weaken its role as global altruist and reassert its interests in Europe and abroad. This article argues that core German attitudes towards regional and global cooperation have changed. But rather than a shift to "national self-interests," I argue that the unification process elevated long-held beliefs about policy conservatism and caution that now compete with the postwar multilateral policy frame within the foreign policy elite. In addition to the pro-European, multilateralist agenda, a second powerful lesson of the interwar period emphasized the dangers associated with sudden change and the benefits of incrementalism. Owing to the uncertainty associated with sociopolitical events, decision makers must rely on their beliefs about how the world works to guide their decisions. To explore the relationship between beliefs and Germany's regional policy, the paper examines the government's regional response to the post 2008 financial crisis and the banking crisis in Eastern Europe.