Following Germany's resounding defeat in the First World War, the loss of its status as a colonial power, and the series of severe political and economic upheavals during the interwar years, travel abroad by motor vehicle was one way that Germans sought to renegotiate their place in the world. One important question critical studies of mobility should ask is if technologies of mobility contributed to the construction of cultural inequality, and if so in which ways? Although Germans were not alone in using technology to shore up notions of cultural superiority, the adventure narratives of interwar German motorists, both male and female, expressed aspirations for renewed German power on the global stage, based, in part, on the claimed superiority of German motor vehicle technology.
Technology, Gender, and Orientalism in German Interwar Motorized Adventure Literature
Gender, Relics and Speech Acts
Alex da Costa
This article looks again at the figure of the Pardoner in the Canterbury Tales and reconsiders the possibility that ‘he’ is a woman passing as a man. The importance of such a reading is revealed by exploring the anxieties this raises over the relationship between outward appearance and inner substance or reality, and demonstrating parallels with medieval anxieties over the authenticity of relics and the validity of religious speech acts, including those involved in the transubstantiation of the elements of the Eucharist.
The most notable indication that research and discussion regarding gender and feminism are flourishing is the increase in the number of books in these fields and the fact that bookstores are allocating a separate section for them. For years, publishing in Hebrew on the issue of gender was very limited, but around the end of the 1980s it began to expand. In fact, from the turn of the century it has become difficult to keep up with all the literature being published in Hebrew.
Katja Mihurko Poniž
The article explores to what extent, as well as how and when nationalism, feminism and their intersections facilitated women's entry into the literary field in Slovenia. In particular, this article presents the work of Slovene women writers from about 1850 to 1918 and demonstrates the importance of the journal Slovenka (The Slovene woman, 1897-1902), in which many women writers found their voices and that allowed a relatively brief but fruitful encounter between nationalism and feminism. The main change in the development of Slovene women's literature in the period discussed is the shift from topics connected with the strengthening of national consciousness, which emerged after 1848, to a portrayal of women's subordination and emancipation, which took place at the fin de siècle and the beginning of the twentieth century. The work of women writers introduced independent female characters to Slovene literature. These characters no longer saw their mission solely as sacrificing themselves for the nation.
Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941
This article is part of a larger research project on the political, cultural, and social implications of interwar Yugoslavia’s remembrance and mourning of its war dead. Es- chewing a focus on state-centered commemorative practices, this article focuses on two types of sources, laments of Serbian women and photographs by Serbian military photographers, as entry points into understanding the private, cultural, and religious arenas of Serbian wartime and interwar remembrances. Drawing on research examining the political uses of lament and grief, the article considers the role Serbian women played in controlling and directing the “passion of grief and anger” within their communities as they remembered the dead. The photographic evidence reveals that traditional death rituals and laments were performed and that these rituals were significant socio-political spaces where women, families, and communities of soldiers advanced claims for recognition of their wartime experiences and memories. However, the photographs themselves are sites of memory and this article examines how military photographers, acting on behalf of the state, sought to control the representation of grief and by doing so politicized and secularized the way grief was expressed. Placing these sources side by side illustrates the intermingling of forms of mourning and remembrance that existed not only in the Balkans, but also in many other communities throughout Europe, especially among its rural inhabitants.
The Case of Ninotchka and Russkii vopros
This article deals with ideologies of domesticity, femininity, and consumerism as they were articulated in two films in the early Cold War. These films, shown in occupied Berlin from the spring of 1948 through the first few months of 1949, were Ernst Lubitsch's Hollywood classic Ninotchka (1939) and the Soviet film Russkiivopros (The Russian Question, 1948). They portrayed competing notions of domestic consumption and the “good life” in the aftermath of the Second World War—issues more commonly understood to have characterized the later, thaw-era, years of the conflict. Though they were shown at a time of heightened political and ideological tensions, neither painted a one-dimensional or demonized portrait of the enemy. Instead, both films employed narratives about the private lives and material desires of women in order to humanize their enemies and yet make a statement about the inhuman nature of the other system.
Sex, Gender, and Emotions among Polish Displaced Person in the Aftermath of World War II
This article investigates the experiences of Polish Displaced Persons (DPs) through the lens of sexuality, analyzing their perceptions of liberation and life in DP camps in Allied-occupied Germany and Austria (1945–1951). It draws on a wide array of sources, including archival material, memoirs, and letters. Employing Mikhail Bakhtin’s concepts of carnival and the carnivalesque, it argues that the dynamics of DPs’ sexual and romantic encounters, analyzed as emotional experiences, can be characterized as having a carnivalesque structure of oppression, eruption, and normalization. It demonstrates how the eruption of sexuality (including sexual violence) was connected to the wider problems Poles faced, including feelings of emasculation, war trauma, and the challenges of rebuilding a community in exile. Polish elites, acting mostly within a Catholic conservative register, boosted normalization by combatting perceived “immorality” and promoting family values. To this end, they cooperated with international organizations and the Allied military in an attempt to contain venereal disease, prostitution, and abortion. Many of these efforts focused on policing women’s bodies and regulating their sexuality, as a part of rebuilding the nation after the hecatomb of war.
Vibeke Rützou Petersen, Women and Modernity in Weimar Germany: Reality and Representation in Popular Fiction (New York: Berghahn, 2001)
Richard C. McCormick, Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Modernity: Film, Literature, and “New Objectivity” (New York: Palgrave, 2001)
Katherine Weikert and Elena Woodacre
In January 2014, the University of Winchester hosted the Gender and Medieval Studies conference. Held sporadically since the late 1980s and, for the most part, annually in the last fifteen years, the conference series is dedicated to the study of gender in the Middle Ages. In 2014 at Winchester, the topic for discussion was “gender and status.” This topic was specifically chosen for the potential fruitfulness of the idea: gender and status could encompass ideas such as social status, employment, figures of authority, marital status, legal issues, and could potentially suit any academic discipline or geographic context. The 2014 conference welcomed more than ninety scholars from throughout Europe and North America speaking on topics ranging from medieval gynecology to clerical masculinity. As the conference organizers noted, the large number of scholars attending and speaking on gender and status in the medieval world might indicate larger trends in medieval scholarship: that studying gender in the medieval world was no longer a niche subject, but part of the wider landscape of not just medieval studies but scholarship in general.
Mobility is a key word for understanding gender and class formation. In a recent review of feminism, gender, and mobility, historian Georgine Clarsen reminds us that movement never occurs through neutral physical space; it involves gendered bodies through gendered spaces, by means of transport technologies that are often deeply gendered. Furthermore, gendered meanings, practices, and experiences change greatly over time and location. For all these reasons, mobility is—and has to be—contextualized. This article takes inspiration from Clarsen and investigates recent literature on the issue of gender and everyday mobility in urban Asia across a number of academic disciplines.