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Luigi Bobbio

In the space of little over a month, between 31 October and 6 December

2005, the proposed Turin-Lyon high-speed train (Treno Alta Velocità, or

TAV) line became a national news story following the dramatic protests

that marked initial attempts to open exploratory survey sites. On 31

October, the “Battle of Rocciamelone” took place between police and

demonstrators who were blocking access to the Seghino site, where

drilling was due to commence. In the ensuing days, protests were held

across the valley, culminating on 16 November in a general strike and

“the march of the 80,000” from Bussoleno to Susa. On 30 November

and 1 December, protestors gathered at Venaus—where another, far

more important construction site for a long exploratory tunnel was

planned—and set up a camp, which was then dismantled by police

during the night of 5–6 December.

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Adventurers and Agents Provocateurs

A German Woman Traveling through French West Africa in the Shadow of War

Jennifer Anne Boittin

When Dr. Rosie Gräfenberg traveled to French West Africa in 1929, she set the French security and intelligence service on high alert. Rumors preceding her arrival suggested she might be a Russian agent, a communist agitator, and a German spy, among other things. She, however, presented herself as a German journalist. This article contrasts Gräfenberg's autobiography and newspaper articles with French police archives to consider why the stories surrounding her life diverged so greatly and what variations in detail, fact, and tone reveal about how Franco-German relations influenced considerations of race, nation, gender, and sexuality in the French Empire. In part because her trajectory was so outlandish, Gräfenberg's writings help us to consider the influence of World War I upon interwar colonial politics, procedures, and presumptions.

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“Such a Poor Finish”

Illegitimacy, Murder, and War Veterans in England, 1918–1923

Ginger S. Frost

Historians usually analyze changing gender constructions in the criminal courts after World War I through cases involving men and women. Using a different analytical lens this article explores two well-publicized murder trials involving war veterans and illegitimate children, one of a soldier who murdered his wife’s daughter from an adulterous affair and one who killed his own son. Although notions of masculinity had changed, the police, courts, and Home Office used traditional factors to assess punishments, including the degree of provocation, the behavior of the women involved, and the issue of deterrence. The press, however, was more sympathetic to the veterans, regarding them as victims of circumstances, much like women who committed infanticide. This new presentation did not succeed with the Home Office, especially as the war moved further into the past. By 1925, men’s war service had less influence on punishment than Victorian ideas of gender and criminal responsibility.

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Figurations of the Future

On the Form and Temporality of Protests among Left Radical Activists in Europe

Stine Krøijer

During the past 10 years, protests timed to coincide with international summits have become a recurrent phenomenon in Europe. The present article describes the protests of left radical activists during NATO's sixtieth anniversary summit in Strasbourg in 2009, paying attention to the particular relationship between form, body, and time. The article establishes a dialogue between the performative theory of Victor Turner, Viveiros de Castro's theorization of Amerindian perspectivism, and newer theories of time and the body. It is argued that during confrontations between activists and the police, a moment of bodily synchronicity emerges among activists. A skillful performance makes a temporal bodily perspective appear that overcomes the antinomies between immanence and transcendence, between the present and the future, that characterize much thought on social change.

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The Visible Woman

Interwar Romanian Women's Writing, Modernity and the Gendered Public/Private Divide

Voichiţa Năchescu

In this article I analyse four novels by four Romanian women writers in order to bring into focus their perspectives on interwar gender roles, urbanisation and modernisation. First, I discuss the concept of 'feminine literature', largely used by (predominantly male) Romanian literary critics to describe literary works by women, as a description of normative femininity rather than an aesthetic category. Second, I argue that through their literary works, Romanian women writers effectively criticised interwar gender roles, more precisely the divide between public masculinity and private femininity, the constraints of women's sexual agency, and the heterosexual romance. Last, I analyse four novels published (mainly) during the interwar period by the Romanian women writers Hortensia Papadat Bengescu (1876-1955), Henriette Yvonne Stahl (1900-1984), Ioana Postelnicu (1910-2004) and Anişoara Odeanu (1912-1972), focussing on the female characters' presence and visibility in the urban public space and on the dynamics of the gaze that polices their behaviour.

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Andreea Deciu Ritivoi

Before identifying the roles of women writers and intellectuals in the current political climate in Eastern Europe, and particularly in Romania, let me first qualify the climate itself, as I see it.1 Over a decade a er the collapse of communism, the political situation in Romania is still very much a transitional one, defined by competing cultural and moral codes, widespread societal mistrust (intensified by the recent scandals surrounding collaboration with the political police, the Securitate) and anxiety about the future. In this context, women intellectuals in Romania have o en found themselves in difficult positions, accused by their more established male colleagues of trying to introduce new intellectual concepts and values on the cultural market for the sole purpose of drawing attention to themselves, opportunistically and in a facile manner.

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Flying above Bloodshed

Performative Protest in the Scared City of Damascus

Ziad Adwan

Syrian activists adopted the flying demonstration protest form in 2011 during the Arab Spring. A flying demonstration occurs for a few minutes, and then the demonstrators run away. Protestors mainly chose this form to avoid deadly confrontations with the regime’s secret police. This article examines how flying demonstrations challenged the Syrian state’s media allegations that no demonstrations were taking place. Action, spectatorship, aftermath, and catharsis were key concepts from the theater and performance fields that allowed Syrian activists to intensify the demonstrations and achieve certainty, making flying demonstrations a consistent phenomenon in the capital, Damascus. I analyze the flying demonstrations theories brought from Richard Schechner’s performance theory and Augusto Boal’s invisible theater. Although demonstrators were not considering theater during their protests, I conclude that flying demonstrations’ theatrical characteristics were essential to making this phenomenon visually compelling, encouraging more participation, and, to some extent, guaranteeing safety during deadly Syrian events.

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A Sinful Landscape

Moral and Sexual Geographies in Cape Town, South Africa

Melissa Hackman

'Spiritual mapping' is a transnational Pentecostal 'spiritual warfare' practice that aims to identify and fight 'territorial spirits', or demons that possess specific places. It was unique in Cape Town, South Africa, at the beginning of democracy, because it was both racialized and sexualized. This article examines how Pentecostals in Cape Town employed spiritual mapping techniques to identify and police groups they understood as morally and spiritually 'dangerous': black and 'coloured' communities and gays and lesbians. I argue that South African spiritual mapping was a response to the material and physical insecurities of democracy, particularly the declining economy, failed promises of the African National Congress, and some of the highest rates of crime in the world.

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Beyond the Myth of Lesbian Montmartre

The Case of Chez Palmyre

Leslie Choquette

This article focuses on one emblematic figure of lesbian Montmartre during the belle époque, the notorious restaurateur Palmyre. After managing the lesbian brasserie La Souris in the 1890s, Palmyre opened her own establishment, Palmyr’s Bar, opposite the Moulin Rouge in the early twentieth century. Palmyre’s restaurants, the second of which catered to gays as well as lesbians, feature in police, judicial, and fiscal archives as well as the visual arts, journalism, fiction, and memoir. Palmyre’s story, besides conveying a slice of lesbian life in Montmartre during the belle époque, illustrates the importance of lesbian and gay entrepreneurs and entertainers to the making of “Gay Paree.” Establishments like Palmyre’s, no less than the bohemian cabarets and giant music halls, contributed to the development of commercialized mass culture in the city, while also providing community space and artistic outlets for Paris’s gays and lesbians.

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(Re)sounding Histories

On the Temporalities of the Media Event

Penelope Papailias

This article argues that the media event constitutes a critical mode for experiencing temporality in contemporary society. A perceptual and topological approach is presented centering on the event’s transitivity as it unfolds across event-spaces, media formats, and national media envelopes. My case is the unprecedented ‘live’ televisual coverage of the 1999 hijacking of a Greek bus by an Albanian migrant worker, whose death was publicly mourned in a widely circulated cassette-recorded Albanian memorial song. Focusing on the hijacker’s act of ‘speaking back’ to Greek bosses and police, I link the re-enactments and affective (re)sounding of this contested media event to the violent unsettling and reconfiguration of national borders, ideological discourses, social networks, and labor regimes that occurred after the collapse of European communism and prior to the establishment of the neo-liberal Eurozone.