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Between Trauma and Resilience

A Transnational Reading of Women's Life Writing about Wartime Rape in Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Agatha Schwartz and Tatjana Takševa

In this article, through the narratives of women survivors we explore the effects and transgenerational consequences of rape during two twentieth-century episodes of armed conflict: the end of World War II in Germany and the war in Bosnia and

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A Gloomy Carnival of Freedom

Sex, Gender, and Emotions among Polish Displaced Person in the Aftermath of World War II

Katarzyna Nowak

Adam Tomaszewski, a Polish soldier imprisoned in Nazi Germany, remembered liberation and the first days of freedom as “bacchanalia,” “revue of the absurd,” and “chaos.” Like many other liberated Poles, he invoked images of indulgence, sex

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Francisca de Haan

The years 1917 and 1918 witnessed the end of the Russian, German, Habsburg, and Ottoman empires, with huge consequences for European and global history. Yet despite the obvious importance of empires to the history of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, gendered imperialism—especially within Eastern Europe—has received little attention from scholars. The theme section included here, “Rethinking Empire from Eastern Europe,” for which Susan Zimmermann served as guest editor, aims to begin addressing this omission.

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The Return of Mother Russia

Representations of Women in Soviet Wartime Cinema

Elena Baraban

This article examines the process of symbolisation in the images of women in Soviet cinema. It argues that during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) many female characters served as symbolic representations of the country itself, of Mother Russia, determined to defeat the enemy and ready to endure hardships and to cope with deprivation and grief. The start of the resistance against Nazi Germany called for many more depictions of women than was typical in the thoroughly masculinised culture of the 1930s. At the same time, wartime images of women were quite abstract: they recalled posters and often relied on a symbolically charged mise-en-scène.

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In Search of an Autobiographical Room of Her Own

First Estonian Feminist Lilli Suburg (1841–1923) as an Autobiographer

Eve Annuk

The first Estonian feminist, journalist, writer, and teacher Lilli Suburg (1841–1923) was an outstanding autobiographer who used accounts of her life as a part of her journalistic and literary practice. With the help of her autobiographical strategy she created her own textual space, which allowed her to assert the validity of her life experiences. Feminism was becoming increasingly widespread in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century and Suburg tried to introduce European ideas, including feminism, to the emerging Estonian intellectual audience. However, she did not find a receptive public for these ideas, owing to the conservatism of the local Baltic-German society and the Estonian national awakening. This article explores the autobiographical writings of Lilli Suburg and analyzes them in historical context, demonstrating how these texts enabled Suburg to create a unique textual space in which she gradually defined and legitimated her feminism.

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The Whole World Revolves Around It

Sex Education and Sex Reform in First Republic Czech Print Media

Karla Huebner

This article explores attitudes towards sex and sexuality in First Republic Czechoslovakia (1918–1938), focusing on the urban Czech population. By looking at articles, advertisements and references to sex and sexuality in Czech periodicals from 1920 to 1935, it shows that inter-war Czechoslovaks were enthusiastic participants in closely linked discourses about hygiene, physical culture, sex education, birth control and sex reform, and provides evidence that Czech discourse about sex and sexuality was al- most always – apart from erotica and pornography – closely tied to discourse about health, hygiene and social reform. The article also shows how inter-war Czechoslovaks participated in the struggle for sexual minority rights. By exploring these discourses, this article helps place Czech ideas about sexuality within the larger framework of European ideas about sexuality, especially in relation to the German discourses with which Czech writers and activists were in constant dialogue.

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From West to East

International Women's Day, the First Decade

Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

The year 2010 was the centennial of Clara Zetkin's proposal for an annual women's holiday, which became known as International Women's Day, and 2011 was the centennial of its first celebrations. The first ten years of the holiday's existence were a particularly tumultuous time in world history, with the advent of World War I, revolutionary upheavals in some of the major combatant countries, and the demise of the German, Habsburg, Ottoman, and Russian empires. During this time, International Women's Day celebrations quickly gained great popularity, and in 1917 sparked the February Russian Revolution. This article focuses on the development of the holiday from its U.S. and Western European origins and goal of women's suff rage, to its role in empowering Russian women to spark a revolution, and its re-branding as a Soviet communist celebration. Special attention is paid to the roles of two prominent international socialist women leaders, Zetkin and Alexandra Kollontai, in shaping the holiday's evolution.

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Francisca de Haan

The year 2010 marked the centennial of International Women’s Day (IWD); the year 2011 marked the centennial of its first celebrations, which took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany, partitioned Poland, Switzerland, and no doubt other places. Inspired by these events, the theme section of this volume deals with “A Hundred Years of International Women’s Day in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe,” with articles focusing on Russia, the Polish lands, and Greece. In addition, we review the book Frauentag! (Women’s Day!), a collection of essays that accompanied an exhibition in Vienna on the occasion of IWD’s first centennial; and the News and Miscellanea section features a report on recent IWD-related events in Ukraine, including two exhibitions.

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Liberty P. Sproat

Since the early 1920s, following the Bolshevik Revolution, Clara Zetkin, the renowned German socialist, politician, and fighter for women's rights, argued that only communism provided complete emancipation for women because it brought equality both in theory and in practice. Zetkin used her periodical Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale (The communist women's international) (1921-1925) to convince women of the virtues of joining Soviet Russia (later the Soviet Union) in worldwide revolution rather than succumbing to the empty promises of feminist movements in capitalist nations. From reports of International Women's Day celebrations to statistical reviews of the institutions established to aid working women, Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale used the example of Soviet Russia to illustrate what life for women entailed in a country that had experienced a successful communist revolution. The Soviet model portrayed in Die Kommunistische Fraueninternationale was optimistic and illustrated what Zetkin anticipated her female readers dreamed for themselves. The periodical, thus, became a tool of communist propaganda to convince women that supporting international communism was the most effective path for obtaining equal economic and social rights with men.

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Orlin Sabev, Georgeta Nazarska, Ivan Chorvát, Maria Rentetzi, Tatyana Stoicheva, Jasmina Lukić, Alina Haliliuc, Raili Põldsaar, Alon Rachamimov, Sabina Žnidaršič, Grażyna Szelagowska, and Oksana Kis

Elif Ekin Aksit, Kızların Sessizlig ̆i. Kız Enstitülerinin Uzun Tarihi (The silence of girls: The long history of female institutes)

Tzvetana Boncheva, Brak I semejstvo pri balgarite katolitsi ot Plovdivsko prez parvata polovina na XX vek (Marriage and family life of the Bulgarian Catholics from the Plovdiv region during the first half of the twentieth century)

Zora Bútorová et al, She and He in Slovakia: Gender and Age in the Period of Transition

Christine von Oertzen, The Pleasure of a Surplus Income: Part-Time Work, Gender Politics, and Social Change in West Germany, 1955–1969

Karl Kaser, Patriarchy after Patriarchy: Gender Relations in Turkey and in the Balkans, 1500–2000

Alaine Polcz, One Woman in the War. Hungary 1944–1945

Zoltán Rostás and Theodora-Eliza Va ̆ca ̆rescu, eds., Cealalta ̆ juma ̆tate a istoriei. Femei povestind (The other half of history: Women telling their stories)

Suzanne Stiver Lie, Lynda Malik, Ilvi Jõe-Cannon and Rutt Hinrikus, eds., Carrying Linda’s Stones: An Anthology of Estonian Women’s Life Stories

Laurie S. Stoff, They Fought for the Motherland: Russia’s Women Soldiers in World War I and the Revolution

Nina Vodopivec, Labirinti postsocializma (The labyrinths of post-socialism)

Anna Zarnowska, Workers, Women, and Social Change in Poland, 1870–1939

Tatyana Zhurzhenko, Gendernyye rynki Ukrainy: politicheskaya ekomomiya natsionalnogo stroitelstva (The gendered markets of Ukraine: The political economy of nation building)