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Nature, Nurture, and the Social Order

Imagining Lessons and Lives for Women in Ancien Régime France

Adrian O'Connor

Focusing on the work of Choderlos de Laclos, Riballier, Mme d'Épinay, and Mme de Genlis, this article examines the ways in which, during the 1770s and 1780s, women's education and women's social identity were imagined as two related questions. Both questions were shaped by the perceived dictates of nature, tradition, and necessity, yet each was open to debate and re-imagination. In the works of these four writers, we will see not only considerable ambivalence regarding women's social and familial identities, but also a rift between understandings of those identities based on nature and understandings based on social utility or tradition. Moreover, we will see that along with that ambivalence and that discursive rift came a tension between women's importance as wives and mothers, on the one hand, and their autonomy as selves, on the other.

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Daughters of Two Empires

Muslim Women and Public Writing in Habsburg Bosnia and Herzegovina (1878–1918)

Fabio Giomi

This article focuses on the public writings of Muslim women in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Habsburg period. From the beginning of the twentieth century, several Muslim women, mainly schoolgirls and teachers at Sarajevo's Muslim Female School, started for the first time to write for Bosnian literary journals, using the Serbo-Croatian language written in Latin or Cyrillic scripts. Before the beginning of World War I, a dozen Muslim women explored different literary genres—the poem, novel, and social commentary essay. In the context of the expectations of a growing Muslim intelligentsia educated in Habsburg schools and of the anxieties of the vast majority of the Muslim population, Muslim women contested late Ottoman gender norms and explored, albeit timidly, new forms of sisterhood, thus making an original contribution to the construction of a Bosnian, post-Ottoman public sphere.