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Muslim Notables, French Colonial Officials, and the Washers of the Dead

Women and Gender Politics in Colonial Algeria

Augustin Jomier

of patriarchy and to historicize it during the modern period; on the other hand, driven by a feminist agenda, these scholars sought to uncover women's agency. 5 To address the first concern, major studies, such as that of Elizabeth Thompson on the

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The “power of silence”

Spirituality and women's agency beyond the Catholic Church in Poland

Agnieszka Kościańska

This article looks at various models of women's agency in Poland in the context of religion. Based on fieldwork among members of two feminized religious milieus—a new religious movement the Brahma Kumaris and an informal Catholic fundamentalist group—this article discusses the role of silence in ritual and everyday life as a form of agency. From the perspective of feminist discourse, particularly Western liberal feminism, silence is often interpreted as a lack of power. Drawing on informants' experiences, under Polish gender regimes, particularly as they relate to the organization of public and private spheres, silence is shown to be a fundamental component of agency. The analysis of silence displays the complexity of religious issues in Poland and serves as a critique of assumptions about religious homogeneity and the pervasiveness of religious authority in Poland.

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Defying Death

Women's Experience of the Holodomor, 1932–1933

Oksana Kis

Although the tragedy of the Holodomor (the Great Famine) of 1932 and 1933 figures prominently in public discourse and historical scholarship in Ukraine today, its gender dimension has not yet been examined. This article is based on an analysis of personal narratives of female survivors of the Holodomor, collected and published in Ukraine since the 1990s until now. It focuses on the peculiarities of women's experience of the Holodomor and explores women's strategies of resistance and survival in the harsh circumstances of genocide. It exposes a spectrum of women's agency at the grassroots and illuminates controversies around women's ways of coping with starvation. The article also discusses the methodological challenges and ethical issues faced by a Ukrainian female scholar studying women's experiences of famine.

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Young Mothers as Peer Researchers in a Collaborative Study

Annah Kamusiime


In this article, I draw on experiences of a collaborative ethnographic study conducted with young mothers as peer researchers in a poor urban locale in Kampala-Uganda. Young motherhood has been researched on and about, but not often with women who live the reality of early reproduction. They are frequently left out of the research process as knowledge co-creators and co-interpreters irrespective of the consensus that girls’ and women's agency and voice must be acknowledged. I weave together a collaborative approach with polyphony to reveal innovative ways of knowledge co-creation. I call for centering young mothers as people with a specific embodied experience in order to include their perspectives in research, empower them to tell their stories, and question and challenge the dominant discourses.

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"Et Plus Si Affinités"

Malagasy Marriage, Shifting Post-Colonial Hierarchies, and Policing New Boundaries

Jennifer Cole

In 1999 and 2004, a debate exploded within the Malagasy expatriate community in France after Et Plus Si Affinités, a realist style documentary about arranged marriage between Malagasy women and French men, aired on local television. The series chronicled the adventures of three French bachelors who went to Madagascar to find brides. In this article, I use the reactions to Et Plus Si Affinités as a lens through which to examine changes in Malagasy sexual relations as they are inflected by relations between different ethnic groups in Madagascar, particularly how different groups have historically approached sexual and marital relationships between Malagasy women and French men. Drawing on this case study, I argue that studies of transnational arranged marriage need to attend more closely first to historical representations and the way they figure into transnational marriage, and second to how circulating representations mediate women's agency and their ability to achieve their goals.

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Diplomats’ Wives and the Foreign Ministry in Late Imperial Russia, in Four Portraits

Marina Soroka


The infrequent publications about women's agency in European diplomacy have concerned themselves with either the early modern age or the post-World War I period, but women remain virtually absent from the diplomatic history of the long nineteenth century. To determine their place in the European political world of this period, this article examines the experiences of four Russian diplomats’ wives. The biographical approach reveals contradictions in patriarchal discourse: it required a diplomat's wife to be worthy of her role as a representative of the Russian Empire, yet effectively dismissed her from politics. From this another contradiction ensued: as a diplomat's wife played no political role, the ministry turned a blind eye if her actions challenged traditional social and gender norms, even when such actions led to the neglect of her duties as her husband's helpmeet.

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Philippine Prison Marriages

The Politics of Kinship and Women's Composite Agency

Sif Lehman Jensen

multiplicity of relational preconditions and obligations are reflected in women's enactments of agency. My aim, however, is also to draw attention to how choice is at stake in shaping women's agency. I introduce the notion of composite agency to capture the

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Young Hijabis in Kashmir

Everyday Perceptions, Practices and Politics

Aatina Nasir Malik

burqas as indicators of a community's distinct cultural and national identity. The narrative of state empowerment shaping girls’ and women's agency in Kashmir has also been challenged. Hafsa Kanjwal (2018) elucidates how such a feminist project was in

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“Why Don't They Display Male Nudes?”

Nude Photography, Women's Art, and the Redefinition of Socialist Morality in 1970s Poland

Anna Dobrowolska

explicitly grounded in feminist theory. Just as scholars of women's movements uncover forgotten areas of women's agency under state socialism, 28 historians of art point to various ways in which women's art in state-socialist Poland engaged and interacted

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Hijab, Girls’ Sports, and the Ongoing Effects of Colonial Feminism

Mary Christianakis and Malek Moazzam-Doulat

girls’ and women's agency, their capacity to choose. But Je'Nan and other Muslim girls and women refuse to accept this binary of Muslim or American. Muslim communities have continually resisted the Western narrative surrounding the hijab, affirming