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.
Lamenting and Photographing the Dead in Serbia, 1914–1941
Gender, Culture, and Class in Nineteenth-Century Women's Travelogues in the Balkans
This article links nineteenth-century travelogues about the Balkans written by European women travelers—Dora d'Istria, Maria Karlova, Emily Strangford, and Paulina Irby and Georgina Mackenzie—both to a broader historical discourse called Balkanism and to the socio-historical contexts of the authors themselves. It examines the ways in which these texts adopted existing hegemonic dichotomies of Balkanism concerning culture, ethnicity/religion, and gender and whether they set new paths for Balkanist discourse. Written during the time of anti-Ottoman uprisings and nation-building movements, the travelogues expressed diverse humanitarian, Christian, feminist, anti-imperial/Turkish and other agendas and discussed the crucial role of (Balkan) women in it. Through a particular focus on domestic life and the lives of women, these women travelers also spoke of their own position in society, bringing to light their struggle for equality in traveling, writing, and participating in broader political and social life, and in that way disturbed the male-centered Balkanist discourse.
Reflecting upon the Gendered Harms of War
Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović, ed., Women, Violence and War: Wartime Victimization of Refugees in the Balkans, trans. Borislav Radović, Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2000, 300 pp., £13.95 (pb), ISBN 978-963-9116-60-3.
Vesna Nikolić-Ristanović, ed., Zene, nasilje i rat (Women, violence, and war), Belgrade: Institut za kriminološka i sociološka istraživanja, 1995, 207 pp., €10.00 (pb), no ISBN mentioned.
Agency, Hybridity and Transformations of 'Femininity'
Jessica Laureltree Willis
What are the contours of cultural stories that explain how a girl becomes a girl? Girlhood is an identity position often taken for granted in the social world. Yet how girls learn to construct normalized gender identities can reveal important shifts in changing cultural ideas about societal expectations for female youth. Utilizing a cross-disciplinary approach, the basis for this discussion are individual interviews with preadolescent girls. Interpretive discoveries focus on how girls in their meaning-making and decision-making contribute to diverse cultural constructions of female subjectivity. This research pertains specifically to a small sample of girls from a large ethnically diverse city in the Northeast United States. The thematic patterns that emerge, nonetheless, offer broader insight into the diverse ways that girls fuse aspects of 'femininity' and 'masculinity' in establishing complex subjectivities. This practice of reimagining cultural conceptions of 'femininity' indicates girls' innovative contributions to the co-creation of culture in their acts of establishing subjectivity through agentive and alternative uses of discourse.
Jansenist Nuns and Unigenitus
In the decades following the promulgation of the anti-Jansenist bull Unigenitus, scores of nuns and convents resisted the efforts of authorities to make them acquiesce to the Bull. Male Jansenist authors writing from a figurist perspective transformed this female dissent into the model for all forms of spiritual resistance against Unigenitus. Their gendered constructions represented a challenge to the church hierarchy, forging nuns into a political weapon against the ultramontane episcopacy. The controversy over the Religieuses Hospitalières during the 1750s reveals how Jansenist lawyers and magistrates deployed the controversies over these “model” nuns to censure episcopal despotism and to legitimate parliamentary intervention in religious affairs, thereby opening the way to prescribing constitutional limits on the monarchy itself.
Women and reconciliation initiatives in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina
This article explores the gendering of reconciliation initiatives from the perspective of Bosniac women active in women's NGOs in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. I illustrate how established patriarchal gender relations and socialistera models of women's community involvement framed the ways in which some women's NGO participants constructed essential ethno-national and gender differences, in contrast to dominant donor discourses. This leads to exploration of how gender patterns embedded in the institution of komšiluk (good-neighborliness), particularly women's coffee visits, provided both obstacle and opportunity for renewed life together among ethnic others separated by wartime ethnic cleansing. Distinguishing between the two concepts, I show how, from the perspective of women's roles and experiences, “life together” may be all that displaced women want or expect out of “reconciliation” initiatives, and that even this may be beyond the capacity of many displaced people to forego talk about injustices and guilt stemming from the war.
The Case of the Migration Policy Regime in Thailand
The paper examines the migration policy regime in Thailand using a human security lens. It suggests that insecurities experienced by migrants are partly caused or exacerbated by a migration policy regime, consisting of migration laws and regulations and non-migration related policies and programs, that pushes migrants into irregular forms of mobility and insecure employment options. These effects are worse for women migrants who have fewer resources to access legal channels while they are relegated to insecure employment in the reproductive or informal sectors. Using a gender and human security analysis, therefore, reveals how the migration policy regime, often informed by a restrictive national security approach, can clash with the human security needs of migrants by creating a large pool of unprotected irregular migrants with women occupying the most vulnerable forms of employment. In conclusion, it is suggested that this ‘en-gendering’ of human insecurities could be overcome if gender equality was designed into policies and guided their implementation.
Travel Behavior of Middle-class Women in Dhaka City
Shahnaz Huq-Hussain and Umme Habiba
This article examines the travel behavior of middle-class women in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh and one of the world's largest and most densely populated cities. In particular, we focus on women's use of non-motorized rickshaws to understand the constraints on mobility for women in Dhaka. Primary research, in the form of an empirical study that surveyed women in six neighborhoods of Dhaka, underpins our findings. Our quantitative and qualitative data presents a detailed picture of women's mobility through the city. We argue that although over 75 percent of women surveyed chose the rickshaw as their main vehicle for travel, they did so within a complex framework of limited transport options. Women's mobility patterns have been further complicated by government action to decrease congestion by banning rickshaws from major roads in the city. Our article highlights the constraints on mobility that middle-class women in Dhaka face including inadequate services, poorly maintained roads, adverse weather conditions, safety and security issues, and the difficulty of confronting traditional views of women in public arenas.
Hysteria, Masculinity, and Marriage in Florence Marryat's Nelly Brooke
In 1868 Florence Marryat published Nelly Brooke: A Homely Tale, ostensibly a novel full of classic sensation themes: illegitimacy, love, seduction, addiction, and a murder of sorts. More interestingly, however, the novel also plays with nineteenth-century gender expectations and ideas current in medical and scientific discourse. This essay explores the representations of male hysteria and the demonised man of science which this novel depicts. These themes, contained within a hugely satisfying sensation plot, are also offset against the plight of the fortuneless woman in the nineteenth-century marriage market.
Are Juliet, Desdemona and Cordelia to their Fathers as Nature is to Culture?
Gordana Galić Kakkonen and Ana Penjak
This article brings ecofeminist critical thinking to William Shakespeare's female characters: Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Desdemona in Othello, and Cordelia in King Lear. Beginning with the principal that women and nature are similar in many ways (reproductive function, discrimination, subordination, possession, violence), ecofeminism focuses on the interaction between the two. Ecofeminism grounds its beliefs in the fact that patriarchal domination gets imposed through different binary oppositions including man-woman and culture-nature categories. By applying ecofeminism's positions, the authors will provide a critical thinking of the production of socially imposed inequalities seen through Juliet, Desdemona, and Cordelia. Since out of many different publications on the topic of ecofeminism none has provided such an approach, the authors believe that the article presents an important addition to the literature on both Shakespeare and ecofeminism.