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Gender Politics and Folklore Performance in Serbia
Author: Ana Hofman
Ana Hofman examines the negotiation of the gender performances in Serbian rural areas as a result of the socialist gender policy and creation of the new “femininity” in the public sphere. She focuses on the stage performances of female amateur groups at the Village Gatherings, state-sponsored events held from the 1970s through the mid-1990s in the southeastern Serbian region of Niško Polje. Offering a multifaceted picture of the personal experiences of the socialist ideology of gender equality, Staging Socialist Femininity investigates the complex relationships between personal, interpersonal and political levels in socialism. By showing the interplay between ideology, representational and social practices in the realm of musical performance, it challenges the strong division in scholarly narratives between ideology and practice in socialist societies.
For the first time, this volume brings together essays by feminist, Americanist, and theater scholars who apply a variety of sophisticated critical approaches to Susan Glaspell’s entire oeuvre. Glaspell’s one-act play, “Trifles,” and the short story that she constructed from it, “A Jury of Her Peers,” have drawn the attention of many feminist critics, but the rest of her writing—the short stories, plays and novels—is largely unknown. The essays gathered here will allow students of literature, women’s studies and theater studies an insight into the variety and scope of her oeuvre.
Glaspell’s political and literary thinking was radicalized by the turbulent Greenwich Village environment of the first decades of the twentieth century, by progressive-era social movements and by modernist literary and theatrical innovation. The focus of Glaspell studies has, till recently, been dominated by the feminist imperative to recover a canon of silenced women writers and, in particular, to restore Glaspell to her rightful place in American drama. Transcending the limitations generated by such a specific agenda, the contributors to this volume approach Glaspell’s work as a dialogic intersection of genres, texts, and cultural phenomena—a method that is particularly apt for Glaspell, who moved between genres with a unique fluidity, creating such modernist masterpieces as The Verge or Brook Evans. This volume establishes Glaspell’s work as an “intersection of textual surfaces,” resulting for the first time in the complex aesthetic appreciation that her varied life’s work merits.
Perspectives on Gender and Class in the History of British and Irish Psychiatry
Editor: Anne Digby
This innovative collection of essays employs historical and sociological approaches to provide important case studies of asylums, psychiatry and mental illness in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Leading scholars in the field working on a variety of geographical, temporal, socio-cultural, economic and political contexts, show how class and gender have historically affected and conditioned the thinking, language, and processes according to which society identified and responded to the mentally ill. Contributors to this volume focus on both class and gender and thus are able to explore their interaction, whereas previous publications addressed class or gender incidentally, partially, or in isolation. By adopting this dual focus as its unifying theme, the volume is able to supply new insights into such interesting topics as patient careers, the relationship between lay and professional knowledge of insanity, the boundaries of professional power, and the creation of psychiatric knowledge. Particularly useful to student readers (and to those new to this academic field) is a substantive and accessible introduction to existing scholarship in the field, which signposts the ways in which this collection challenges, adjusts and extends previous perspectives.
Women, Writing & Subjectivities
The essays in this collection ( on Canada, the USA, Australia and the UK) question and discuss the issues of cross-cultural identities and the crossing of boundaries, both geographical and conceptual. All of the authors have experienced cross-culturalism directly and are conscious that positions of ‘double vision’, which allow the / to participate positively in two or more cultures, are privileges that only a few can celebrate. Most women find themselves “caught between cultures”. They become involved in a day-to-day struggle, in an attempt to negotiate identities which can affirm the self and, at the same time, strengthen the ties which unites the self with others. Theoretical issues on cross-culturalism, therefore, can either liberate or constrict the /. The essays here illustrate how women's writing negotiates this dualism through a colourful and complex weaving of words - thoughts and experiences both pleasurable and painful - into texts, quilts, rainbows. The metaphors abound. The connecting thread through their writing and, indeed, in these essays, is the concept of ‘belonging’, a theoretical/emotional composite of be-ing and longing. ‘Home’, too, assumes a variety of meanings; it is no longer a static geographical place, but many places. It is also a place elsewhere in the imagination, a mythic place of desire linked to origin.
Policies of multiculturalism can throw up more problems than they solve. In Canada, the difficulties surrounding the cross-cultural debate have given rise to a state of “messy imbroglio”. Notions of authenticity move dangerously close to essentialist identities. ‘Double vision’ is characteristic of peoples who have been uprooted and displaced, such as Australian Aboriginal writers of mixed race abducted during childhood. ‘Passing for’ black or white is full of complications, as in the case of Pauline Johnson, who passed as an authentic Indian. People with hyphenated citizenship (such as Japanese-Canadian) can be either free of national ties or trapped in subordination to the dominant culture; in these ‘visible minorities’, it is the status of being female (or coloured female) that is so often ultimately rendered invisible.
Examination of Canadian anthologies on cross-cultural writing by women reveals a crossing of boundaries of gender and genre, race and ethnicity, and, in some cases, national boundaries, in an attempt to connect with a diasporic consciousness. Cross-cultural women writers in the USA may stress experience and unique collective history, while others prefer to focus on aesthetic links and literary connections which ultimately silence difference. Journeying from the personal space of the / into the collective space of the we is exemplified in a reading of texts by June Jordan and Minnie Bruce Pratt. For these writers identity is in process. It is a painful negotiation but one which can transform knowledge into action.
The present volume of Critical Studies is a collection of selected essays on the topic of feminism and femininity in Chinese literature. Although feminism has been a hot topic in Chinese literary circles in recent years, this remarkable collection represents one of the first of its kind to be published in English. The essays have been written by well-known scholars and feminists including Kang-I Sun Chang of Yale University, and Li Ziyun, a writer and feminist in Shanghai, China. The essays are inter- and multi-disciplinary, covering several historical periods in poetry and fiction (from the Ming-Qing periods to the twentieth century). In particular, the development of women’s writing in the New Period (post-1976) is examined in depth. The articles thus offer the reader a composite and broad perspective of feminism and the treatment of the female in Chinese literature. As this remarkable new collection attests, the voices of women in China have begun calling out loudly, in ways that challenge prevalent views about the Chinese female persona.
Gender Politics and Difference in the Fiction of Buchi Emecheta
Author: Omar Sougou
This is a timely and comprehensive study combining various critical approaches to the fiction of Buchi Emecheta, one of Africa's most illustrious and contentious women writers. Feminist (Showalter, Cixous, Kristeva) and postcolonial approaches (writing back) are taken to Emecheta's texts to illuminate the personal, political and aesthetic ramifications of the production of this “born writer.” Poststructural programmes of analysis are shown to be less relevant to this writer’s fiction than Marxist and Bakhtinian perspectives. Emecheta is shown to be a bridge-builder between two cultures and two worlds in narratives (both challenging and popular) characterized by ambiguity, ambivalence and double-voiced discourse, all of which evince the writer's determination to expose imaginatively the colonial heritage of centre-periphery conflicts, cultural corruption, ethnic discrimination, gender oppression, and the migrant experience in multiracial communities.
Modernising scientific medicine emerged in the nineteenth century as an increasingly powerful agent of change in a context of complex social developments. Women's lives and expectations in particular underwent a transformation in the years after 1870 as education, employment opportunities and political involvement extended their personal and gender horizons. For women, medicine came to offer not just treatment in the event of illness but the possibilities of participation in medical practise, of shaping social policies and political understandings, and of altering the biological imperatives of their bodies. The essays in this collection explore various ways in which women responded to these challenges and opportunities and sought to use the power of modernising Western medicine to further their individual and gender interests.
Changing Patterns in the Construction of Otherness
All civilisations have both feared and been fascinated by what lies beyond their limits, and have to a greater or lesser extent construed their “others” as exotics. Given that, even in its most consumerist fashion, the adoption of the exotic goes back a long way, what, then —if anything— is new in contemporary versions of exoticism? This volume attempts to offer some answers to this question. The first of its three sections serves as an extended introduction to the concept and practice of exoticism, considering the phenomenon from a number of theoretical and critical positions, explicitly examining —sometimes via significant examples— the particular attributes of exoticism. The second and third sections are more strictly text-based, relying on the analysis of specific instances of film in the former and literature in the latter, in order to tease out some specific uses of the exotic –whether ethnic, gendered, sexual or other. This volume will be of interest to scholars and students working in the fields of representation, cultural theory, postcolonialism, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, cinema and literature.
Masculinity is becoming an increasingly popular area of study in areas as diverse as sociology, politics and cultural studies, yet significant research is lacking into connections between masculinity and literature. Signs of Masculinity aims at beginning to fill the gap. Starting with an introduction to, and intervention within, numerous debates concerning the cultural construction of various masculinities, the volume then continues with an investigation of representations of masculinity in literature from 1700 to the present. Close readings of texts are intended to demonstrate that masculinity is not a theoretical abstract, but a definitive textual and cultural phenomenon that needs to be recognised in the study of literature. It is hoped that the wide-ranging essays, which raise numerous issues, and are written from a variety of methodological approaches, will appeal to undergraduate, postgraduates and lecturers interest in the crucial but under-researched area of masculinity.