Forthcoming: YEARBOOK FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY 35, Gender and Activism. Women’s voices in political debates

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This yearbook attends to ways in which women were active to question rights for sex and gender related issues in the political arena. Covering a diverse range of cultures and political situations the Yearbook will discuss the ambiguous messages of FEMEN in Ukraine and France; the work of female mukhtars in Turkish local politics; the debate over child marriage in late colonial India; and the feminist opposition to abortion in the United States of America. An interview with women activists will give an inside perspective on Egypt and Tunisia, while debates in a more distant include the controversy between socialists and feminists over women workers in the Netherlands, and the representation of motherhood, domestic display, and democracy in a 1948 exhibition in the Netherlands. Triggered by a colour portrait of a prominent Dutch feminist brings a re-evaluation of her achievements, and a visual section will discuss the representation of women in politics by way of political posters.

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CFP: Gender and Democracy: Women’s Activism in a Long-Term Political Perspective

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Call for papers for the Yearbook of Women’s History (2015) – Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis

In the year of the Arab Spring, UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon remarked in his opening address to a UN Roundtable on Gender Equality and Democracy: “It is no coincidence that the revolutionary fervor sweeping North Africa and the Middle East began in Tunisia – and that women played such a role. Tunisia was among the first Arab countries to grant women the right to vote, in the late 1950s. Tunisian women have also made important gains in the professions and parliament. Girls growing up with such role models quite naturally expect to follow suit.” He went on to conclude: “While women’s political participation improves democracy, the reverse is also true: democracy is an incubator for gender equality” (UN Roundtable, 4 May 2011). Such a strong public statement suggesting a self-evident connection between women’s empowerment and democratic politics may be read as an auspicious indication of ways in which feminist aspirations have become acknowledged in high places. However, it also raises questions. Most importantly: does every kind of women’s activism really automatically improve democracy? The 2015 Yearbook of Women’s History will devote itself to this issue.

Of the many conceptual issues meriting exploration in depth, there are two we want to foreground. First, there is the issue of how to evaluate the tensions in the democratic content of women’s activism. The growing literature on the entanglement of gender with other forms of social inequality, and the rise of concepts such as “intersectionality”, have given us many insightful studies on the contradictions complicating women’s participation in anti-racist and anti-colonial struggles. While the older literature on women’s activism inside labor organizations and left-wing politics had already introduced awareness of the historical tensions between feminism and socialism, political developments in Europe after 1989 produced renewed interest in this topic (e.g. Kolinsky and Nickel 2003). Despite all this, the historiography of women’s activism as it stands still shows a certain bias – in focusing mainly on “progressive” movements and assuming a positive connection between feminism and left-wing politics, or between women’s activism and democracy. But as the heated debates on women in Nazi Germany after Claudia Koonz’s Mothers in the Fatherland (1988) have made clear, the possibility of women being “rebels against democracy” should also be considered seriously. For this Yearbook we therefore welcome not only studies of women in labour unions and suffrage struggles, but also research on right-wing women activists, the complex political message of fundamentalist women, or groups like Femen and Pussy Riot.

The second issue concerns the democratic forms of women’s activism. While much has been written about early women’s activism in Europe and the United States (e.g. Scott 1996, Applewhite and Levy 1990, Everard 2001, Zagarri 2007), as well as the organizing of women in the widely-studied nineteenth and twentieth centuries (e.g. Offen 2000, 2010, Yearbook 1984, 1985, 1991, 2000, 2009), we know far less about the actual practice of organizing. In this respect most studies of women’s organizing have remained too close to the traditional concerns of political history, which have tended to favor the “why” over the “how”. As a possible exception the recent work of Linda Gordon (2012) on feminism and leadership in participatory democracy comes to mind. We would like to see contributions in the same vein, which would pay careful attention to the ways in which various organizational practices invent and recreate certain forms of the political, possibly also excluding or opposing other such forms, or even presenting themselves as anti- or a-political. We are particularly interested in approaches that try to move beyond dichotomous interpretative frames, such as male versus female styles, utopian versus realistic politics, expressive versus instrumental politics, or top-down versus bottom-up leadership styles. By tackling such issues, the study of women activists and their organizing practices could contribute not only to a more precise understanding of what is often very loosely termed the “empowerment of women”, but also to a broader and more historically grounded understanding of “democracy”.

For more information please send an email to Mieke Aerts (guest editor): m.aerts@wxs.nl

Please send your paper abstract (maximum 300 words) before 10 February 2015 to Evelien Walhout (editorial secretary): e.walhout@let.ru.nl

Proposed time schedule:

Deadline abstracts: 10 Feb. 2015

Deadline first version papers: 1 Apr. 2015

Peer review: 15 May 2015

Deadline second version: 15 June 2015

Final editing: 1 Sept. 2015

Publication: December 2015

Presentatie van het 34e Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis

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Under Fire: Women and World War II

Donderdag 18 december 2014

16.00-18.00 uur, NIOD Amsterdam

Het Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis presenteert de 34e editie van het Jaarboek. Thema van dit nieuwe Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis (Yearbook of Women’s History) is Gender & Oorlog.

Programma

U bent van harte uitgenodigd voor de presentatie van het nieuwe Jaarboek. Het programma bestaat uit:

  • Opening en introductie door gastredacteuren Ralf Futselaar en Eveline Buchheim;
  • Aanbieden van het eerste exemplaar aan Marjan Schwegman, directeur NIOD;
  • Inleiding op filmcompilatie Vrouwen & WW II door Rene Kok, NIOD;
  • Filmcompilatie Vrouwen en WW II;
  • Introductie op Jaarboek 35 door Mieke Aerts;

Afsluitend is er een borrel waarbij er uiteraard gelegenheid is tot aanschaf van het nieuwe Jaarboek voor Vrouwengeschiedenis (€ 19 – Uitgeverij Verloren).

Aanmelding en locatie

Toegang is gratis, aanmelden verplicht via aanmelden@niod.knaw.nl o.v.v. Presentatie JB. Het NIOD bevindt zich aan de Herengracht 380 in Amsterdam. Zie ook www.niod.nl

 

Under Fire: Women and World War II

Vanaf de jaren 1970, toen de aandacht voor de militaire geschiedenis van de wereldoorlog afnam en de sociale geschiedenis van het conflict steeds populairder werd, hebben vrouwen een steeds belangrijkere rol gespeeld in de mainstream verhalen over de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Hierbij bleven de perspectieven op vrouwen en vrouwenrollen echter veelal nog beperkt. Vrouwen werden geportretteerd als verzorgers en als slachtoffers (van met name seksueel geweld) maar zelden als bepaler van hun eigen lot. Dit Jaarboek richt zich op deze laatste groep. Ondanks het leed en slachtofferschap dat veel vrouwen tijdens de oorlog trof, gaf de oorlog anderen nieuwe mogelijkheden en ontwaakte ambities. De bijdragen in deze bundel gaan in op de bewuste en vaak strategische besluitvorming en handelen van vrouwen binnen de beperkingen én kansen die de oorlog ze bood, inclusief de doelbewuste inzet van stereotiepe ideeën over vrouwelijkheid, klasse en ras.

Een groot aantal internationale auteurs behandelt deze en andere onderwerpen in artikelen over onder meer de internering van vrouwelijke collaborateurs in Nederland en België (Helen Grevers); de manieren waarop Duitse elite vrouwen omgaan met genderrelaties en gevoelens van verlies en schuld (Bas Von Benda-Beckmann); de activiteiten van de vrouwen van de Spaanse Falange gedurende de Spaanse Burgeroorlog en Tweede Wereldoorlog (Toni Morant i Ariño); en een dubbelportret van de Nederlandse tienerzusjes en verzetsstrijders Freddi en Truus Oversteegen (Ellis Jonker). De oorlog in de Pacific wordt behandeld in bijdragen over onder andere de verzetsdaden van Aziatische en Euraziatische vrouwen tijdens de Japanse bezetting in Brits-Azië (Yap); het handelen van Marie-Thérèse Brandenburg van Oltsende-Geyssens en haar slimme gebruik van stereotypen om haar naam te zuiveren (Eveline Buchheim); en beelden van vrouwen in oorlogstijd in naoorlogse Chinese oorlogsfilms (Timothy Tsu). Tot slot biedt een selectie van fotomateriaal uit de beeldbank van het NIOD, ingeleid door een essay, unieke beelden van vrouwen in oorlogstijd (Marjan Groot). Tevens hebben auteurs van Atria wederom hun medewerking verleend aan deze bundel.