Session Submission Summary

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Nationalism and Women’s Emancipation: A Comparative Perspective

Sat, November 7, 10:00 to 11:30am, Virtual Convention Platform, Room 24

Session Submission Type: Panel

Brief Description

This panel explores the interplay between gender and nationalism and how Eastern European women's movements responded to these questions in their political actions and ideas. It offers a comparative approach to questions of emancipatory politics that complicates traditionalized nationalist narratives. For instance, Ivan Simic in his presentation on communist gender policies in socialist Yugoslavia and Bulgaria will show how communist women’s organizations led the drive to “de-veil” Muslim women because of nationalistic and state-building concerns, and how Muslim women responded in kind. Natalie Cornett will speak about how various Polish women’s groups in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries approached women’s equality and emancipation, with some choosing to radically reimagine family and nation, while others promoted the idea of what she calls “separate and unequal” that left women in subservience to a patriarchal national ideal. Finally, Judit Acsády will speak about various stages in the Hungarian women’s movement, starting with a close alliance of women’s groups with nation-building projects in the nineteenth century, to the interwar period, when women’s emancipation was viewed as a threat to the national interest. All three presentations show the difficulty in building women’s movements that champion women’s equality and solidarity over nationalistic divisions and concerns.

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