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Women’s and gender history in Southeast Europe in the 20th Century: oral history, ethnographic and biographical approaches as a way to advance intersectionality

Local cooperation partner: Dr. Rory Archer, Centre for Southeast European Studies
Incoming Senior Fellow: Dr. Chiara Bonfiglioli, University College Cork, Ireland
Incoming Junior Fellows: Rachel Trode, European University Institute in Florence, Italy & Drivalda Delia, MA, University of Regensburg, Germany

Duration: February 2022 to September 2023
Symposium/talk: tba


Gender and women’s history in SEE has been witnessing a considerable interest in the past two decades, particularly when it comes to the history of women’s participation to interwar
religious associations, antifascist resistance movements, state socialist women’s organizations, the second feminist wave, and peace movements during the Yugoslav wars. Most recently a number of studies have also interrogated the interrelations between gender and women’s history, social history, and labour history. Despite such scholarly advancements in the field, however, gender is often still treated in isolation rather than in its intersection with other factors of social differentiation, despite the fact that intersectionality as a theory and as a method is well established in both the social sciences and in the humanities. When it comes to the application of intersectional, post-socialist and post-colonial approaches, women’s and gender history does not seem to follow suit, even if a number of philosophical and political debates are happening within the field of women’s and gender studies in the region, both on intersectionality and on the necessity to combine post-socialist and post-colonial studies.

Our project will highlight how oral history, ethnographic and biographical approaches can help us to challenge a simplified understanding of gendered transformations during the socialist period and in its aftermath, and to integrate ongoing debates about intersectional, postsocialist and post-colonial approaches and interpretations within women’s and gender history in SEE.

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