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81. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Jan A. Burek From Party Leaders to Social Outcasts: Women’s Political Activism during the Establishment of Communist Power in a Polish Industrial Town (Żyrardów, 1945-1948)
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The author presents the changing role of women and of the attitudes towards them in the PWP (the Polish Workers’ Party) and the PSP (the Polish Socialist Party) in a midsize industrial town in Central Poland in the years 1945-1948. During the war, women of the PWP were promoted to the highest positions in the party structures, however, due to the quick reaffirmation of gender roles in the post-1945 period, they were relegated to lower posts. Their political influence was thereafter limited solely to the care sector which was considered their natural domain. In turn, the PSP gained importance in the post-war period only after A. Tomaszewska, a woman and an influential prewar labour organizer, took charge of it in 1946. Under her leadership, the Socialists renewed their ties with women workers of the town’s main textile factory and challenged the Communist party.
82. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Natalia Jarska Women Communists and the Polish Communist Party: from “Fanatic” Revolutionaries to Invisible Bureaucrats (1918-1965)
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The paper aims at tracing a collective portrait and the trajectories of a group of about forty women active in the communist movement after Poland had regained independence (1918), and after the Second World War. I explore the relations between gender, communist activity, and the changing circumstances of the communist movement (conspiracy/state socialism). I argue that interwar activities shaped women communists as radical, uncompromising, and questioning traditional femininity political agents, accepted as comrades at every organisational level. This image and identity, though, contributed to the creation of the gender division of political work after the war, when women were assigned specific roles as guardians of revolutionary past. The post-war situation of state socialism with the communist party as the ruling party assigned women mainly to invisible, secondary positions.
83. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Agnieszka Mrozik Communism as a Generational Herstory: Reading Post-Stalinist Memoirs of Polish Communist Women
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The objective of this article is to revise the dominating narrative of communism as male generational history. With the aid of memoirs of communist women, many of whom started their political activity before WWII and belonged to the power-wielding elites of Stalinist Poland, the author shows that the former constituted an integral part of the generation which had planned a revolution and ultimately took over power. Their texts were imbued with a matrilineal perspective on the history of communism: the authors emphasized that other women had strongly motivated them to become involved in politics. However, the memoirs revealed something more: as an attempt to establish new models of emancipation and to transmit them to younger generations of women, they were to rekindle the memory of women as the active agent of that part of Polish history which contemporary feminists refuse to remember.
84. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Ştefan Bosomitu Fighting their War during a “Foreign” War: Women anti-Fascist/Communist Activism during World War II in Romania
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The article discusses this intricate issue of women’s anti-Fascist/communist activism during World War II in Romania. I am particularly interested in the relationship that developed between the Romanian Communist Party and the women who joined the movement in the complicated context of World War II. The article is attempting to assess whether women’s increased involvement in the communist organization was due to the previous and continuous politics of the RCP, or it was a mere consequence of unprecedented circumstances. The article also addresses issues related to the legacy of the anti-Fascist/communist women’s struggle during World War II, in their attempt to establish postwar public careers, but also the manner in which their efforts and activisms were recognized and/or recompensed (or not) after the war.
85. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Alexandr Fokin Women and Their “Radiant Future”: Construction of Communism in the USSR in Women’s Letters to the Government (1960s)
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In 1961, at the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a new program of the C.P.S.U. was adopted. The adoption of the Third Program of the C.P.S.U. was accompanied by a “nationwide discussion”. People expressed their opinions regarding the draft of the new Program at meetings and lectures and in their letters to various institutions.Naturally, not all the women actively demanded changes; for some there was probably no such thing as “women’s communism”. However, the individual and collective letters attest to the complex of expectations that may be analyzed within the conceptual framework of “women’s communism”.The body of letters to various publications illustrate the most popular measures which, according to the letter writers, should have been implemented during the period of the “full-scale construction of communism” and, therefore, were thought of as intrinsic elements of communism.
86. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Anna Carr Post-Stalinist Body Economy: Female Corporeality, Desire, and Schizophrenia
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The article provides an argument on the Soviet system of the early post-Stalinist years reflected in Haidamaky by Yurii Mushketyk. Through the concept of “body economy” inspired by Deleuze and Guattari’s schizoanalysis, it investigates the case of the female corporeality hidden in the novel. The article contests that the female body is part of the economy of desire flows which connected it to the male body. It also states that, after the death of Stalin, the reorganised Soviet regime demonstrates schizophrenic states as reflected in Mushketyk’s Haidamaky.
87. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 8
Iva Jelušić The Mother in the Yugoslav Partisan Myth: Creative Revisions and Subversive Messages in Women-Centred Narratives
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The foundations of the narrative about the partisan war in socialist Yugoslavia (1941 – 1945) drew from the familiar tradition of folktales and prompted the moulding of a group of characters who, as a rule, followed a pre-established sequence of events, offering a rather polished image of the People’s Liberation Struggle (Narodnooslobodilačka borba, NOB). This paper will focus on one archetype that found its place in the war myth–the partisan mother. The aim of the paper is to illustrate how the women who experienced the armed conflict in Yugoslavia described women’s wartime engagement. More specifically, it shows the extent of their participation in the promotion of the officially established image of the partisan mother and the aspects in which their narrative reimagined, enriched and challenged the heritage of the People’s Liberation Struggle.
88. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Dalia Báthory History of Science During the Cold War Under the Microscope
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The general post-communist perspective of historiography on the Cold War era is that the world was divided into two blocs, so different and isolated from one another that there was no interaction between them whatsoever. As revisionist literature is expanding, the uncovered data indicates a far more complex reality, with a dynamic East-West exchange of goods, money, information, human resources, and technology, be it formal or informal, official or underground, institutional or personal. The current volume History of Communism in Europe: Breaking the Wall: National and Transnational Perspectives on East-European Science tries to confer more detail to this perspec­tive, by bringing together research papers that focus on the history of science during the Cold War. The articles cover a wide range of subjects, from biology to philosophy and from espionage to medical practices, all sharing an ideological context that continuously impacted and molded the professional relations among scholars from both sides of the Iron Curtain.
89. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
William deJong Lambert “The Difference Between No. 1 1928 and No. 1 1930 Is Great Indeed.”: Theodosius Dobzhansky’s Self-Imposed Exile From Soviet Russia - the “Dr. Zhivago Period”
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This article chronicles the correspondence between Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975) and his colleagues in the USSR in the years following his arrival in the United States on what was to have been a one-year fellowship working in the laboratory of T.H. Morgan at Columbia University. These letters chronicle a period during which Dobzhansky not only realized the enormous potential of Drosophila genetics for unlocking the secrets of evolution, but also that con­tinuing this research would require finding a way to remain in the United States longer than either the Soviet Academy of Sciences, or the Rockefeller Foundation, would allow. Dobzhansky’s exchanges during this period with mentors such as Yuri Filipchenko and Nikolai Vavilov, as well as fellow students and colleagues such as Nikolai Medvedev, highlight the precarious game Dobzhansky played as he attempted to appear eager to return to his homeland, while secretly maneuvering to delay it. By the time it was over Filipchenko would die an early death of meningitis and Vavilov—who had originally been urging Dobzhansky to return and contribute to development of genetics in Russia—would now advise him to remain in the USA. Dobzhansky was nearly forced to return to the USSR after a routine trip to Canada to renew his visa, an outcome that would surely have resulted in imprisonment or worse. In the end he was allowed to stay, however Dobzhansky’s defection was so resented by the Soviet regime that even decades later he would remain an “un-person” in his homeland, whose name and contributions were never officially acknowledged during his lifetime, and his attempts at reconciliation were rejected.
90. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Mirosław Sikora From Promising Agent to Suspicious Francophile: Professor Stefan Węgrzyn and His Contacts with Professor Jean Charles Gille Through the Lens of the Polish (counter) Intelligence (1958-1976)
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This paper examines how the Polish communist intelligence service attempted to recruit professor Stefan Węgrzyn, who was a prominent specialist on automatic control and computer science in post-war Poland. Eventually, Węgrzyn’s refusal to cooperate with the Polish spy agency, together with his profound relationship with French scientist and servomechanism expert Jean Charles Gille, made them both targets of surveillance orchestrated by the communist security apparatus.In the broader context of human-intelligence studies, this case study involves the problem of moral ambiguity. We experience informative examples of scientists, who often – not only during the Cold War – have had to choose between commitment to the rules of the academic world, along with its openness and transparency on the one hand, and patriotism including an ethos of secrecy for the sake of the homeland’s prosperity, on the other hand.
91. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Luciana Jinga Science and Politics During the Cold War – The Controversial Case of Sexology in Communist Romania
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The paper investigates how formal/informal networks of scientists, while facilitating the scientific West-East transfer in the Cold War context, shaped the scientific field of sexology by imposing personal scientific credos, in a particular national context. The paper shows that in the Cold War context, sexual science was present in Communist Romania, but neither as imitation of the regional scholarship, nor as a simple reproduction of western advancements in the field. The post-war Romanian scholarship in the field of sexology was the result of scientific interests of Stefan Milcu – long time party protégée and respected member of the international scientific community – and of its personal circle that included remarkable personalities such as Victor Săhleanu or Tudor Stoica. Presenting the public with information about sexual and re­productive functions, and sometimes even elaborated descriptions of sexual techniques, certainly was never meant to enhance the individual gratification or provoke any form of sexual revolution. The Romanian production of sex/educational manuals and of sexology works was part of a state policy towards a better, stable, family life, aiming for collective and social happiness.
92. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Irina Nastasă-Matei Academic Migration and Cultural Diplomacy During the Cold War: Humboldt Fellowships for Romania in the Context of Eastern Europe
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Romania was the first country in the Eastern bloc to initiate diplo­matic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany. On January 31, 1967, the Embassy of the FRG was opened in Bucharest, Romania. In this context, which marked the intensification of the cultural exchange between the two countries, with special attention paid to the exchange of students and researchers, in this article I aim to tackle the situation of the Humboldt fellows from Romania during 1965-1989, as agents of knowledge transfer and actors of soft-power strategies between the two blocks.
93. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Corina Doboș Swinging Statistics: Population Research and Political Construction in 20th Century Romania
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The present article proposes an examination of the disciplinary evolution of demographic research in Communist Romania, as a case study of the mutually constitutive, multifaceted relationship between science, politics, ideology and memory. My research tries to compensate for the lack of access to the archives of the central institutions for population research during Communism (the National Institute of Statistics and the National Commission of Demography), by combining published sources (mainly scientific works, but also histories of demography and personal memoirs), with different archival documents, mainly coming from personal funds of two population researchers (Sabin Manuilă and Ștefan Milcu), from the fund of the Central Commission for Planning, of the Chancellery of the Romanian Communist Party and from diplomatic archives. I pay attention to the side of the story offered by the actors themselves, focusing on the way in which the legacy of interwar demography was assumed and invoked in different post-war accounts regarding the history of demographic discipline in Romania. By doing so, I seek to contribute to writing a history of science as a product of complex entanglements between the different factors that circumscribe the process of knowledge production within a larger social and political context: specific professional interests and institutional settings, subjective interpretations, ideological pressures and attempts of political control.
94. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Daniela Maci The Status of Philosophy During the Communist Regime in Romania
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The text approaches the status of Romanian philosophy during the communist period from two points of view: a) that of speech: while a new philosophical vocabulary becomes official, the old one fades away; b) that of the communist educational system. My analysis will consider the first period (1950-1960) in which “the new philosophy” (Dialectical Materialism, DIAMAT) was disseminated in society, and the second period (1970-1980) in which Marxism could not be reduced to DIAMAT. Are these periods subsumed to the universal ideology (DIAMAT) or not?
95. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 9
Cristian Vasile The Institute of Philosophy in Communist Romania Under the Regime of Gheorghiu-Dej, 1949-65
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This paper examines some aspects of the institutional history of post-war Romanian philosophy, with a special focus on the Institute of Philosophy of the Academy of People’s Republic of Romania. The aim of this article is to shed more light on the main aspects of philosophical research during cultural Stalinism, and to underline the inflexion points within Romanian “philosophical” writings between 1948 and 1965. I examined the lack of human resources and its impact on the emergence of Marxist-Leninist philosophy, as well as the main research topics studied at the Philosophy Section of the Institute of History and Philosophy and Institute of Philosophy especially in the 1950s. I focused also on the context of unmasking and purging of the “philosophical” front mainly in late 1950s, underlining the Agitprop fight against Revisionism and “bourgeois” influence in social sciences. The avatars of the philosophical field are analysed through the lens of professor’s Constantin Ionescu Gulian’s destiny as an important manager of the institutions producing philosophy during the aforementioned period.
96. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Mihai Stelian Rusu, Corneliu Pintilescu, Dalia Báthory “Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Socio‑economic and Political Consequences 30 Years After
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The fall of the Berlin Wall stood for a symbol of change and freedom across the socialist bloc and inspired the inhabitants in Eastern Europe to take action and revolt against dictatorial regimes. A long and often painful process of social, economic and political transformation began. Scholars grouped their research dealing with such transformations under the label of “Transitology” and the developing subfields of “transitional justice” and “memory studies” expanded and caught the academic interest. The present argument looks at the emergence and evolvement of these fields in parallel with a growing and changing society.
97. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Mihai Stelian Rusu Winds of Toponymic Change: Mapping Street Name Changes in Postsocialist Romania
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This paper examines the street name changes brought about in Romanian cities and towns during the period of postsocialist transformations. Based on a complete dataset comprising the entire urban street nomenclature existing prior to the regime change of 1989, the paper explores the geography of postsocialist toponymic change, as well as the latter’s temporal dynamic. Statistical analyses reveal major discrepancies in the scope of street name changes between Romania’s historical regions. The paper argues that one important factor that structures these regional variations is the ethnopolitics played out at the level of each locality. The analysis concludes by pointing out the instrumentality of street names as a powerful means of politicising the urban landscape, as well as their vulnerability, especially in the aftermath of significant political changes.
98. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Luciana Jinga Gendered Dynamics of the Humanitarian Commitment for Children in the Postsocialist Context. A Case Study: France (initiator)‑ Romania (beneficiary) (1989‑2007)
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The paper explores the extent to which “gender”, as category of analysis, can be a useful tool in explaining the nature and the impact of humanitarian aid of western organizations towards children in Europe, between 1980 and 2007, using as case study the relation France (initiator)‑Romania (beneficiary). By Humanitarian aid I refer to the material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, as it evolved during the twentieth century and culminated with the emergence of a new, transnational humanitarianism, with permanent, professional actors.”. For this study gender is understood as social construction and the assignment of specific roles, responsibilities and expectations to women and to men in the social sector, which includes the policies regarding health, education and sanitation.
99. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Davjola Ndoja German National Socialist Black Metal: Contemporary Neo‑Nazism and the Ongoing Struggle with Antisemitism
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This paper is an exploration of the ideology of National Socialism in the work and activity of the German terrorist group and Black Metal band Absurd. Historians are divided—and many have criticized how postwar Germany dealt with denazification—, but the fact is that Nazi ideology has been part of the political and social spheres in Germany since then. Neo‑Nazism saw a revival especially in the first years after unification, which coincided with the beginning of Absurd’s story and career. Today, they hold the title of the National Socialist Black Metal act par excellence, with a 28‑year music career actively supporting and promoting Nazi ideology. Absurd makes a very interesting case study, since the band has played a key role in preserving and transmitting Nazi ideology, not just in Germany, but also worldwide.
100. History of Communism in Europe: Volume > 10
Andreea Cârstea Fighting “The Ghosts of the Past”. Communism and Lustration as Key Topics of the First Romanian Electoral Debate (May 17, 1990) – A Review of Context and Discourse –
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The general perception regarding the political discourse produced in Romania after 1989 is that the actors (politicians, media, and the public) prioritized a number of themes, which, in spite of their circumstantial dimensions, tended to become strongly established topics. From this perspective, transitional politics became a discursive locus for a number of issues, the actors repeatedly returning to the same ‘well‑worn roads’. Using as corpus samples of discourse from the first electoral campaign post‑1989, the study analyses if and how the controversial theme of the recent historical legacies became a crucial topic during that interval, investigating the main approaches used by the actors and discussing whether or not these settled the frame of interpretation for the following interval. The paper draws on critical and historical discourse analysis, interpreting discourse as both text and context, language and action, discursive event and social situation. It represents an analysis of a topic that, over the years, has become a thematic keystone in political discourse.