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A Biographical Dictionary of Women's Movements and Feminisms

Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries

This book was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2006 by Choice Magazine.

Francisca de Haan
is Professor of Gender Studies at the Central European University in Budapest.

Krassimira Daskalova
teaches Modern European Cultural History at the Faculty of Philosophy, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Anna Loutfi
is currently teaching at the Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest.

Contains 150 expertly-researched biographical portraits (with pictures) of women and men who were active in, or part of, women's movements and feminisms in 22 countries in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Thus it challenges the widely-held belief that there was no feminism in this part of Europe. The biographical portraits not only show that feminists existed here, but also that they were widespread and diverse, and included Romanian princesses, Serbian philosophers and peasants, Latvian and Slovakian novelists, Albanian teachers, Hungarian Catholic social workers, Austrian factory workers, Bulgarian feminist scientists and socialist feminists, Russian radicals and philanthropists, Turkish republican leftist political activists and nationalists, internationally recognized Greek feminist leaders, and so on-women, and some men, from all walks of life. Their stories together constitute a rich tapestry of feminist activity, rejecting the notion that either there was no feminism here, or that it was 'imported from the West.' Women in every society and in every generation protest gender injustice, and any suggestion to the contrary is a denial of the intelligence and human agency of countless women and men, including those featured in this Biographical Dictionary. The biographies not only provide a window onto the historical background of contemporary feminism (thus giving present-day women's movements the 'historical support' that they need and are entitled to), in some cases they demonstrate explicitly the historical continuities between feminisms past and present.

The editors conclude that "if our biographical subjects were able to bridge the contradictions between feminism, nationalism, socialism, communism, philanthropy and revolution in their own lives-then surely historians, including women's historians, must adopt similarly open approaches to their own research and methodologies, rather than creating forms of closure through the use of predefined and potentially limited categories."

Acknowledgments; Often Used Abbreviations and Symbols; Maps; Introduction; Subjects per Country; 150 Entries; Index of Persons and Organizations

"The Dictionary, which grew out of a project to create a calendar with 'biographical portraits of feminists from Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe,' has stong inspirational value and a human interest angle that attend this genre. Along with the original research, it should provide a strong basis for further scholarly investigation into this fascinating topic." - Slavic and East European Journal

"The excellent team of authors represents two generations of post-1989 women’s historians in CESEE, many of whom published path-breaking research in their respective countries. The main goal of this dictionary is to offer reliable information on the history of women’s movements and feminism in CESEE. The editors’ aim is to provide comparative materials for students and researchers looking at the history of feminism and the women’s movement from a transnational perspective.
What unifies this project, is its political aim: to provide a “historical support” for contemporary feminism in the region by presenting it as a historical continuation of once interrupted indigenous women’s movements, rather than as simply a post-1989 Western ideological import. Thus, the project responds to the very real problem of the deepening and institutionalizing of gender inequality in the countries of the region (mostly post-communist ones)." - Ab Imperio

"Anyone interested in women’s movements and feminism in Europe will find a wealth of useful information here – much of it otherwise inaccessible in the English language. The work of synthesising and analysing women’s and feminist movements in most of the countries of central, eastern and south eastern Europe still lies ahead. This volume provides an important start, and is a very welcome reference book." - Gender & History

"Das große Verdienst des Buchs besteht vor allem darin, sich nicht nur auf gut erforschte Räume wie etwa Russland oder Polen konzentriert zu haben und damit anhand kurzer, aber sorgfältig recherchierter Biographien die Vielfalt und Unterschiedlichkeit von Emanzipationsbewegungen im mittel-, ost und südosteuropäischen Raum vor Augen geführt zu haben. Das Werk ist gerade in dieser Hinsicht eine Fundgrube, die damit allerdings auch Forschungsdesiderate deutlich markiert." - Osteuropa

698 pages
ISBN 978-963-7326-39-4 cloth $69.95 / € 58.95 / £47.00