Constructing the “new” Yugoslav woman: a testimony/testament of emancipation at the end of WWII
Lecture by Danijela Majstorović, University of Banja Luka (Bosnia) organized by Jeff Diamanti
The construction of the new Yugoslav woman began during and after World War II. Woman’s emancipation from patriarchy was an important goal of the Antifascist women’s front (AFŽ). This new woman actively participated in the war, she was supposed to get an education and enter the labor force. This change meant a historic break with the previous agrarian economy towards greater modernization and industrialization which meant more women getting an education and entering the world of labor. The media from that period, newspapers and magazines such as Naša žena, Glas, Žena u borbi, represent women as equal subjects: fighters, nurses, workers, national heroines etc. and not passive observers. The “Yugoslav woman” had to be modern, educated, and self-sacrificing, “neither a Serb, Croat nor a Muslim” but all of that as a Yugoslav.
The corpus of the study includes around twenty issues of the magazine Nova žena between 1945-1946 as well some additional materials such as meeting minutes from the available AFŽ archive.
The aim of this presentation is to look at the available archive material in an attempt to describe the main emancipatory discourses constructing this “new” Yugoslav woman, through argumentative and rhetorical strategies, metaphors and lexical and grammatical items. In addition, I would like to see to which extent these constructions and its textual realizations serve as a testimony/testament of women’s emancipation especially in the context of the present day “post socialist” condition.
Danijela Majstorović is Full Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies at the University of Banja Luka’s English department teaching English Linguistics, Discourse Analysis and Cultural Studies. She was a Fulbright fellow at UCLA in 2012-2013 and Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta in 2014. Her research interests involve discourse studies, critical theory, gender and feminism, post-colonial and postcommunist studies. She published over 30 journal articles, co-authored a monograph Youth Ethnic and National Identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Social Science Approaches (Palgrave, 2013), authored Diskursi periferije (Biblioteka XX vek, Beograd 2013) and Diskurs, moć i međunarodna zajednica (Filozofski fakultet u Banjoj Luci, 2007). She edited three volumes: Living With Patriarchy: Discursive Construction of Gendered Subjects Acros Cultures (John Benjamins, 2011), U okrilju nacije (2011 CKSP), and Kritičke kulturološke studije u postjugoslovenskom prostoru (Filološki fakultet u Banjoj Luci, 2012). She produced and directed two documentary films: Counterpoint for Her (2004) and Dream Job (2006). She is part of the Banja Luka Social Center (BASOC) that deals with memory politics, social justice and workers’ rights and feminism.
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