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Women and Yugoslav Partisans
A History of World War II Resistance

  • Date Published: May 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107091078

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About the Authors
  • The book focuses on one of the most remarkable phenomena of World War II: the mass participation of women, including numerous female combatants, in the communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance. Drawing on an array of sources – archival documents of the Communist Party and Partisan army, wartime press, veteran reminiscences, and Yugoslav literature and cinematography – this study explores the history and postwar memory of the phenomenon. More broadly, it is concerned with changes in gender norms caused by the war, revolution, and establishment of the communist regime that claimed to have abolished inequality between the sexes.

    • The first book on the subject based on archival research
    • Investigates previously unexplored issues of gender, sexuality, and memory, providing a novel interpretation of the Partisan movement and women's mobilization
    • Contributes to current debates in multiple fields of scholarship: gender and war studies, women's/gender history, social history of war, comparative communism, East European studies, military history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Meticulously researched and convincingly argued, this is a fascinating and important story long in need of serious examination - important for its contribution not only to Yugoslav and women's history but also to literature on modernization, comparative communism, and gender and war. I look forward to assigning it!"
    Carol Lilly, Director of International Studies Program, Eastern Europe, Russian, and Soviet History, University of Nebraska, Kearney

    "Batinić breaks new ground in this engaging historical analysis of gender as a critical organizing principle of the Yugoslav partisan movement and the communist system the partisans built. The product of extensive archival research and rich theoretical insight, this book challenges the existing historical narratives of World War II in Yugoslavia, and our understanding of the relationship between gender identity and war."
    Malgorzata Fidelis, University of Illinois, Chicago

    "Batinić has authored a compelling book that reveals the pervasiveness of gender norms and the power of traditional culture. The success of the Partisan Army relied heavily on the incorporation of gender norms and manipulation of local traditions into its ideology to achieve the mass mobilization of the peasants. However, even in the midst of a war for survival, with institutional support for gender equality, the daily practice of gender inequality continued to occur. Batinić honors the memory and sacrifice of these brave women. Much can be learned through this study of the partizanka, from how and why she was created and empowered to how and why she was forgotten."
    H-War

    '… the author presents refreshingly novel interpretations and fascinating transnational comparisons between partizanke and their contemporaries in Mao Zedong’s Red Army, the Greek People’s Liberation Army, the French Resistance, and other such organizations. On certain questions, such as Partisan sexual mores, Batiniæ’s contribution is truly trailblazing. … Batinić’s study is more than just a history of World War II resistance, and its subtitle should in fact read as 'A History of Socialist Yugoslavia' to capture the tremendous ground that this remarkable book covers.' Gregor Kranjc, The American Historical Review

    '[Batiniæ] is sympathetic to her subject matter but also dispassionate and objective; she highlights the many contradictions and ambiguities that were involved in the Partisans’ revolutionary mobilization of women in a highly patriarchal society. The combination of rigorous methodology and extensive research based on archival and other primary sources, as well as an impressive mastery of the literature, comes together splendidly: this book is essential reading for anyone interested in either gender or World War II in Yugoslavia.' Marko Attila Hoare, Slavic Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107091078
    • length: 298 pages
    • dimensions: 231 x 155 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus. 1 map 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    1. 'To the people, she was a character from folk poetry': the party's mobilizing rhetoric
    2. The 'organized women': developing the AFW
    3. The heroic and the mundane: women in the units
    4. The personal as a site of party intervention: privacy and sexuality
    5. After the war was over: legacy
    Concluding remarks.

  • Author

    Jelena Batinić, Stanford University, California
    Jelena Batinić is currently a Fellow in the Thinking Matters Program at Stanford University, California. She is a historian specializing in modern Eastern Europe, World War II and gender history. Her work has been published in edited volumes and journals including the Journal of International Women's Studies and the Journal of Women's History. She has been a Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow in Stanford University's Introduction to the Humanities Program.

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