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Celebrating women : gender, festival culture, and Bolshevik ideology, 1910-1939 /
Choi Chatterjee.
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2002.
x, 223 p. : ill.
0822941783 (cloth : alk. paper)
More Details
Pittsburgh, Pa. : University of Pittsburgh Press, c2002.
0822941783 (cloth : alk. paper)
general note
A version of chapter 6 was previously published in "Soviet Heroines and Public Identity, 1930-1939," The Carl Beck Papers in Russian and East European Studies, no. 1402 (Pittsburgh, October 1999).
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Choi Chatterjee is associate professor of history at California State University, Los Angeles.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-12-01:
Chatterjee (California State Univ., Los Angeles) attempts to use the early Soviet celebration of International Women's Day as a lens through which to examine Soviet Marxist views of women and the promises the regime made to them. She has some interesting insights into the contradictions between perceptions of women as backward "babies" and ritual representations of the "new Soviet woman" as the beneficiary of Soviet polices, including the most traumatic aspects of the first Five Year Plan. She has also uncovered useful examples of Women's Day propaganda. Unfortunately, however, the work is seriously weakened by lack of focus or clear organizational structure, and the author's grasp of Russian, Soviet, and women's history outside her immediate subject appears weak. Only advanced students will be able to use the work, and they will find that much of the material summarizes recent work. Throughout, the book lacks evidence of a strong editorial hand, and suffers badly from it. From malapropisms and poor grammar to instances of "ventriloquism," when the text takes on the qualities of her sources (ranging from Soviet hagiography to postmodern discourse analysis), too often the author's voice is drowned out. J. Zimmerman University of Pittsburgh
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2002
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Bowker Data Service Summary
This text gives an analysis of both Bolshevik attitudes towards women and invented state rituals surrounding Women's Day in Russia and the early Soviet Union.
Unpaid Annotation
The first International Women's Day was celebrated in Copenhagen in 1910 and adopted by the Bolsheviks in 1913 as a means to popularize their political program among factory women in Russia. By 1918, Women's Day had joined May Day and the anniversary of the October Revolution as the most important national holidays on the calendar.Through the years, Women's Day celebrations temporarily empowered women as they sang revolutionary songs, acted as strong protagonists in plays, and marched in processions carrying slogans about gender equality. In speeches, state policies, reports, historical sketches, plays, cartoons, and short stories, the passive Russian woman was transformed into an iconic Soviet Woman, one who could survive, improvise, and prevail over the most challenging of circumstances.Choi Chatterjee analyzes both Bolshevik attitudes towards women and invented state rituals surrounding Women's Day in Russia and the early Soviet Union to demonstrate the ways in which these celebrations were a strategic form of cultural practice that marked the distinctiveness of Soviet civilization, legitimized the Soviet mission for women, and articulated the Soviet construction of gender. Unlike previous scholars who have criticized the Bolsheviks for repudiating their initial commitment to Marxist feminism, Chatterjee has discovered considerable continuity in the way that they imagined the ideal woman and her role in a communist society.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: Holidays and Historyp. 1
International Women's Day: Rituals of Revolutionp. 10
The Two Stories of the February Revolutionp. 37
Why Do We Need a Women's Holiday? The Contest for Definitionp. 59
Popular Theater and Women Onstagep. 83
The Language of Liberationp. 105
The Public Identity of Soviet Womenp. 135
Epiloguep. 159
Notesp. 163
Selected Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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