Gendered Representations of the Nation’s Past and Future

TitleGendered Representations of the Nation’s Past and Future
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsWenk, Silke
EditorBlom, Ida, Karen Hagemann, and Catherine Hall
Book TitleGendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century
PublisherBerg Publishers
CityOxford, UK ; New York, NY, USA

Gendered Representations of the Nation’s Past and Future is an essay included in the book Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century.
"With this book the contributors have consolidated the effort of scholars in women's, gender and feminist history to highlight gender as an important analytical category in studies of the nation and nationalism." Publisher's synopsis
In recent years, nations, nationalism, and the nation-state have enjoyed a resurgence of scholarly interest. The focus on the twentieth century and in particular the post-colonial and post-socialist era, however, has neglected the crucial developmental phase of modern nationalism, when basic patterns were created that were to exert long-term influence on the political culture of nations in and outside Europe. This text examines how gender and nation legitimize and limit the access of individuals and groups to national movements and the resources of nation-states. From problems of inclusion, exclusion and difference, national wars and military systems to national symbols, rituals and myths, contributors present a diverse array of critical perspectives, methodological approaches, and case-studies that are intellectually provocative and will help to guide future research as well as orient it toward international comparison. This book raises new questions about nation and gender and provides an assessment of the state of research in different countries for all those interested in cultural and social history, politics, anthropology and gender studies. Publisher's Summary from Book Jacket

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Excerpt from a review by Merry Wiesner-Hanks
This collection of fifteen essays is the product of a symposium with the same title, organized by Karen Hagemann and held in Berlin in 1998. The contents include four introductory essays, by Ida Blom, Geoff Eley, Ruth Roach Pierson, and Silke Wenk, that speak to general theoretical issues and make comparisons. These are followed by eleven case studies from around the world, organized into four sections: National States, Ethnicity and Gender Order; National Wars, Military Systems and Gender Relations; Nations in Social and Culture Practice—Gender-Specific Participation in National Movements; National Symbols, Rituals, and Myths—Gender Images and Cultural Representations of Nations. The authors include scholars from Germany, Britain, the United States, Australia, South Africa, Norway, the Czech Republic, Latvia, and Canada, and the essays are similarly wide-ranging, though only Beth Baron’s analysis of Egyptian nationalism focuses individuals not of European background.
Many of the essays explicitly begin with Benedict Anderson’s idea of nations as “imagined communities,” (Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism, [London, Verso, 1983, rev. ed. 1991] and explore the ways in which those communities are profoundly gendered from their creation.

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