Marianne or Germania? Nationalizing Women in Alsace, 1870-1946

TitleMarianne or Germania? Nationalizing Women in Alsace, 1870-1946
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsVlossak, Elizabeth
Number of Pages330
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford; New York

Marianne or Germania is the first comprehensive study of modern Alsatian history using gender as a category of historical analysis, and the first to record the experiences of the region's women from 1870 to 1946. Relying on an extensive array of documentary, visual and literary material, national and regional publications, oral testimonies, and previously unused archival sources gathered in France, Germany, and Britain, the book contributes to the growing literature on the relationship between gender, the nation and citizenship, and between nationalism and feminism. It does so by focusing on the roles, both passive and active, that women played in the process of German and French nation-building in Alsace. The work also critiques and corrects the long-held assumptions that Alsatian women were the preservers, after 1871, of a French national heritage in the region, and that women were neglected or disregarded by policy-makers concerned with the consolidation of German, and later French, loyalties. Women were in fact seen as important agents of nation-formation and treated as such. In addition, all the categories of social action implicated in the nation-building process - confession, education, socialization, the public sphere, the domestic setting, the iconography of regional and national belonging - were themselves gendered. Thus nation-building projects impacted asymmetrically on men and women, with far-reaching consequences. Having been 'nationalized' through different 'rounds of restructuring' than men, the women of Alsace were, and continue to be, excluded from national and regional histories, as well as from public memory and official commemoration. Marianne or Germania questions, and ultimately challenges, these practices.

Oxford University Press

Short TitleMarianne or Germania?
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