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Unveiling Muslim Women in Socialist Yugoslavia: The Body Between Socialism, Secularism, and Colonialism

Author:

Tea Hadziristic

Analitika Centre for Social Research, BA
About Tea
Tea Hadžiristić, currently Junior Researcher at Analitika Centre for Social Research in Sarajevo, Bosnia, holds an MSc in International Relations Theory from the London School of Economics, obtained with distinction in December 2013. Her research interests include gender and militarization, Balkan history, feminism, and religion.
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Abstract

The creation of the second Yugoslavia (1943–1992) heralded the legal and economic emancipation of women, a social change deeply indebted to the role of female combatants in the Partisan army, and catalyzed by post-war state-building. The Anti-Fascist Women’s Front (AFŽ) was a primary agent in rapid social changes that followed. Along with education and literacy campaigns, from 1947–1950 local chapters of the AFŽ organized campaigns to unveil Muslim women in Yugoslavia, as the practice was deemed incompatible with economic and political participation as well as multiethnic unity. This paper focuses on the Bosnian case, though unveiling also took place in Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, and Montenegro. This paper investigates how state secularism put women’s ‘emancipated’ bodies to the fore as signifiers of progress and modernity. The process of unveiling in Yugoslavia is analyzed both within the context of the reconstruction and the consolidation of the socialist state, and the nexus of ideological conflicts in the region. Unveiling drew on Orientalist discourses, as well as the promise of a radical socialist future and an indigenous Yugoslav feminism, while popular support for the AFŽ problematizes notions of the oppressive nature of state-sanctioned feminism. The paper interrogates the discourses surrounding these campaigns of unveiling, as they draw on and confound various dichotomies.
DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.10137
How to Cite: Hadziristic, T., (2017). Unveiling Muslim Women in Socialist Yugoslavia: The Body Between Socialism, Secularism, and Colonialism. Religion and Gender. 7(2), pp.184–203. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.10137
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Published on 31 Dec 2017.
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