Features of memory of female social past and laborof historian

Cover Page


The reconstruction of the past, which is characterized by close attention to gender issues, involves a complex process of decoding the texts read and a special approach to theirunderstanding,as it should be aimed at reconstructing the ways of cultural representation of belonging to a particular gender, the peculiarities of its perception in different eras, standardizingbehavior and way of thinking. The Russian historiographical tradition,for decades constrained by the requirement of strict compliance with a certain theoreticalparadigm, lost the ability to go beyond the descriptiveness (even when there were no longer prohibitions).Therein liesthe difference of modern Russian women’s and gender studies in history from Western ones. However, the factual developments of researchers in this area are really great, and their history should be started not with the 1990s, when in the country there was established the direction of gender sociology,gender political science, or the study of the philosophy of feminism, but from the 21st century, when the interest of Russian researchersin the study of history of peasant family revealed the features of the social status of women in it. If such an approach to the history of science seems to someone too broad, then the history of the scientific analysis and scientific memory of women’s social past shouldbe started with the outset of the Soviet era, when the history of women in our country arose and for many decadesestablished itself in the scientific field as the history of revolutionaries. It is clear that women’s history of the Soviet era was politicized;it washistory of solving women’s issue in the USSR. But for this subject, it would have been much harder to convey the idea of recreating the picture of women’s social past, to fight against the stereotype that history cannot be “gender-determined”, and even more so to introduce the new gender conceptby the Russian historiography.Thehistory of revolutionaries determined therate of the development and, so to speak, “domestication” of the new Western idea.Even those Russian scientists who now publish their articles on sociology of genderin sociological journals often work with the factual materialwhich was collected by historians (sometimes many decades ago) and introduced into scientific circulation in the articles and books on history of solving women’s issue in the USSR. In fact, they themselves are engaged in gender history… It is thanks to the Soviet tradition of studying women’s protest and revolutionary past (history of women’s participation in the strikes of the early 20th century, and then history of women’s departments and delegate meetings),thanks to the skills of working with documents,which was providedby the Soviet university education, thanks to theprofound academic cultureestablished in those years, that the publications on women’s history in our science were quite numerous and well-founded. It took philosophers decades to introduce the conceptual apparatus, to read sources; but historians did it instantaneously. However, whereasin their sciences sociologists and historians eventually develop the direction of gender studies, in the sciences of the past there was practically no feminist challenge to historiography. On the contrary, there is developing the direction of women’s history with the inclusion of some gender aspects or subjects, sometimes methods, but at the same time it is aimed at creating an approach which is an alternative to ideologization and politicization. This creates exceptional opportunities for scientific experiment, testing of new approaches, true interdisciplinarity. In this issue of the RUDN Journal of Russian History, there are collected the works on the theory of women’s history, the historiography of thisdirectionin Russia and partly abroad. The articles presented in this issueclearly demonstrate the inexhaustibility of women’s issues;and this despite the fact that in the historical community in the context of the conservative turn of the early 2000s, there was a persistentprejudiceagainst the gender concept as irrelevant, not suitable for domestic historiography,which is ready to accept the “women’s theme” onlyfrom the perspective of economic history and which isinterested init only in connection with the socio-economic status of women of different social strata. Based on a variety of materials, including archival ones, the authors of the journal not only reveal new facets of gender, but also give original interpretations of women’s themes in the history of Russia. At the same time, the pluralism of opinions inherent in the Journal makes it possible to objectively consider those aspects of gender issues that remain unexplored.The topics of the articles were suggested by the authors themselves, based on their own scientific interests and preferences. Nataia L. Pushkareva’s article “Autobiographies’ heuristic value for genderology scientists (comparing the theoretical results of Russian and foreign autobiographical studies)” provides the comparison of the theoretical results of the autobiographical studies conducted by Russian and foreign researchers. It identifies and emphasizes the importance of different approaches, including philosophical, psychological and linguistic ones in the analysis of life stories in general and women’s life stories in particular. In the study by Olga V. Churakova, there are analyzed the problems and prospects of the use of written sources of World War I period, creating exceptional opportunities for the reconstruction of gender-oriented history of emotions. The author ranks emotional communities by social affiliation and “audibility” of voices in history that is the representativeness of the sources. This “ranking” is valuable and promising. The article draws attention to the fact thatthe least represented in terms of emotions was the largest community of Russia at that time - peasant women who left their impressions only in letters to the front. Moreover, there are preserved only those letters which were censored. Sergey I. Resnyansky and Irina S. Amiantova have made a review of the publications on women’s and gender history of Russia. The authors show the formation of the modern approaches to thepresentation of history of formationand development of the gender discourse. At the same time, the article emphasizes the lack of study of the interaction of gender dynamics with the peculiarities of the historical path of the country. According to the authors,in the gender studies there is a lack of attention to detail, which makes it difficult to identify and explicate the national specificity of gender. The section “Women in work” shows the historical aspects of gender problems. Thus, the article by Olga M. Morozova, Tatiana I. Troshina and Elena A. Yalozina examines the involvement of women in the sphere of production. Using the documentary materials of the tsarist and Soviet times, the authors compares the features of not only economic activity of women of the two eras, but also their attitude to work and state power. The significant problem of the formation of a new social group, namely the secular intelligentsia in the Muslim environment of the Volga region of the early 20th century, is raised in the article by Lilia R. Gabdrafikova. Based on the personal documents, as well as works of art, the author shows the difficulties thata teacher of national schools (mugallima) had to face; mugallima opposed the patriarchal society and bureaucracy. The author’s conclusion is noteworthy: on the one hand, Tatar feministsconsidered the work of mugallima as an alternative to family, and on the otherhand, they believed that the service to the interests of the nation was more important than private life. Valentina A. Veremenko considers the specifics of the social status of female domestic urban servants in post-reform Russia. Using a wide range of sources, including ego-documents, the author emphasizes their unequal social status, lack of any guarantees from employers, as well as the difficult living conditions due tothe widespread sexual harassment and ill-treatment. At the same time, the article notes the low professional level of servants recruited mainly from peasant girls. The author stresses the ability of some of the servants not only to adapt to the new life, but also to defend their rights as peasant young women got education,got to know the judicial institutions, and there intensified the activities of various organizations involved in helping servants. Irina V. Sinova considers the previously unexplored subject of the use of female labor in the public service at the end of the 19th century. Based on archival materials, she showsthat under the influence of modernization processes as well as changes in public consciousness, the authorities of the Ministry of Marine gradually began to employ women in various positions.At the same time, the author draws attention to the fact that the use of women’s labor in the public service was hindered both by the lack of legislative regulation and by the male prejudices of theauthorities, which due to the objective circumstances were forced to make concessions and employ a limited number of women. On the basis of archival materials, Olga M. Semerikova studies the gender aspect in the activitiesof agricultural workers’ communes of the early Soviet society. The author convincingly substantiates thechoice of the topic not only by the virtual absence of special works, but also by the opportunity to analyze the male/female ratio in an agricultural team, to identify the impact of gender on the quantitative and qualitative indicators of production. Of particular interest to the topic is thefact that agricultural commune was considered as a place of social experiment to create a “new” Soviet person, including a “new” Soviet woman. The study conducted by the author allowsus to consider the fundamentally important aspects of the Soviet experiment, including in the sphere of changing the social status of women in society. The author draws attention to the fact that women’s going beyond the traditional roles encountered the persistence of the patriarchal attitudes of society as well asstereotypes of the consciousness of the party leadership. But the search for natural boundaries in the implementation of the concept “new Soviet woman”, the identification of the factors which led to a gap between the theoretical project and the real results of its implementation, open up new research prospects. In her article “Creating a Heroine: Dusya Vinogradova’s Labor Record”, Daria I. Navolotskaya analyzes the realization of the Soviet gender project in urban environment. The author conductedthe research drawing upon a significant source base, including the documents of central and local authorities, periodicals, as well as the work of journalist and local historian T.N. Leshukova. On the example of a particular enterprise, the author shows the relationship of the state and workers in the organization of socialist competition; she also reveals the relationship of their interests. Thus, the articles presented in the issue are devoted to various aspects of women’s and gender history of Russia. All the authors tried to share theirown vision of the perspectives of gender problems development on the materials of the historical past. It is hoped that they may be of interest to Russian and foreign researchers of this topic.

Natalia L Pushkareva

N.N. Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology

Email: pushkarev@mail.ru
32 a, Leninsky Prospect, Moscow, 119334, Russia


Abstract - 172

PDF (Mlt) - 133

Copyright (c) 2019 Pushkareva N.L.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.