This book focuses on one of the most remarkable phenomena of World War II: the mass participation of women, including numerous female combatants, in the communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance. Drawing on an array of sources - archival documents of the Communist Party and Partisan army, wartime press, Partisan folklore, participant reminiscences, and Yugoslav literature and cinematography - this study explores the history and postwar memory of the phenomenon. More broadly, it is concerned with changes in gender norms caused by the war, revolution, and establishment of the communist regime that claimed to have abolished inequality between the sexes. The first archive-based study on the subject, Women and Yugoslav Partisans uncovers a complex gender system in which revolutionary egalitarianism and peasant tradition interwove in unexpected ways.
Jelena Batinic is currently a Fellow in the Thinking Matters Program at Stanford University, California. She is a historian specializing in modern Eastern Europe, World War II and gender history. Her work has been published in edited volumes and journals including the Journal of International Women's Studies and the Journal of Women's History. She has been a Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellow and Postdoctoral Fellow in Stanford University's Introduction to the Humanities Program.
Introduction; 1. 'To the people, she was a character from folk poetry': the party's mobilizing rhetoric; 2. The 'organized women': developing the AFW; 3. The heroic and the mundane: women in the units; 4. The personal as a site of party intervention: privacy and sexuality; 5. After the war was over: legacy; Concluding remarks.