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An Amazon Warrior, a Chaste Maiden or a Social Man?: Early Ethnographic Accounts of the Balkan Man-Woman

An Amazon Warrior, a Chaste Maiden or a Social Man?: Early Ethnographic Accounts of the Balkan... This article looks into the representations of the figure of the Balkan man-woman in missionary and travel accounts from the turn of the twentieth century. I read these early proto-ethnographic texts, both wri en and visual, dialogically ­ as points of intersection between observers and the observed, with the aim of addressing the question of how professional transgressors ­ travellers and missionaries ­ perceived and culturally `translated' female gender-transgressors who were enjoying the role and status of social men in northern Albanian and Montenegrin societies, and whose gender identity was heavily based on their daily performance of male chores and on the possession of male privileges, such as smoking, socialising with men and wearing arms. KEYWORDS: anatomy, Balkans, cultural baggage, gender semantics, man-woman, missionary accounts, photography, travel literature Introduction At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century an intriguing phenomenon began to be registered in the Dinaric mountain belt of the Western Balkan Peninsula. In 1855, while carrying out fieldwork among the Rovci tribe on the border of Herzegovina and Montenegro, Milorad Medakovi, a Serbian ethnographer, reported that he had come across a case of a girl called Milica who, having no brothers, vowed to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aspasia Berghahn Books

An Amazon Warrior, a Chaste Maiden or a Social Man?: Early Ethnographic Accounts of the Balkan Man-Woman

Aspasia , Volume 3 (1) – Mar 1, 2009

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Publisher
Berghahn Books
Copyright
© 2022 Berghahn Books
ISSN
1933-2882
eISSN
1933-2890
DOI
10.3167/asp.2009.030102
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article looks into the representations of the figure of the Balkan man-woman in missionary and travel accounts from the turn of the twentieth century. I read these early proto-ethnographic texts, both wri en and visual, dialogically ­ as points of intersection between observers and the observed, with the aim of addressing the question of how professional transgressors ­ travellers and missionaries ­ perceived and culturally `translated' female gender-transgressors who were enjoying the role and status of social men in northern Albanian and Montenegrin societies, and whose gender identity was heavily based on their daily performance of male chores and on the possession of male privileges, such as smoking, socialising with men and wearing arms. KEYWORDS: anatomy, Balkans, cultural baggage, gender semantics, man-woman, missionary accounts, photography, travel literature Introduction At the beginning of the second half of the nineteenth century an intriguing phenomenon began to be registered in the Dinaric mountain belt of the Western Balkan Peninsula. In 1855, while carrying out fieldwork among the Rovci tribe on the border of Herzegovina and Montenegro, Milorad Medakovi, a Serbian ethnographer, reported that he had come across a case of a girl called Milica who, having no brothers, vowed to

Journal

AspasiaBerghahn Books

Published: Mar 1, 2009

Keywords: anatomy; Balkans; cultural baggage; gender semantics; man-woman; missionary accounts; photography; travel literature

There are no references for this article.