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Who Is a Victim of Communism?: Gender and Public Memory in the Sighet Museum, Romania

Who Is a Victim of Communism?: Gender and Public Memory in the Sighet Museum, Romania The Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance is the main museum of communism in Romania. This article a ends to this museum's politics of representing gender and argues that its exhibits reify resistance to and victimization by the communist regime as masculine. The museum marginalizes women, in general, and renders unmemorable women's lives under Nicolae Ceauescu's pronatalist regime, in particular. The absence is significant because Romania is the only country in the former communist bloc where women experienced unique forms of systematic political victimization under Ceauescu's nationalist-socialist politics of forced birth. This article illustrates how the museum's investment in an anti-communist discourse creates a gendered representation of political action under the communist regime. KEYWORDS: abortion, communism, Nicolae Ceauescu, memorialization, post-socialism, pronatalism, resistance, socialism, victimization, women The issue of a masculine bias in conceptualizing East European and Russian dissent to communist regimes is li le explored in historical scholarship. Although many scholars documented the profoundly gendered ways in which communist states controlled their populations,1 an implicitly male model of dissent still dominates our understanding of resistance to these regimes. Maria Bucur notes that, as scholars of dissent in the communist bloc focused predominantly on http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Aspasia Berghahn Books

Who Is a Victim of Communism?: Gender and Public Memory in the Sighet Museum, Romania

Aspasia , Volume 7 (1) – Mar 1, 2013

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Publisher
Berghahn Books
Copyright
© 2022 Berghahn Books
ISSN
1933-2882
eISSN
1933-2890
DOI
10.3167/asp.2013.070107
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Memorial Museum of the Victims of Communism and of the Resistance is the main museum of communism in Romania. This article a ends to this museum's politics of representing gender and argues that its exhibits reify resistance to and victimization by the communist regime as masculine. The museum marginalizes women, in general, and renders unmemorable women's lives under Nicolae Ceauescu's pronatalist regime, in particular. The absence is significant because Romania is the only country in the former communist bloc where women experienced unique forms of systematic political victimization under Ceauescu's nationalist-socialist politics of forced birth. This article illustrates how the museum's investment in an anti-communist discourse creates a gendered representation of political action under the communist regime. KEYWORDS: abortion, communism, Nicolae Ceauescu, memorialization, post-socialism, pronatalism, resistance, socialism, victimization, women The issue of a masculine bias in conceptualizing East European and Russian dissent to communist regimes is li le explored in historical scholarship. Although many scholars documented the profoundly gendered ways in which communist states controlled their populations,1 an implicitly male model of dissent still dominates our understanding of resistance to these regimes. Maria Bucur notes that, as scholars of dissent in the communist bloc focused predominantly on

Journal

AspasiaBerghahn Books

Published: Mar 1, 2013

Keywords: abortion; communism; memorialization; Nicolae Ceauşescu; post-socialism; pronatalism; resistance; socialism; victimization; women

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