The Question of Women in Power in the Eighteenth Century
The essay examines the question of women in power in the Eighteenth Century
The article focuses on the most famous Russian pre-modern autobiography The Life by protopope Avvakum (1621/22–1682) to discuss his wife Natas’ja Markovna as one of its essential characters. Being the leader of the movement against religious reform in the seventeenth century Russia, Avvakum composed his life story in accordance with hagiographical canon of the martyr to send a propaganda message to his followers. The figure of Natas’ja Markovna in his text also works for this aim. In accordance with women’s hagiographic canon she is portrayed as wife and mother completely subjected to her husband’s will and doomed to share all hardships of his life. Though Avvakum’s autobiography was widely read, this religious/social context was often understood as insignificant for understanding its meanings. The same is true for the figure of the protopopica, which was used by Russian scholars and writers of the twentieth century to establish a canon of the model wife.
Almanac "Adam and Eve" - Russia's first periodical specially devoted to the problems of gender history, which is part of the interdisciplinary area of social and humanities. The authors use the opportunities of gender analysis in the study of various historical periods and areas of human activity, considering the past and present through the prism of relations between the sexes and socio-cultural concepts of "male" and "female."
Almanac "Adam and Eve" - first periodical specially devoted to the problems of gender history, which is part of the interdisciplinary area of social and humanities. The authors use the opportunities of gender analysis in the study of various historical periods and areas of human activity, considering the past and present through the prism of relations between the sexes and socio-cultural concepts.
This project is an attempt to challenge the canonical gender concept while trying to specify what gender was in the medieval and early modern world. Despite the emphasis on individual, identity and difference that past research claims, much of this history still focuses on hierarchical or dichotomous paring of masculinity and femininity (or male and female). The emphasis on differences has been largely based on the research of such topics as premarital sex, religious deviance, rape and violence; these are topics that were, in the early modern society, criminal or at least easily marginalizing. The central focus of the book is to test, verify and challenge the methodology and use the concept(s) of gender specifically applicable to the period of great change and transition. The volume contains two theoretical sections supplemented by case-studies of gender through specific practices such as mysticism, witchcraft, crime, and legal behaviour. The first section, "Concepts", analyzes certain useful notions, such as patriarchy and morality. The second section, "Identities", seeks to deepen this analysis into the studies of female identities in various situations, cultures and dimensions and to show the fluidity and flexibility of what is called femininity nowadays. The third part, "Practises", seeks to rethink the bigger narratives through the case-studies coming from Northern Europe to see how conventional ideas of gender did not work in this particular region. The case studies also challenge the established narratives in such well-research historiographies as witchcraft and sexual offences and at the same time suggest new insights for the developing fields of study, such as history of homicide.
The chapter unfolds history of violence against women in nineteenth-century Russia. Based on the court materials and legal documents it tells the depressing history of rape and domestic violence, to which Russian women of all social ranks were subjected.