Jasmina Tumbas
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Introduction - Jugoslovenka
The unique position of Yugoslav women during and after socialism
in “I am Jugoslovenka!”
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Tumbas introduces key concepts and moments in Yugoslav culture that elucidate the feminist emancipatory performance politics embodied in the figure of Jugoslovenka. Jugoslovenka, or Yugoslav woman, serves as an umbrella term for Tumbas to hold together multiple generations of both self-declared feminists and non-feminists from all of the former republics of Yugoslavia. The women considered did not belong to a cohesive movement or a group adhering to the same set of principles. What set these women apart from feminists in the West, Tumbas argues, was how they constituted a generation of women whose mothers bore the legacy of partisan resistance to fascism and helped build socialist Yugoslavia and establish its progressive laws for women’s rights, many of which they saw diminished over time, due to Yugoslavia’s patriarchal party leadership. Following the bold visual provocation posed by artist Sanja Iveković’s revision of the Yugoslav flag, Nova Zvijezda (New Star), in 1983, in which the artist replaced the signature red socialist star with hair arranged in the triangular shape of a female pubis, Tumbas analyzes Yugoslav socialism and its demise through the lens of feminist visual culture and art. Among others, Želimir Koščević’s Exhibition of Women and Men in 1969, photographs of protestor Dragana Milojević at the March 9 (1991) demonstration against Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade, and the Yugoslav one-hundred-dinar banknote featuring the allegorical image of Jugoslovenka, serve as key points of departure for Tumbas’s theorization of a distinctly Yugoslav feminist visual culture.

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“I am Jugoslovenka!”

Feminist performance politics during and after Yugoslav socialism


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