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ItemParadoxical Representations of Vietnamese Women in Propaganda: The Communist Party of Vietnam and Conflicting Visions of Women During the Vietnam War (1955-1975)Ardley, Georgia ( 2021)This thesis examines the paradoxical representations of Vietnamese women produced by the Vietnamese Communist Party (CPV) between 1955-1975. Through analysis of the changing representations of women, it questions the Party's commitment to gender equality. Furthermore, it challenges the assumption in previous scholarship that the Vietnam War was a period of increased rights and revolutionary change, and instead suggests that Vietnamese women were circumscribed by the persistence of Confucianism in CPV propaganda.
ItemCountryminded Conforming Femininity: A Cultural History of Rural Womanhood in Australia, 1920 – 1997Matheson, Jessie Suzanne ( 2021)This thesis explores the cultural and political history of Australian rural women between 1920 and 1997. Using a diverse range of archival collections this research finds that for rural women cultural constructions of idealised rural womanhood had real impacts on their lived experiences and political fortunes. By tracing shifting constructions of this ideal, this thesis explores a history of Australian rural womanhood, and in turn, centres rural women in Australian political and cultural history. For rural women, an expectation that they should embody the cultural ideals of rural Australia — hardiness, diligence, conservatism and unpretentiousness — was mediated through contemporary ideas of what constituted conforming femininity. This thesis describes this dynamic as countryminded conforming femininity. In this respect, this research is taking a feminist approach to political historian Don Aitkin’s characterisation of the Country Party as driven by an ideology of countrymindedness. This thesis uses countryminded conforming femininity as a lens through which cultural constructions of rural womanhood may be critically interrogated, and changes in these constructions may be traced. This thesis represents the first consideration of Australian rural womanhood as a category across time that is both culturally constructed and central to Australian political and cultural life, drawing together histories of rural women’s experience, representations and activism. It theorises what ideals of Australian rural womanhood have meant across the twentieth century and finds that they have had an under-considered role in Australian political life, and on constructions of Australian national identity.
Item'Qual’è utile alla Città’: pizzochere networks, social ‘usefulness’, and female precarity in early modern VeniceMcFarland, Jennifer Margaret ( 2020)This thesis provides the first dedicated study of the identity, social status, and social roles of pizzochere, or lay religious women, in early modern Venice. Pizzochere professed simple religious vows, usually to a mendicant order, and as professed laywomen lived a complex duality, neither fully secular nor fully religious; vita activa and vita contemplativa. Most also lived outside of the social statuses of wife (and mother and widow) or nun, the roles viewed as conventional for women. This thesis argues that pizzochere’s social position was, nonetheless, not only accepted, but perceived as integral to the proper functioning of the city. Drawing from archival, visual, literary, and architectural evidence, the thesis approaches pizzochere primarily through the concept of utilita, or usefulness, a concept raised surprisingly frequently with regard to these women. It asks what sort of women became pizzochere in sixteenth-century Venice, and how they were perceived by, and interacted with, their contemporary community. Bringing together histories of gender and women’s experiences, histories of lay devotional structures, and the related histories of charity, poor relief and hospitals, the thesis uses pizzochere, viewed as a kind of working woman, as a lens through which to explore the social and economic opportunities available to, and the experiences of, non-elite laywomen in early modern Venice more broadly. Situating these individual women and communities within the city and its other charitable, devotional, and social structures, both informal and governmental, reveals that pizzochere networks included and assisted women of widely varied social background, and filled a significant space in Venetians' approaches to the systemic vulnerabilities faced by women. The works that pizzochere undertook within the city for vocational fulfilment and income were tasks that were necessary and valued within the community. Consequently, pizzochere contributed, and were perceived to contribute, to establishing Venice's status as an ideal Christian state. The thesis highlights how women’s work served and sustained the early modern State, and how non-elite women’s agency operated in the early modern city.