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  • Editorial NoteSocialism, Nationalism, and Internationalism in Feminist Politics, 1850–1970
  • Elisa Camiscioli, Jean H. Quataert, and Jessica Pliley

This issue focuses on the many challenges that women activists faced in bringing their gendered and race-specific visions of change to the political and social movements and causes of their day. The dilemmas of incorporation are well known in the scholarly literature: the need to balance conflicting pulls on women's identities, reach compromises, and handle organizational conundrums of whether to integrate and face possible submergence in the wider movement, or to remain separate and face possible marginalization. Our authors offer fresh insights on this theme at distinct moments in the wider Atlantic world, in sites ranging from mid-nineteenth-century nationalist struggles in Italy to Cold War Cuba and the 1970s Black Power era in the United States. The thread is picked up through the biography of a leading British feminist advocate of internationalism, shedding light on feminist contributions to, and critiques of, the emerging liberal inter-national system in the decades before and after the First World War. This broad temporal framework also lays bare feminists' complicated relationship with empire and national privilege. We have included one article outside this focus, a fascinating study of witchcraft in early modern Venice examined through the lens of material culture. In addition, we continue to highlight the many sides of "Historical Practices" and include three book review essays in the mix. We end this Editorial Note with much deserved tributes to Binghamton University, which has housed the Journal of Women's History for a decade (2010–2020) and, over the past five years, facilitated the many rewards of friendship and collaboration for the current editorial team.

Diana Moore, in "Revolutionary Domesticity," starts the discussion through transnational exploration of the personal and political lives of three mid-nineteenth century British feminist supporters of the Italian nationalist and patriot, Giusseppe Mazzini, himself a "strong feminist." During his exile in England, Mazzini established lasting ties to women who provided "pivotal personal and political support" for his movement for Italian republican unity. Giorgina Craufurd, Sara Levi Nathan, and Jessie White Mario were among his most ardent followers. While they have been overlooked in studies of British feminism, Moore argues they fit historians' understanding of its contours in mid-century, artfully combining conservative rhetoric with more radical, egalitarian ends. Well sourced in [End Page 7] private correspondence, memoirs, and published writings, Moore works along three line of analysis: she examines the values underpinning each woman's companionate marriage; the lengths they went to educate their children, notably their sons, away from vice and toward personal morality and revolutionary politics; and their political campaigns. All were involved in the cross-border feminist struggles against state-sanctioned prostitution and the double standard of morality, which tarred women as sinful. They used their elite, national status and Protestant visions of "civilizing" duty to transcend established gender norms, whether to bring to light such tabooed subjects as sex and prostitution, or support insurrections from their abode. They were seen as exemplars of domesticity and respectability while clandestinely supporting revolutionary and subversive activities.

Michelle Staff casts a wider lens on the transnational dynamics of feminism, examining their intersection with internationalism in the first half of the twentieth century in her article "Women's Rights on the World Stage." Like Moore, she works though biography, which she calls "a form of microhistory," using the life and work of a leading Scottish feminist activist, Chrystal Macmillan, to probe how and why some equal-rights feminists found internationalism a compelling project. Unlike Moore's Mazzinian feminists, however, Macmillan did not leave an archive. She "embodied an enacted, rather than heavily theorized, form of internationalism," Staff writes, and revealed her politics through deeds. Macmillan was a prominent leader in international feminism, centrally involved in all the critical debates of the day. Suffrage initially drew her to the potential of international contacts for strengthening domestic reform causes. During the First World War, peace activism was the prime mover for her internationalism and the creation of the League of Nations, the first experiment in intergovernmental cooperation opened new avenues to lobby for all manner of feminist causes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 7-13
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-04
Open Access
No
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