by Jasmina Tumbas
Manchester University Press
This book reveals how feminist performance politics in art and culture were central to socialist Yugoslavia and traces a feminist legacy through the contemporary, post-socialist era. Using the term "Jugoslovenka" to encompass multiple generations of women who lived under or were born during Yugoslav socialism, it bridges decades of nation-building and violent rupture.
Presenting analyses of well-known feminist artists like Sanja Ivekovic alongside controversial figures such as Marina Abramovic and Vlasta Delimar, and highlighting the feminist legacies of superstar music icons Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova alongside contemporary artists such as Tanja Ostojic and Selma Selman, the book offers an essential insight into Yugoslav feminist performance politics. Ultimately, "I am Jugoslovenka!" introduces a starkly divergent narrative of socialism, one that reveals a vibrant Yugoslav feminist cultural production centered on questions of gender and sexuality--political commitments that shaped feminist, lesbian, and anti-nationalist movements from the 1980s to today.
"Tumbas also provides the reader the context of her own family background with a working-class Yugoslav mother and grandmother, neither of whom identified with feminism but taught her "more about emancipatory resistance than much of [her] higher education, or many of the feminist text[s]" she has read since then. It is this combination of the archival and the personal, which cannot be overlooked when discussing feminist art practices, that makes Tumbas's such a rich study ... Tumbas's book provides the type of diverse and expansive examination the field of art history has recently come to expect, one that includes a discussion of a range of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including the contributions not just of women artists but also Roma and queer women." -- Art Journal
""I am Jugoslovenka!" is an essential, nuanced feminist intervention into Yugoslav studies. In discussing Yugoslav feminist performance politics, the book places artists and performers as divergent as Marina Abramovic, Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova side by side. Tumbas effectively dismantles elitist hierarchies about "high" and "low" cultural production and feminist praxis during and after Yugoslavia." -- Dijana Jelaca, Brooklyn College
About the Author:
Jasmina Tumbas is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art History and Performance Studies at the University at Buffalo.