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Trading Women, Traded Women

A Historical Scrutiny of Gendered Trading

Gönül Bakay and Mihaela Mudure

For the scholarly reader it is a truism that trade, in its widest sense (exchange, interchange, deal) is the basis of human society, it is part of the human interaction which is the very texture of society. The French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss demonstrated in his seminal essay «The Elementary Structures of Kinship» that human society relies on the exchange of women by men. But women are not only the passive object of this trade among men. They also try and often succeed in trading goods, ideas, and changing their subject position by getting the upper hand in this crucial exchange. Little attention has been given to genderizing the connection between trade and the British Enlightenment and to its subsequent influence on women’s history and/or literary or visual representations of women by women or men. The contributors in this collection focus on women as physical or symbolic traded objects, as subversive women trading in spite of cultural and social stereotypes, and as women empowered in the cultural, political, and social trade.

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Trading Places: Global Feminine Sensibility and the Figure of the Migrant Woman in Contemporary Anglophone Film (Adriana Neagu)


Adriana Neagu

Trading Places: Global Feminine Sensibility and the Figure of the Migrant Woman in Contemporary Anglophone Film

The following is an enquiry into the changing landscape of feminine sensibility viewed against the backdrop of the global cultural economy and the influx of immigration defining the twenty first century. It seeks to explore the figure of the migrant woman and her representations in Anglophone film productions of the day in light of recent developments in global and migration theory. With this end in view, it considers a range of images of female migrant figures, from the ‘established’ ethnic minority women migrants to the newer global human trafficking victims, the home-grown “Jihad Jane”, and the stereotypical Middle Eastern “terrorist woman”. While mindful of the upsurge of female extremists, indeed of the disquieting rise in British/Western teenage Jihadism, the present examination does not set out to provide any rationale of global cultural extremism, nor does it aim to offer accounts of how Western women became radicalised. Rather, by observing the latest trends in the “feminisation” of migration, construed as part of a larger current of demonisation of Eastern European and Middle Eastern immigrants (as foregrounded by the refugee crisis), I seek to shed light on global discourses that perpetuate ideas of female natural and cultural inferiority and the new gender make-up of migrants. In so doing, I make a case for the need for a new comparative cultural studies theory, one able to account for the tribulations of...

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