chapter  4
16 Pages

Communisms, Generations, and Waves

The Cases of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Cuba
WithChiara Bonfiglioli

The chapter presents an exploratory contribution on the relation between gender, generation, and communism, on the basis of the case studies of Italy, Yugoslavia, and Cuba. It focuses in particular on the gendered imaginaries of citizenship characteristic of the generation of women active within the institutionalized “old left” and women’s mass organizations in the Cold War era, and on their different intersections with second wave feminism in the 1960s and 1970s. This latter period, in fact, is characterized by the simultaneous overlap and conflict between different generational paradigms of women’s and feminist activism: the “emancipation” one, mainly based on women’s socio-economic rights and institutional reforms, and the “liberation” one, mainly based on gender, sexuality, and grassroots activism. Through an exploration of different temporalities of women’s and feminist activism in Italy, Yugoslavia, and Cuba, the chapter challenges the long-standing exclusion of Cold War women’s movements, and particularly women’s mass organizations, from the Western feminist canon, as well as the linear conceptualization of “feminist waves,” particularly the second wave.