History of Women / Gender Constructions


At the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Primorska in Koper (Slovenia) I’ve lectured an undergraduate course “Anthropology/Historical Anthropology of Women & of Gender Constructions” (of which I’m the co-author with Drago Braco Rotar) for 6 years (2004/2005, 2005/2006, 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010). Here’s a description of the course and its syllabus:

1.  “Anthropology/Historical Anthropology of Women & of Gender Constructions” (2007/2008) – basic description of the course and its seminar:


2. Syllabus of the course (2007/2008):


  • SOME OF MY PUBLICATIONS, ORGANIZATIONS, PARTICIPATIONS (connected to the representations of women, politics of memory/oblivion, history of women & gender constructions):

Taja Kramberger et al. (Sandra Baumgartner, Eva D. Bahovec, Sabina Mihelj, Neva Šlibar, Špela Vintar, Tatjana Greif): Okrogla miza na temo “Cherchez la femme!” [participation at the round-table entitled “Cherchez la femme!”], Sodobnost, let. 65, št. 1/2, 2001, str. 22-44, portreti.

Taja Kramberger, “Aberaciji v slovenski poeziji : ženska in vednost : ali Nekaj tez o reakcionarni kulturni revoluciji, ki smo ji priča” [“Aberations in Slovenian Poetry: Woman and Knowledge, or Some theses about the Reactionary Cultural Revolution we’re Witnessing”], Literatura (Ljublj.), julij/avgust 2003, letn. 15, [št.] 145/146, str. 1-9.

Taja Kramberger, “Kjer ni spoznavne realnosti, ne more biti zgodovine (žensk) in ne samozavedajoče se družbe” [“Where there’s no cognitive reality, there can be no history (of women) nor self-conscious society”], Apokalipsa, 2005, št. 90/91/92, str. 103-119.

Taja Kramberger, “Botanični rasizem v eseju “Bori” Svetlane Slapšak” (prispevek k študiju strategij antifeminizma in izključevanja Drugega pod krinko “feminizma”) [“Botanical racism in the essay “Pins” by Svetlana Slapšak” (a contribution to the investigation of anti-feministic and exclusive strategies in the guise of “feminism”)]. In: V. Kotnik & T. Kramberger (ur.). Monografija o ISH : neposredna zgodovina: dogodki na ISH : elementi za refleksijo, (Monitor ZSA, vol. 7, no. 1-4). Posebna izd. Ljubljana: Tropos, društvo za zgodovinsko, socialno in druge antropologije ter kulturne dejavnosti: = Tropos, Association for Historical, Social and Other Anthropologies and Cultural Activities: = Tropos, association pour anthropologie historique, sociale et autres anthropologies et pour des activités culturelles, 2005, str. 257-282.

Taja Kramberger (translator), “Govorica, spol, simbolno nasilje” [translation of the article “Language, Gender, and Symbolic Power”, in: P. Bourdieu & L. Wacquant, An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology – see content here, pp. 140-174.], in: Pierre Bourdieu & Loic Wacquant, Načela za refleksivno družbeno znanost in kritično preučevanje simbolnih dominacij, (Knjižnica Annales Majora; izbrala, uredila in so-prevedla Taja Kramberger in Drago Braco Rotar). Koper: Univerza na Primorskem, Znanstveno-raziskovalno središče, Založba Annales: Zgodovinsko društvo za južno Primorsko, 2006. 262 str., 87-124.

Taja Kramberger, part of the Chapter on “Dorothea von Schlözer, the first German Women from Enlightenment who obtained PhD in Philosophy” (in Slovene), in my monograph from 2007: Historiografska divergenca: razsvetljenska in historistična paradigma. O odprti in zaprti epistemični strukturi in njunih elaboracijah, Koper, UP, Založba Annales, 2007, pp. 116-126.

Taja Kramberger et. al., O bella ciao – ženska pesem upora danes / O bella ciao – Women’s songs of protest today : Center sodobnih kultur Španski borci, Ljubljana, 7. marec 2010. Ljubljana, 2010 (sodelovanje na okrogli mizi, ki ji je sledil koncert dveh ženskih protestnih pevskih zborov Zavod Novi Kombinat-Ženski pevski zbor Kombinat & Il Coro delle Mondine di Novi / participation at the round table, followed by a concert of two womens’ choirs of protest songs: Zavod Novi Kombinat-Ženski pevski zbor Kombinat & Il Coro delle Mondine di Novi). The words of Bella ciao are to be found here (the song is historically connected to the choir of Mondine di Novi; read more about this illuminating and vivid women’s choir at the official site of Il Coro delle Mondine di Novi).

And to give you a sense of a life beaming in the presence of Mondine I join here one of my recordings of their performance in Opicina (Italy) on the Labour Day – 1 May 2012 (sorry for the initial horizontal layout but it somehow goes with it …):

The words of Noi vogliamo l’uguaglianza.

In connection to the poems and songs of rebellion I’ve led a course and a seminar (“Transfers of Knowledge: Memory, Education, Translation, Culture” – with a particular theme in 2009/2010: “Poems and songs of protest/rebellion, memory transfers and politics of memory, 18th to 20th Centuries”) the last year of my employment at the Faculty of Humanities in Koper. The aim of the course was to investigate together with my students in detail rather complex correspondences between current and countercurrent musical manifestations, circulations of melodies and words around the countries (sinchronically and diachronically), social relations between memory and music (as transmission agents). As with the Dreyfus Affair seminar (2007-2009) that completed with a big exposition – my not absolutely secret wish was that students or student groups would freely pick up one of the protest songs we analized and put into socio-historical context during the year, make a musical or vocal arrangements on thier own and we’ll have a concert at the end of the year. But university purge in early summer prevented this plan … By all means the seminar was a one of the great experiences and experiments for me as a teacher.

Taja Kramberger & Drago Braco Rotar, Misliti družbo, ki (se) sama ne misli  [To Think a Society that does not Think (by) Itself], (Zbirka Teorija, 2010, 5). Ljubljana: Sophia, 2010. XVII, 244 str. For a broader understanding the politics of memory and exclusions in the past (as well as in the contemporary world) see the chapter on importance of differences between two different regimes of policy: that of memory and that of history “Zgodovina, ki služi, je služabniška zgodovina. O epistemičnem imperativu ločevanja med spominom in memorijo & memorijo in zgodovino” [“History that serves is a servile history. On epistemic imperative of making a distinction between remembrance and memory & memory and history”], str. 3-35.

Taja Kramberger & Drago Braco Rotar, Nevidne evidence. Misliti idola tribus  [Invisible Evidences. To think ′idola tribus′], (Zbirka Teorija, 2011, 5). Ljubljana: Sophia, 2011. XVII, 383 str. Especially the chapter on the Slovene translation of the Declaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen with a brief passage on the role of Olympe de Gouges played during the revolutionary heat: “Pravice vs toleranca” [“Rights vs Tolerance”], str. 1-52.

Taja Kramberger, “Kdo je za koga reprezentativen in zakaj? Kratka analiza literarnega polja v Dravski banovini s posebnim ozirom na založniške dejavnosti Belo-modre knjižnice in založbo ter revijo Modra ptica” [Who is representative for whom and why? A brief analysis of the literary field in Dravska banovina (the Drava banovina or Drava banat) in the Thirties with particular reference to the activities of the [Women’s publishing house] Belo-modra knjižnica (White-blue library) and the publishing house and journal Modra ptica (Blue bird)], in: Taja Kramberger & Drago Braco Rotar, Nevidne evidence. Misliti idola tribus  [Invisible Evidences. To think ′idola tribus′], (Zbirka Teorija, 2011, 5). Ljubljana: Sophia, 2011. XVII, 383 str. In the chapter about mechanisms of obliteration of women’s cultural, publishing activities and innovative ideas during the Thirties in Dravska banovina (i. e. a name for Slovenian social space inside the Yugoslavia during that time) I write about the complex relations and games of power between women’s publishing house “Belo-modra knjižnica”, gender mixed (majority of males, but still some women were considered important contributors) and internationally oriented publishing house and a journal Modra ptica [Blue bird] and ideologico-political journal Sodobnost [Contemporaneity] of the “left”-nationalism where only male writers, imminently connected to the political field, were gathered. Many members of the latter group came to power after WW2 and through a more or less sofisticated politics of memory executed a damnatio memoriae of the first two groups and their achievements.

At the Collegium Budapest – Institute for Advanced Study, an institution where I spent wonderful and highly productive 5-months in 2003 and has in the last years strangely disapeared from the intellectual mapa mundi and has de facto become a non-lieu (even its past has been erased from the public memory by the fact of a sudden desistance of its web-site, where at least (non-updated) CVs of ex-fellows/alumni were posted …). So, I, as a junior fellow, had as a fellow lecture there in 2003, though I can’t prove it anymore 🙂 but with a few photos that have remained in my computer as a memento of a good spirit more than a decade ago …

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In my lecture at the Collegium Budapest, by that time not really understood (a “bloom” of translation studies came soon afterwards), I guess, by my colleagues, though some were intuitively awared of the significance of what was spread out, I spoke about the anthropology of translation. I stressed a fundamental role the translations and translators (but only if they’re attentive, open minded and intellectually well equipped ones) play in bridging different cultural contexts. Translators participate in the process of building an imaginary skeleton and repertory of thinkable in the collective imaginary through each translation.

The translation of a singular case I presented and analyzed in the course of the lecture illustrates clearly how a transmission from French language to Slovene language can be, in fact, there – in the particular case I presented – also was, a total failure. In fact, a poem was not translated from French to Slovene in any subtle or skilful way (though the translator was one of the most “appreciated” or at least media & overal policy supported poets), but rather (symbolically) brutally transponed with all the translator’s prejudices and phantasms; it was vernacularized, chrashed, adapted (with new symptomatic words implanted into it just for the purpose of rhyme or flatly sounding well in the target language – without any regard to the content, context and epistemic precision) into an anachronistic mental structure. During the translatio process a new (old) mental (imaginary) skeleton was provided for the Slovene readers. For a mental stasis to be maintained and no “revolutionary” thoughts served to the Slovene reading audience.

Finally, one can observe as a main aberration in the final version of the Slovene translation how a new thread – non-existent in the French original – of a strong patriarhalpaw & tendency scrapes through it in a form of a systematic degradation of women. Meanwhile this moment was not at all present in the French original; woman is not even mentioned there (!). This is the title of my lecture:

Taja Kramberger, Discoursive realities as representative frames of collective memories : some notes on the process of cultural transfer through translation. Budapest: Collegium Budapest, le 7 juin 2003.

Taja Kramberger (pobudnica in soustanoviteljica / initiator and co-founder), Tatjana Jamnik (soustanoviteljica / co-founder), Barbara Korun (soustanoviteljica / co-founder) of the KONS-International Literary Award® in 2011. The award is given away to women and men (with a special stress on women) of high integrity and ethos for a coherent lifelong achievements in two domains: in literary opus and in social engagement for the benefits of all people. Laureats:

2011: IZTOK OSOJNIK (Slovenia)
2013: CLARIBEL ALEGRIA (Nicaragua/El Salvador)

The award was bestowed by me to Claribel Alegria during the festival in Granada (Nicaragua) in February 2013. I also selected and translated her poetry to Slovenian and it was published in a book form in 2013. I wrote an introduction which is to be found below this frame (helas, only in Slovene).

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Taja Kramberger,  “Me ženske nismo plašne, ne zastrupljamo razuma, ne izogibamo se tveganju”: Claribel Alegría, pogum za resnico in pričevanjska literatura [“We Women are not faint-hearted, we do not posion reason, neither do we shy from risk”: Claribel Alegría, a courage for the truth and the testimony literature / “Nous
les femmes ne sommes pas craintives, nous n’empoisonnons pas la raison, nous
n’évitons pas le risque” : Claribel Alegría, courage de la vérité et la littérature de témoignage]
. V/in/dans: ALEGRÍA, Claribel, Več kakor zloščen kamen (pesmi, proza, intervju). Ljubljana : KUD Police Dubove, 2013, 181–234. Knjigo lahko naročite/kupite tukaj

Začetek knjige (odlomek iz poezije) [Some translations from the book.


MONDINE-OPICINA-2012 from PIPL on Vimeo.

Presentation of the book: CLARIBEL ALEGRIA, VEČ KAKOR ZLOŠČEN KAMEN, Koper, Slovenija, 26.7.2013 from PIPL on Vimeo.

In the last decade I was – as an active and independent woman (intellectual, artist, translator, editor, organizer, activist) to whom elementary conditions for work and creativity were/are constantly denied and subverted in her “home country” Slovenia – a part of numerous struggles for rights of people (intellectuals, homosexuals, women, students, workers, a minority – no less than minority: a handful of artists – of critical writers and poets with active human attitude). I either organized, conducted or coordinated (all together in the last 20 years) more than 200 cultural and intellectual events of national and international scope (most of them in a voluntary and non-paid basis) trying to animate young or not so young people into thinking and creativity. Give them elan to live thier lives actively, not as pasive agents or as functions of others.

I was certain – and actually I am still certain – that if one follows consequently and obstinently the line of his/her own intellectual and artistic (or life) trajectory consequently sooner or later the accumulated experiences and knowledge, together with a reflective work – a conditio sine qua non – done, release energy and activate vital strata of subject’s personality. I promoted women, fought for their rights, stand by my students and their demands if I consider them righteous, I struggled for other poets, was on the side of a small group of writers who were in 2005 against the neoliberal invasion of the Slovene Writers’ Association (and later restricted myself from any contacts and projects with the group of new regime promoted writers who then – in 2005 – through a coup took the positions in the association and now almost for ten years redirect the public money to their own benefits). I tried to open a space for the others with my own struggles. No echo.

I’ve published many poems, verses, translations and other texts in favour of forgotten or degraded women in the past or contemporary society. During the university seminar on the Affair Dreyfus – I conducted with Braco Rotar between 2007-2009 – I helped my students research the first French daily La Fronde (cover is to be seen below), written entirely by women [founded in 1797; conducted by Marguerite Durand (1864-1936) and with a visible front-writer Séverine, née Caroline Rémy (1855-1929), herself a resolute feminist and dreyfusard]. I’ve written some poems on this topic (published in my book Opus quinque dierum, 2009), namely

      • Heretika / Heretique / H

La Fronde - 14.1.1898I gave to my students the best that I could, I enter a university combat for them (2 assistants) not to be thrown out during the coarse university purge in 2010 at the University of Primorska (one of the most treacherous and thrillingly orchestrated events I underwent) – though I lost my job doing that (it was simply a right thing to do and I would do it again – even now that I know that these two assistants did not pass a human test later and that they might in human terms not be worth lifting a finger, but, hence, in a broader civic frame they were oppressed by the horrific power structure, therefore a clear reaction from a position of elementary justice was obligatory!) – and albeit most of them later passed on the other side. On the side of our recent oppressors. (Their gesture is understandable (from a oportunistic point of view) though not a humanly justified one: living in Slovenia becomes a nightmare if you’re “on the wrong side” – and this “wrong side” in creepy countries of the Central Europe with a heavily implemented inversion of social and human values in their imaginary structure just happens to be the “just one”, the “creative one”, the “cognitive one”, the “critical one”, the “human one”, so to say – the “normal one”.)

Among many other translations of women literature, I’ve selected and translated between 2008 and 2011 a vast anthology of protest poetry entitled We’re the ones we have been waiting for after a verse of an American (USA) poet June Jordan. The anthology was refuted by the authorities and denied state financial support in 2011, though some Slovene poets, who have a word whom to support and whom not, I see now, have benefited greatly from my composition and content … (which you have to submit to the authorities when you put your application there … so, eventually, the “delivery” of material and the dispositive of one’s social ties is in such a way given gratis to the usurpators and machinators). In the anthology I prepared (on a non-paid basis, but could not publish it – nor pay the copyrights) more than 50 % of poets are brave and sensitive women poets from around the globe. I’ve lectured about them in the past, I’ve given conferences and wrote texts about the human force of “political” poetry or “poetry of protest” in the times of a mental disorientation and economic crisis. I had public presentations of poets and many readings of poetry that I translated from different traditions of people’s struggle against oppression. No real echo.

I still believe – after most shuddering attacks and sophisticated intrigues against me and my husband in Slovenia which we had ultimately left in October 2012 – that what I’ve written more than a decade ago about TRANSFORMATIVE ARTS holds all the more true. By “transformative arts” (in my research in social sciences and historical anthropology I developed an asimetrical couple of concepts, namely transformative & transfirmative discourses) I mean those artistic languages which have a vital force to confront “le mal” en face (in concreto) in a complex and analytical way. They have an actual potential for a social change – because their creators have lived through the harshest exclusions  and druable weighty life experiences in a given period of time and dealt with them on a rational, reflective and cognitive level. They’re therefore the only ones capable of articulating the new ways out of the crisis in a manner others, who just adopted to the conjuncture, never could even think of. Such artistic languages store the ways for a social change for better, more kind, reflected (objectified and open) and subtle human ties and relations in this world. These open, humanly subtle, reflective and elaborated languages and arts HAVE A CRUCIAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THE FUTURE. And many women and other depriviledged intelligent human beings, as it is usually the case that people who’re oppressed see things much clearer than the cosy ones (but I’m not saying that to deminish the role of some upright and sensible men), are the first to seize this, acknowledge it and act upon it.


DOROTHEA SCHLÖZER, married VON RODDE (b. 1770 in Göttingen, Germany – d. 1825 in Avignon, France )


Dorothea von Schlözer, c 1800, author unknown. Source: http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/113323.html Web-site of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Dorothea Schlözer was a talented daughter of a renowned Göttingen’s Enlightenment/Aufklärung scholar August Ludwig von Schlözer (1735-1809). Her father wanted to develop a new pedagogic method of education (it was a hot theme of 18th Century) and did not subscribe to the generally held perspective of women’s limited intellectual capacities. He supported his daughter’s learning and studies and oversaw her education not only in arts (music, literature, theatre …) in several languages, numismatics, zoology and botany, optics, Euclidean geometry, algebra and trigonometry, history etc. Although women were in that time not permitted to study at Göttingen University, Dorothea Schlözer was the first woman to receive a doctorate from philosophy in Germany (in 1787). I described at length the PhD examination procedure of Dorothea Schlözer by a faculty committee in my monograph Historiograpic Divergence … (2007). In 1792 Dorothea Schlözer married Senator Mattheus Rodde from Lübeck, a wealthy established merchant and had three children with him. Later she and her husband moved to Paris where she further studied art and was even commissioned to paint a portrait of Kaiser Franz. In Paris she entered into a relationship with French writer Charles Villers (1765–1815). The relationship was in that time a kind of a public secret in Paris that the team lived in ménage à trois: Dorothea, her husband and Villers. After relatively happy and prolific period, a series of sad events followed: premature senility of her bunkrupted husband Mattheus Rodde, death of Charles Villers and also two of her kids. She moved to Avignon with her only surviving daughter, where she died of pneumonia in 1825.


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In General:

In English:

In French:

In Italian:

In Spanish:

In German:

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