An Improper Profession

Women, Gender, and Journalism in Late Imperial Russia

An Improper Profession

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: Published: May 2001

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, History > European History

Journalism has long been a major factor in defining the opinions of Russia’s literate classes. Although women participated in nearly every aspect of the journalistic process during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, female editors, publishers, and writers have been consistently omitted from the history of journalism in Imperial Russia. An Improper Profession offers a more complete and accurate picture of this history by examining the work of these under-appreciated professionals and showing how their involvement helped to formulate public opinion.

In this collection, contributors explore how early women journalists contributed to changing cultural understandings of women’s roles, as well as how class and gender politics meshed in the work of particular individuals. They also examine how female journalists adapted to—or challenged—censorship as political structures in Russia shifted. Over the course of this volume, contributors discuss the attitudes of female Russian journalists toward socialism, Russian nationalism, anti-Semitism, women’s rights, and suffrage. Covering the period from the early 1800s to 1917, this collection includes essays that draw from archival as well as published materials and that range from biography to literary and historical analysis of journalistic diaries.

By disrupting conventional ideas about journalism and gender in late Imperial Russia, An Improper Profession should be of vital interest to scholars of women’s history, journalism, and Russian history.

Contributors. Linda Harriet Edmondson, June Pachuta Farris, Jehanne M Gheith, Adele Lindenmeyr, Carolyn Marks, Barbara T. Norton, Miranda Beaven Remnek, Christine Ruane, Rochelle Ruthchild, Mary Zirin


“A major contribution to the field of Slavic studies. A work such as this gives scholars a place from which we can begin to rewrite and reconstruct women’s role in Russian politics and culture in prerevolutionary times. This is a prodigious work of scholarship.” — Adele Barker, editor of Consuming Russia: Popular Culture, Sex, and Society since Gorbachev


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Barbara T. Norton is Professor of History at Widener University.

Jehanne M Gheith is Associate Professor of Slavic and Women’s Studies at Duke University.

Table of Contents Back to Top

List of Abbreviations

Note on Dates, Transliteration, and Archival Citations

Introduction / Jehanne M Gheith

1. “A Larger Portion of the Public”: Female Readers, Fiction, and the Periodical Press in the Reign of Nicholas I / Miranda Beaven Remnek

2. Redefining the Perceptible: The Journalism(s) of Evgeniia Tur and Avdot’ia Panaeva / Jehanne M Gheith

3. The Development of a Fashion Press in Late Imperial Russia: Moda: Zhurnal dlia svetskikh liudei / Christine Ruane

4. “Provid[ing] Amusement for the Ladies”: The Rise of the Russian Women’s Magazine in the 1880s / Carolyn R. Marks

5. Anna Volkova: From Merchant Wife to Feminist Journalist / Adele Lindenmeyr

6. Meeting the Challenge: Russian Women Reporters and the Balkan Crises of the Late 1870s / Mary F. Zirin

7. Writing for Their Rights. Four Feminist Journalists: Mariia Chekhova, Liubov’ Gurevich, Mariia Pokrovskaia, and Ariadna Tyrkova / Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

8. Mariia Pokrovskaia and Zhenskii vestnik: Feminist Separatism in Theory and Practice / Linda Edmondson

9. Journalism as a Means of Empowerment: The Early Career of Ekaterina Kuskova / Barbara T. Norton

10. Sources for the Study of Russian Women Journalists: A Bibliographic Essay / June Pachuta Farris

Appendix: Checklist of Women Journalists in Imperial Russia

List of Contributors


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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2585-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2556-7
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