2nd Seminar: Evguenia Davidova, "Nursing the Newborn Nation-State: The Shifting Position of Nurses in Bulgaria (1878-1941)"
Davidova Evguenia (Portland State University)
Κατερίνα Γαρδίκα (ΕΚΠΑ), Γιάννης Στογιαννίδης (ΠΔΑ)
Deep social transformations, including both state and nation building, marked modern Bulgarian history. Within the context of such profound changes of the post-Ottoman space, nursing provides a useful lens through which to explore in gendered terms the evolving relationship between public health, state-building process, war, and civic associations. Nursing history falls into two distinct phases, which correspond with changes in Bulgarian state nationalism, in tandem with international organizations’ intervention. While serving the militarizing state (1878-1918) and its wounded soldiers nursing was marginal, but in the interwar period nurses emerged as public health professionals, committed both literally and metaphorically to serving the needs of mothers of future soldiers. The occupation’s reorientation toward nursing the reproductive national body in time of peace overlapped with a new social reform discourse and contributed to the transformation of nurses’ status from an occupation for poor women to a profession for middle-class women. Despite these shifts in types of service and social origin, rooted within discourses of modernization, I would suggest that there was a notable continuity in the perception and actual practice of nursing that operated within (neo)traditionalist gender regimes.
Evguenia Davidova is Professor in the Department of International and Global Studies at Portland State University. Her research interests focus on the late Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans: trade, travel, nationalism, gender, and public health. Davidova has published in European History Quarterly; CLIO Femmes, Genre et Histoire; Turcica; Balkanologie; Aspasia; Studia Pontica (Mediterranées); and Journal of European Economic History, among others. She is the author of Balkan Transitions to Modernity and Nation-States through the Eyes of Three Generations of Merchants (1780s-1890s) (Brill, 2013) and the editor of Wealth in the Ottoman and post-Ottoman Balkans: A Socio-Economic History (I.B. Tauris, 2016).
Davidova’s new project, with the provisional title, Dutiful Nurses: War, Public Health, and Gender in Southeast Europe (1900-1939), focuses on the intertwining processes of state and nation building wherein public health played a key role.
The lecture will be delivered in English.