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Jewish Anarchist Women 1920-1950: The Politics of Sexuality

Hosted By: YIVO

Anarchist theory includes the belief in freedom for all – that no one person, nor group of people, should have power over any others; that individuals can best decide how to live (and love). In this presentation from YIVO, Elaine Leeder discusses eight Jewish women who identified as anarchists, active during the 1920s to 1950s. Through analysis of in-depth interviews Leeder explores the complete sexual freedom that these women sought at a time when conventionality and conformity was the norm. These women attempted to create equality in the public and private spheres, some living communally and raising their children in progressive schools. They also sought to maintain complete equality of the sexes through economic independence and maintaining non-conformist sexual relationships. This talk places a particular focus on the way that ethnicity played a role in these women’s identities, emphasizing their atheism, while still maintaining Jewish values and traditions.

Watch the recording of this session here:


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