Femininity at the crossroads : negotiating national and gender peripherality in the Russian fashion journal Modnyi magazin (1862-1883)

Begin - Einde 
2016 - 2020 (afgewerkt)



This dissertation is dedicated to studying the original gendered discourse shaped in the pages of the prominent yet neglected Russian fashion journal Modnyi magazin(1862-1883) published and edited in St. Petersburg by Sofia Rekhnevskaia-Mei (1821-1889). In uncovering the image of femininity shaped by the magazine, I particularly focus on how the editorial staff addressed the double peripherality of its female Russian readers: as Russians among Europeans and as women among men. In Section One, I reconstruct the extended biography of Sofia Rekhnevskaia-Mei and examine her formative role in shaping the idiosyncratic format and editorial program of Modnyi magazinthat brought together fashion and intellectual debates. In Section Two, I study Rekhnevskaia-Mei’s original discourse on fashionable femininity which she shaped in her regular fashion column by discussing Parisian fashion. In Section Three, I focus on the feminist agenda of Modnyi magazinwhich was raised by the editorial staff in the journalistic contributions of the literary section. Finally, I conclude on how the magazine merged fashion and feminism as well as Russian and Western socio-cultural contexts within its original discourse on femininity.By focusing on Rekhnevskaia-Mei’s Modnyi magazin, I bring up the unique role that the magazine played in the history of the Russian fashion and women’s press, the complexity and idiosyncrasy of the editorial framework and discourse, and its remarkable yet forgotten woman editor. On the methodological level, this research engages with the concepts developed within the transnational cultural studies, particularly the center-periphery model and the notion of peripheral intellectuals, and complements it with the recent insights from the periodical studies.