"I am Jugoslovenka!"

Feminist performance politics during and after Yugoslav Socialism

By Jasmina Tumbas

"I am Jugoslovenka!"


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-6904-4
  • Pages: 344
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £25.00
  • Published Date: December 2022
  • BIC Category: Art & Design Styles: Postmodernism, The arts / Performance art, Art History, Contemporary Art, Performance art, ART / Women Artists, ART / Performance, ART / History / Contemporary (1945-), ART / European, Yugoslavia & Former Yugoslavia
  • Series: Rethinking Art's Histories


"I am Jugoslovenka" argues that queer-feminist artistic and political resistance were paradoxically enabled by socialist Yugoslavia's unique history of patriarchy and women's emancipation. Spanning performance and conceptual art, video works, film and pop music, lesbian activism and press photos of female snipers in the Yugoslav wars, the book analyses feminist resistance in a range of performative actions that manifest the radical embodiment of Yugoslavia's anti-fascist, transnational and feminist legacies. It covers celebrated and lesser-known artists from the 1970s to today, including Marina Abramovic, Sanja Ivekovic, Vlasta Delimar, Tanja Ostojic, Selma Selman and Helena Janecic, along with music legends Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova. "I am Jugoslovenka" tells a unique story of women's resistance through the intersection of feminism, socialism and nationalism in East European visual culture.


'Examining both well-known and heretofore neglected artists, this book provides a nuanced discussion of gender, feminism and identity politics in the region. It also serves to widen the discussion about feminist performance practices and strategies beyond the canonical west.'
Amy Bryzgel, Professor of Film and Visual Culture, University of Aberdeen

'"I am Jugoslovenka!" is an essential, nuanced feminist intervention into Yugoslav studies. In discussing Yugoslav feminist performance politics, the book places artists and performers as divergent as Marina Abramovic, Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova side by side. Tumbas effectively dismantles elitist hierarchies about "high" and "low" cultural production and feminist praxis during and after Yugoslavia.'
Dijana Jelaca, Brooklyn College

'Jasmina Tumbas's book surveys the cultural landscape of late socialist Yugoslavia to reveal the figure of "Jugoslovenka" as an innovative theoretical construct that captures the simultaneity of emancipatory opportunities and entrenched patriarchy. Imaginative and original, it provides a much-needed extension of the ongoing feminist reassessment of state socialism to the field of art history.'
Vladimir Kulic, Associate Professor of Architectural History, Iowa State University

'Tumbas's sensitive awareness of historical context is made in the deft interweaving of visual cultural analysis with the author's story as a refugee from Vojvodina in Germany in the early 1990s...'
Art Monthly


Introduction: Jugoslovenka: the unique position of Yugoslav women during and after socialism
1 Jugoslovenka's body under patriarchal socialism: art and feminist performance politics in Yugoslavia
2 Marina Abramovic, Lepa Brena and Esma Redzepova: socialist nation, Orientalism, and Yugoslav legacy
3 Queer Jugoslovenka
4 Jugoslovenka in a sea of avant-garde machismo: a feminist reading of NSK
5 The last generation of Jugoslovenkas: diverse forms of emancipatory resistance and performance strategies
Conclusion: Jugoslovenka: a wide-ranging model for feminist performance politics in art and culture


Jasmina Tumbas is Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History and Performance Studies at the University at Buffalo

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