Nationalism, cosmopolitanism, and female intellectuality : the paradoxes of Dora D’Istria and the gendering of Risorgimento Italy
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An investigation of gender, nationalism and cosmopolitanism discourses in nineteenth-century Italy through the works and reception of Romanian-born proto-feminist intellectual Dora D’Istria. This dissertation explores the cultural and political relationship between the figure of Dora D’Istria as a female cosmopolitan and the Italian Risorgimento. Particular attention is devoted to the tensions between nineteenth-century cosmopolitanism and nationalism, as well as the complex interrelations between nationalism and the questione femminile. Through the lens of Dora D’Istria’s publications and her reception among various intellectuals in post-unification Italy, this study explores the politicization of the women’s rights movement within the nationalist discourse. Women’s education and the production of traditional gender norms as a result of the national regeneration agenda are topics central to this work. The author analyses letters between D’Istria and Italian Risorgimento prominent figures such as Giuseppe Garibaldi as well as scholars such as Angelo De Gubernatis, Francesco Protonotari. Additionally, an essential role in this study is occupied by various monographs and essays by D’Istria herself such as La Suisse allemande et l'ascension du Moench (1856), Des femmes par une femme (1865), “The Educational Movement” in Theodore Stanton’s The Woman Questions in Europe (1884), as well as the reception of these works published in the form of essays and articles such as Gazzetta Ufficiale Del Regno D'Italia (Firenze, 1865) and Oscar Greco’s Bibliografia femminile italiana del XIX secolo (Venezia, 1875). Drawing from texts such as George L. Mosse’s Nationalism and Sexuality (1985), R. Radhakrishnan’s essay on colonial India, “Nationalism, Gender, and the Narrative of Identity” (1992), Stewart-Steinberg’s The Pinocchio Effect. On Making Italians (1860-1920) (2007), and Esther Wohlgemut’s Romantic Cosmopolitanism (2009), the author discusses the power dynamics between the movement of women’s right and that of nationalism in nineteenth-century Italy.