Introduction
jehanne m gheith
When we have mentioned the topic of this book, people have often
looked puzzled, as if the topics of women and journalism could not
go together, as if something didn’t quite add up. We have become
used to the furrowed brow and puzzled look as we talk about
women, journalism, and Russia. Yet in Russia today, women jour-
nalists are becoming increasingly important: the number of female
journalists is growing, and organizations of women journalists are
being formed. So on one level, this volume provides a genealogy and
history for Russian women journalists working today. Equally im-
portant, this collection rewrites some of the common ways journal-
ism in Russia has been conceptualized. To take just one example,
journalism is usually thought of as a public discourse, and on one
level, it was (is). Yet as several of the essays here demonstrate, the
intersections of public and private were constantly being explored in
published journals as well as personal diaries in late imperial Russia.
Examining women’s journalism, then, helps to untangle and re-
imagine the lines of the public and private, not just in women’s
journalism, but in Russian journalism in general.
Women, gender, journalism: each of these much-debated con-
structs has been acknowledged as central in the development of Rus-
sian history and literature, yet the relationships between them have
rarely been examined. Although the issues around women and gen-
der—to which we will return shortly—have been the subject of con-
siderable recent scholarship, the nature and status of journalism
have received much less attention.∞ This despite the fact that the
periodical press is widely credited with being a major force in Rus-
sian culture; in particular, journalism has played a major role in
formulating, defining, and reflecting the opinions of Russia’s literate
classes and, through them, has affected other sectors of Russian
society. In fact, journalism has long been one of the most influential
factors shaping Russian history, letters, and society, certainly from
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