Janus and Gender: Women and the Nation's Backward Look


Cusack, Tricia. 2000. “Janus and Gender: Women and the Nation’s Backward Look.” Nations and Nationalism 6 (4): 541–61.

Author: Tricia Cusack


This article considers how nations are imagined and  characterised in relation to the national roles allocated to women, with particular reference to the early Irish state. It examines two related dichotomies, that between ‘civic’ and ‘ethnic’ nationalisms, and the concept of the nation itself as ‘Janus-faced’, simultaneously looking ahead to the future and back to the past. It has been suggested that  women bore the burden of the nation's ‘backward look’ towards a putative traditional rural past and an organic community, while men appropriated the nation's present and future. This thesis is examined with reference to Ireland and the representation of women in visual imagery and travel writing.

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Roles, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Ireland

Year: 2000

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