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    The Romani minority, coercive sterilization, and languages of denial in the Czech lands

    Marks, Sarah (2017) The Romani minority, coercive sterilization, and languages of denial in the Czech lands. History Workshop Journal 84 , pp. 128-148. ISSN 1363-3554.

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    Sterilizations of Romani women in socialist Czechoslovakia, either carried out without proper consent, or coerced through substantial financial incentive, were first reported in 1978. Yet these practices did not end with the fall of Communism, and it took until 2005 for this to be officially acknowledged by the Czech government. This article draws on published and unpublished documents, as well as oral history interviews, to trace the history of efforts to expose such practices, ‘come to terms’ with their existence, and change social attitudes in relation to the Romani minority in the Czech lands. These exposures have uncovered instances of denial, and have also offered up a variety of ways of understanding the mental and social mechanisms that might have enabled silences, refusals or disavowals with regard to human rights abuses. Under Communism, dissidents associated with Charter 77 elaborated these through the philosophical concepts of phenomenology; after the transition to democracy, a more psychological and therapeutic language came to the fore. I argue that the Czech case suggests that the historiography of denial and disavowal could be enriched by looking beyond the framework of psychoanalysis: by taking into account how historical actors, sometimes with opposing worldviews, have comprehended these processes within the languages of their own culture and period.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): coercive sterilization, reproductive rights, Czechoslovakia, dissidence, Roma, denial
    School: School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > History, Classics and Archaeology
    Depositing User: Sarah Marks
    Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2017 09:26
    Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 12:24


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