"Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society", a leading international journal of feminist scholarship, is pleased to announce the publication of Anna Hájková’s article “Sexual Barter in Times of Genocide: Negotiating the Sexual Economy of the Theresienstadt Ghetto.” The essay is the winner of the 2013 Catharine Stimpson Prize for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship, a prize that /Signs/ awards biennially to the best paper submitted by a scholar in the early years of her career.
Hájková's article draws on archival material, memoirs, and interview data to relate a remarkable story about gender power in a Czech transit camp operated by the Nazi SS. The author examines how conditions in the Theresienstadt ghetto generated a system in which women inmates deliberately traded sexual and social favors for food, protection, and symbolic capital. In this telling, Hájková conceptualizes “sexual barter” in relation to a host of changing practices and power dynamics that contribute to the commodification of sexuality and the sexualization of the ghetto economy. Analyzing bartered sexuality as a means of producing and sustaining gendered social hierarchies in the ghetto society, the author explores forms of communication that create differential status among prisoners while also stratifying national groups of Jews from Central and Western Europe. In addition, the article considers the erasure of sexual barter in postwar narratives of sexuality in the time of genocide.
The article is available online through JSTOR at http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/668607.
The call for papers for the 2015 Stimpson Prize is available at http://signsjournal.org/for-authors/calls-for-papers/.