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“Toutes les Femmes de France”: Female Political Mobilization and the Ligue Antisémitique Française, 1899


I will be looking at female mobilization within the turn-of-the-century French antisemitic movement, which has traditionally posed a problem for historians. On the one hand, the movement itself was ideologically antifeminist, with stable and traditional gender roles seen as a crucial weapon against the decadence of the French state.1 At the same time, however, the movement actively sought out female participants. Women responded to these appeals by joining leagues, attending meetings, or contributing in other ways.2 This paradox, seen also in later right-wing movements in France and elsewhere, merits further study – why (and how) do women become involved in movements that ostensibly reject female political activity, and why do such movements seek out female members? In this paper, I will address the first of these questions by examining female mobilization in the Ligue Antisémitique Française (LAF), focusing in particular on female mobilization during the siege of the League’s headquarters in the summer of 1899.

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