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Anna Novakov


Anna Navokov


Anna Novakov is Professor of Art History and Chair of the Art and Art History Department at Saint Mary’s College of California. Professor Novakov holds two degrees from the University of California and a doctorate from New York University in the History of Art and Art Education. During the early 1990s, she came to prominence in Manhattan as one of the first art critics to write about the role of installation art in public spaces in books such as Veiled Histories: The Body, Place and Public Art (1997) and Carnal Pleasures: Desire, Contemporary Art and Public Space (1998). Her scholarly interests range from the fin de siècle to the postmodernist era. A prolific writer, Professor Novakov has received numerous awards and grants for her research and criticism. Her practice encompasses art criticism, art history and curatorial projects. Most significantly, she is the primary contributor, sole author or editor of ten books on gender and modernist art and architecture including The Artistic Legacy of Le Corbusier’s machine à habiter (2008), Essays on Women’s Artistic and Cultural Contributions 1919-1939: Expanded Social Roles for the New Woman following the First World War (2009), Phantom Architecture: Essays on Interwar Architecture in Belgrade (2011), Play of Lines: Anton Ažbe’s Art Academy and Education of East European Female Painters (2011) and Talking Points: Conversations about Art, Gender and Public Space (2012).

Project Description:
Ksenija Atanasijević and the Emergence of the Feminist Movement in Interwar Serbia

Ksenija Atanasijević (1894-1981) was the first woman to earn a doctorate and become a professor of Philosophy at the University of Belgrade in 1924. Atanasijević was a prolific writer, who was fluent in German, French and Serbian and who completed over 400 texts covering a wide range of topics from aesthetics, metaphysics, literature, feminism and philosophy. A pioneer for women’s rights, Atanasijević was active in the Serbian Women’s League for Peace and Freedom, the Women’s Movement Alliance and the Women’s Movement (Ženski Pokret) journal, which she edited from 1920-1938. In 1936 her male colleagues who successfully removed from her professorship by orchestrating a smear campaign. A series of heated public hearings were held in which some of the most prominent intellectuals of Belgrade, such as poets Rastko Petrović and Sima Pandurić, came to Atanasijević’s defense. From 1936 until 1941 she took a job in the office of the Ministry of Education. During her time at the Ministry she wrote articles against anti-Semitism and the emerging National Socialist movement. These publications were brought to the attention of the Gestapo who imprisoned her in 1942. Following the war Marshall Tito’s government accused Atanasijević of spreading controversial political ideas during the occupation years in turn imprisoned her again. Her final prison release came in 1946, after which time she was able to obtain work as a clerk in the National Library of Serbia. This biographical study focuses on Atanasijević’s contributions to the history of philosophy and the interwar women’s movement in Serbia and the conflicts that this allegiance caused in her professional and personal life.