Edited by Suzanne Stiver Lie, Lynda Malik, Ilvi Jõe-Cannon, Rutt Hinrikus
Published by Tallinn University Press (2006, 2007) / Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Centre (2015)
Copies of the book can be acquired from ENUT office/library (price 15 € + postal fees if necessary).
About the authors
Suzanne Lie is Professor Emerita of Educational Sociology at the Institute of Educational Research, University of Oslo. An American-Norwegian, she is the author and co-author of seven books and many articles on women. She is the co-founder of the the Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Center at Tallinn University and its first Academic Director while her husband was Norwegian Ambassador to Estonia.
Lynda Malik is an associate professor of sociology at Villanova University. She has an extensive record of corr-cultural research and is the co-editor (with Suzanne Lie) of the “Women’s Yearbook of Education, 1994”.
Ilvi Jõe-Cannon is the Director of the Estonian Women’s Studies and Resource Centre located at Tallinn University in Estonia. An Estonian-American, she writes, translates and edits articles on contemporary topics concerning Estonia.
Rutt Hinrikus has been with the Estonian Cultural Archive of the Estonian Literature Museum since 1972, serving as its head from 1976 to 1996. She is a researcher/collector of Estonians’ life stories, having compiled and edited five volumes of life stories.
Carrying Linda s Stones is a significant study of women s lives that speaks powerfully to those of us who have been touched by the Soviet occupation and the Estonian diaspora. The editors of this volume have given voice to 15 women and by extension to many thousands of others who had similar experiences that have not been documented. Since it is the first study of its kind to be published in English, these voices can now be heard around the world. My own mother fled Estonia with her family in 1944 as the second Soviet occupation began. She traveled on a German troop transport ship and then on foot across Germany to reach a displaced person s camp in Hamburg. She and her roommates pursued graduate education while living in the camp and when these women came to the United States, all four had professional careers that spanned three decades. My mother is one of the thousands of courageous Estonian women that Carrying Linda s Stones seeks to make visible. This book draws on the life history collection of the Estonian Literary Museum Cultural History Archive and the editors have carefully selected and translated life stories that represent those who stayed in Estonia to lead a double life under the occupation, those who were forcibly deported, and those who decided to flee and live in exile. The stories themselves are compelling; however, the greater importance of this volume lies in its historical contextualization and sociological analysis of these memories. Evidencing both sociological imagination and a feminist perspective, this study looks at the intersection of biography and history with an eye to revealing the forces of gender inequality that shaped Estonian women s lives. All Estonians were profoundly affected by the political and military struggle between Germany and Russia for control of Estonia during World War II, the Soviet occupation, as well as the ongoing development of Estonian nationalism. Carrying Linda s Stones illuminates how these socio-political forces affected women s lives in particular. Especially significant is the powerful and fascinating tension between Estonian national identity on the one hand and gender equality on the other. Although Estonian women won the right to vote in 1920 at the beginning of the first independence period, they were barely represented within the new democracy and the emphasis on national identity founded on a strong family kept women mired in traditional gender roles. The Soviet imposition of a pseudo-equality during the half century of occupation did little to lighten women s burdens while it managed to taint ideas of gender equality and feminism. I do have some quibbles with the editing of the volume, particularly the redundancy of the organization of historical materials. A number of chapters cover the same historical periods and that tends to make the book a bit choppy. Minor problems notwithstanding, Carrying Linda s Stones makes a valuable contribution to Baltic Studies. Baltic Studies, like other scholarly fields, has been limited by its focus on political, economic and military issues framed overwhelmingly from a male perspective. Women s lives have been invisible and women s voices silent. Carrying Linda s Stones is an important step in bringing women into Baltic Studies. Further, because it is written in English, it brings the powerful stories of Estonian women to a broader audience interested in the relationship between national identity and gender equality.
— Kersti Yllö
Wheaton College, Norton, MA
Journal of Baltic Studies, 8 January 2008
This book is certain to play a positive role in the building of civil society in Estonia and in promoting understanding of the nature of Estonian life outside Estonia. I have been studying Baltic societies for more than 30 years, and never in that period have I been more enthusiastic in recommending a book. Paul A. Goble, former Special Advisor on Soviet Nationality Problems and Baltic Affairs, Department of State This anthology brings to life in a very person a way how history stormed into people’s lives and subsequently shaped them. Consequently, these fifteen stories offer personal and intimate vignettes that history books often fail to reveal in their treatment of the “big picture”. H. E. Alona Wos, US Ambassador to Estonia The voices of the strong-minded and determined women we hear in this anthology cannot fail to inspire us. Their struggles personal, public and political and the courage and strength with which they faced them are a model of triumph over adversity and a lesson for us all. Glenys Kinnock, Member of European Parliament, UK The volume is a welcome addition to the recently enhance mosaic of primary sources in the Russian and East European area as well as a useful contribution to the field of gender studies. Toivo Raun, Professor, Indiana University Estonia was frozen in by Soviet occupation with its pseudo-equality, which led to the notorious “double burden” and turned women’s rights into a dirty word for many people. This anthology is a significant part of steps needed to make a dent into such attitudes. It would be a useful textbook in raising women’s consciousness. Rain Taagepera, Professor, University of California, Irvine “Carrying Linda’s Stones” presents an authentic and emotionally compelling record of women’s struggles to survive WWII, occupations, deportations, exile, and the transition to restored independence. I can highly recommend it.
— Melissa Wells, former Ambassador to Estonia