Monday, April 21, 2014

Theme: Feminism

  • For many the term postfeminist might call to mind the vanilla pleasures of metrosexuality, webcams, online soaps, and blog culture, but, for me, a 40-something cyberfeminist scholar, curator and some time activist, the politically-minded feminist texts I work with are in fact dyed-in-the-wool postfeminist ones that occupy a different place on the postfeminism continuum from those more loudly-lauded, lighter confections.Read more
  • Political philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain died on August 11, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 72. A controversial public intellectual and prolific scholar whose works covered the gamut from defending the role of religion in politics to providing justifications for war and engaging controversies about and within feminism, Jean Elshtain defied easy categorization either as a thinker or as a person.Read more
  • In politics, sometimes the thing that will never happen actually starts to happen, preparing the ground for transformation. Judith Butler speaks on the Israel/Palestine conflict and her recent book Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. By now, Judith Butler is used to improbable accusations. Among other things, she has been called a “useful idiot” for anti-Semites, a supporter of terrorism and – that old classic – a self-hating Jew.Read more
  • I go with a friend Jennifer to the exhibition ‘Genius of Place’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Kathleen Petyarre’s canvasses are ravishing, and enormous. Their rhythmic repetition is arresting, and we sit for an uncounted moment of lost time to absorb this. Then, we go to the café, asking ourselves: why do we feel we ‘get’ those paintings?Read more
  • Femen’s April 4 protests in response to death threats against Tunisian nude blogger Amina Tyler have prompted much debate. How do we reconcile the need to defend free expression with the ambiguities of using nude women to market feminism?Read more
  • The narrative of splits in Protestantism which is based on convenient binaries, with African and Asian churches emerging as the conservatives, and the US and Europe as the liberals, fails to capture the complexity of what is going on at ground level.Read more
  • Mina Loy's “Feminist Manifesto” is a polemic against women’s subordinate position in modern Western culture, penned in 1914 by Anglo-American writer and painter Mina Loy, who was then living in an expatriate community in Florence, Italy. This polemic, unpublished in Loy’s lifetime, is one of her earliest prose works and offers a rather violent program for securing women’s individuality and thereby transforming their social and artistic status.Read more
  • From the respect paid to property flow, as from a poisoned fountain, most of the evils and vices which render this world such a dreary scene to the contemplative mind. For it is in the most polished society that noisome reptiles and venomous serpents lurk under the rank herbage; and there is voluptuousness pampered by the still sultry air, which relaxes every good disposition before it ripens into virtue.Read more
  • In fall 2009, an exhibition, public talk, and workshops by the Guerrilla Girls were presented at the Acadia University Art Gallery. Coincidentally, Gender and Development was being offered in the same semester. This provided an opportunity for a cross-disciplinary collaborative project that engaged students outside the classroom.Read more
  • My favorite definition of a feminist is one offered by Su, an Australian woman who, when interviewed for Kathy Bail’s 1996 anthology DIY Feminism, described them simply as “women who don’t want to be treated like shit.” This definition is pointed and succinct, but I run into trouble when I try to expand it.Read more
  • Maurice Merleau-Ponty did not write much on race; he only mentioned it once, as far as I know, in his article, “The Child’s Relation with Others”. In these post-colonial times, it is recognized that one of the tools of colonialism is its epistemic hegemony—defining knowledge on the semblance of originating or affiliating with the northwest.Read more
  • In a deleted take from The Wizard of Oz posted on YouTube, Judy/Dorothy breaks down during her iconic song. She doesn't sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," she weeps it. Did they want her to cry like this? Did they push her too hard, for too long, for too many years? Or did her crying overtake her and "ruin" the take?Read more
  • Shulamith Firestone’s Airless Spaces (1998) has been sitting in one of my bookcases since 2000. I bought the postcard-sized Semiotext(e) book mostly out of surprise from seeing the name of its author in print: one I realized I hadn’t seen for a very long time and which I didn’t associate with fiction. Read more
  • Forget Simone De Beauvoir, Betty Friedan, and Naomi Wolf. Descartes gave us all that we needed to claim gender equality a long time ago. Historians rarely remember it this way, but women’s rights were dramatically (if hypothetically) advanced when, in 1619, René Descartes, snow-bound in a stove-heated room in Neuberg, Germany, had the crazy idea to bet that the body might be entirely an illusion of the senses. Read more
  • The anecdote is a slippery knowledge maker, its politics suspect. On the one hand, it claims the authority of the first person, of presence. But this “I was there” aspect of anecdotal knowledge brings with it the force of an authority and the undoing of that authority in equal measure. Read more
  • Once the cell doors slam behind them, virtually all prisoners exist in a netherworld--invisible to people outside, while inside they are stripped of autonomy and any identity separate from the crimes for which they were convicted. “In prison you crave space to be someone other than a label of ‘murderer,’ ‘bad mother,’ ‘drug addict’ … ‘victim of abuse,’” writes Kathy BoudinRead more
  • A recording of Christabel Pankhurst's Suffragette speech a few hours after her release from Holloway prison in 1908. Full women's voting rights were granted in 1928.Read more
  • Feminism needs to recapture the state from the neoliberal project to which it is in hock in order to make it deliver for women. It must guard against atomisation and recover its transformative aspirations to shape the new social order that is hovering on the horizon.Read more
  • Jeffrey Eugenides, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, reads a passage from his latest, The Marriage Plot. Read more
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