Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Feminist histories and feminism's political future, University of Edinburgh, 10th/11th March

Leverhulme International Research Network ‘Transnational Perspectives on Women's Art, Feminism and Curating’

What  constitutes ‘the past’ of feminism? How has this past been mediated and disseminated to the public? Which public, and where? How is the concept of feminist history, even if pluralised as ‘histories’, connected with debates around the oppressive presence of a hegemonic (read: Western) feminism allegedly disseminated from the centre to its endless peripheries? Does the concept of feminist histories imply a historicisation of feminism – that is, either its obsolescence or its perpetual re-inscription as ‘that moment’, associated with second-wave feminism against which every feminist initiative today must be measured? Does this same concept acknowledge ideological divisions within feminism? And can the quest for transnational feminist solidarity, increasingly an expressed demand of feminism in the age of global capital, provide new perspectives on feminist histories? As regards art in particular, how can we ensure that feminist histories in this context do not remain merely art-world histories but relate to broader configurations of feminism’s political cultures? Are indeed feminist histories only to exist in feminist research and curatorial projects or can they be part of broader art histories and social struggles? Can they perhaps just be part of biennials? Markets? Can feminist histories help us imagine the future of feminism as a connective, political struggle? If so, can this be realised through curatorial work at all at present or will such work inevitably be recuperated by the capitalist institution? Is feminist history – note the return to the singular – in crisis? And if so, is this a good or a bad thing?

UWS' Katarzyna Kosmala will present a paper entitled  Performative Practice and Eastern European Feminist Histories. 


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