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Women's Liberation

Swedish Feminist Comics and Cartoons from the 1970s and 1980s

Anna Nordenstam and Margareta Wallin Wictorin

The success of Swedish feminist comics at the beginning of the twenty-first century, represented by, among others, the cartoonists Liv Strömquist and Nina Hemmingsson, can be traced back to precursors in the 1970s and 1980s. This article argues

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Robin Whitaker

Many feminists have been troubled by questions of friendship in ethnographic research. For some critics, such assertions elide power imbalances, invoking a 'sisterly identification' built on essentialist models of gender. In this article I combine insights gained from partisan ethnography in the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition with feminist theory to argue that the problem lies not with claims to friendship as such, but with a naturalized model in which friendship is treated as a power-free zone. A more politicized approach to friendship offers analytical tools for thinking about methodological, epistemological, political and applied problems in feminist anthropology and politics and to wider questions about the relationship between intellectual and political life, critique and solidarity.

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Carrie A. Rentschler

Young feminists use social media in order to respond to rape culture and to hold accountable the purveyors of its practices and ways of thinking when mainstream news media, police and school authorities do not. This article analyzes how social networks identified with young feminists take shape via social media responses to sexual violence, and how those networks are organized around the conceptual framework of rape culture. Drawing on the concept of response-ability, the article analyzes how recent social media responses to rape culture evidence the affective and technocultural nature of current feminist network building and the ways this online criticism re-imagines the position of feminist witnesses to rape culture.

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Feminist Anthropology Anew

Motherhood and HIV/AIDS as Sites of Action

Pamela J. Downe

Ongoing discussions about feminist anthropology as an active and relevant sub-discipline largely rely on historical comparisons that pit the political fervour of the past against what is deemed to be the less defined and increasingly disengaged feminist anthropology of today. In this paper, I argue that the prevailing tone of pessimism surrounding feminist anthropology should be met with a critical response that: (1) situates the current characterization of the sub-discipline within broader debates between second- and third-wave feminism; and (2) considers the ways in which the supposed incongruity between theories of deconstruction and political engagement undermines the sub-discipline's strengths. Throughout this discussion, I consider what an ethnographic study of motherhood in the context of HIV/AIDS can offer as we take stock of feminist anthropology's current potential and future possibility.

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Engaging Feminist Anthropology in Vanuatu

Local Knowledge and Universal Claims

Jean Mitchell

In Vanuatu, where the revival of kastom (custom) has been pivotal in defining postcolonial identity, articulations of feminism(s) are offen met with ambivalence. The tension between discourses of individual rights and collective obligations and the tension between universal ideas of women's rights and local cultural practices such as kastom must be confronted. An engaged feminist anthropology, I argue, resists singular accounts of modernity by locating local knowledge and kastomary practices within a larger context that unsettles the boundaries of local and universal. Disentangling the ways in which contemporary critiques of kastom resonate with missionary and colonial representations of Melanesian violence and drawing attention to the structural violence of everyday life are also important tasks. Invoking the concepts of 'modest witness' and 'situated knowledge', I discuss what Strathern (1987) has called the 'awkward relationship' between anthropology and feminism and consider the possibilities of an engaged feminist anthropology.

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Analog Girls in a Digital World?

Instructional Practice through Feminist Pedagogical Media Literacy

Stephanie Troutman

In this article I discuss a theoretical intervention—feminist pedagogical media literacy (FPML)—that has practical application. I argue for the advancement of this multi-faceted media and new literacies form as a mode of empowerment for girls and young women. Using examples from feminist theoretical scholarship; DIY media and other new literacies frames; classroom examples and anecdotes; and educational perspectives on curriculum and policy, I advocate for a feminist pedagogical media literacy that enables critique and/or action stances.

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Feminism and Feminist History-Writing in Turkey

The Discovery of Ottoman Feminism

Serpil Çakır

The formation of a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey coincided with a historical period in which both social movements and academic studies proliferated. Towards the end of the 1980s, the increasing number of women's organisations and publications began to impact upon both the feminist movement and academic research in the area of women's studies. This, combined with the expansion of the civil societal realm, has resulted in many topics and issues related to women becoming part of the public discussion, thereby contributing to the development of a new feminist consciousness. This article discusses the impact of the work in the field of women's history and the ensuing discovery of an Ottoman feminism on the formation of such a feminist consciousness and memory in Turkey.

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Girl Zines at Work

Feminist Media Literacy Education with Underserved Girls

Leigh Moscowitz and Micah Blaise Carpenter

In this article we report on the results of a semester-long critical media literacy initiative with underserved fourth- and fifth-grade girls. Building on the work in girls' studies, feminist pedagogies and critical media studies, this project was designed to privilege girls' voices, experiences, and agency by culminating in the girls' own media production of zines—hand-made, hand-distributed booklets based around the author's interests and experiences. By examining before and after focus group interviews conducted with participants and analyzing the content of their zines, we interrogate participants' general—but hardly linear—shift from positions of celebratory, uncritical media exposure, to self-affirming, transgressive media consumption and production. Ultimately, our findings both emphasize the need for feminist critical media literacy education, and articulate its pedagogical challenges.

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Hanna Herzog

The essay follows the development of gender studies in Israel. It argues that from an invisible social category in the early stages of social research, women as a social category has been continuously viewed with different meanings through different epistemological lenses. A major shift has taken place from gender to genders, from 'women' as a social category to 'women' as fragmented, variegated, and multi-dimensional entities. This transition from gender to genders raises a dilemma, for feminism as theory and as a social movement, of what kind of feminist politics, if any at all, is possible or needed.

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Queering Lucrezia’s Virtú

A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Radical Machiavelli

Andrés Fabián Henao Castro

This article argues for a feminist reinterpretation of the ‘radical Machiavelli’ tradition which pushes Machiavelli’s performative theory of power towards emancipation. I base my argument on a rereading of Niccolò Machiavelli’s Mandragola, whose historical use of the mandrake legend, I claim, symptomatizes historically gendered forms of labour expropriation characteristic of early modern capitalism. Against the background of that historical contextualisation, I then argue against James Martel’s interpretation of Machiavelli’s theory of open secrets, as one that remains unable to extend to Lucrezia the democratic insights that he identifies in Callimaco and Ligurio’s textual conspiracies. Dialectically relocating the political heroism of this play in Lucrezia’s performance, I conclude, Machiavelli’s comedy becomes nevertheless useful for a subaltern theory of democratic action.