38th Annual Association of Art Historians Conference
The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
29 – 31 March 2012
Feminisms of Multitudes - AAH Session
This session will look at the new alliances imagined, pursued and actualized by contemporary feminism in the fields of art practice, art theory and history, curating and activism. Here, the ‘contemporary’ describes a world order based on the full globalisation of capital from the early 1990s to date, where conflict, crisis and resistance are all deepening. It is in this context that scholars such as Nancy Fraser and Hester Eisenstein have, both in 2009, put together powerful critiques of capital as a force that have co-opted secondwave feminism. On the other hand, feminism as a politics of the intimate, the everyday and non-violent overturnings is often invoked as an emancipatory narrative by critics of global capital. Michael Hardt and Toni Negri’s elaboration of a ‘multitude’, a global productive force of singularities rather than individuals, where identity is at least temporarily suspended and transversal struggles enacted, may be seen to extend significantly the possibilities of feminist social praxis. The emphasis on intersectionality, the convergence of queer and feminist methodologies, new imbrications of anarchist and Marxist radical politics with feminist thinking complicate and expand further the scope of feminism in the early 21st century, suggesting at least the possibility of a feminism of tactical or spontaneous ‘togetherness’. But the revolutionary potential of the multitude has also been critiqued by feminist scholars who have noted the poverty of gender analysis in existent theorizations of the concept, or who continue to see benefits in strategic separatism.
The session invites papers that propose to think closely about how such developments impact practices that cross through art and its contexts. Papers examining the impact of these developments on the writing of art history are particularly welcome. The broader question asked is: is feminism in a process of reinventing a politics of solidarity in emerging cultures of protest, of enacting or contributing to multi-directional resistance within multitudes? Where is this evident and how is it relevant to progressive political thinking in, through, about art? Papers may discuss successes, failures, what is at stake in doing politics from what we (may) have in common, the need to act beyond identity, without need for representation. Topics may include (but are not to be limited to) democracy, conflict, labour, reproduction, biopolitics, knowledge.
Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words, along with your name and institutional affiliation, to Vicky (email@example.com) and Harry (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 7 November 2011.
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