sreda, 05. marec 2008

New Feminism - a book presentation

The first action after the morning workshops at the first festival day was a book presentation of "New Feminism. Queer and Networking Conditions" (Loecker, Vienna, 2008) with the co-editors and two contributors of the book. The subtitle of the book is according to the co- editor Marina Grzinic "New Feminism is politics", but still it remains the question, what does it mean new feminism and can a new feminism begin and an old on ends or isn' t it more a new way in the development of feminism. The presentation of the book could not really give an answer to this and that could be also seen as a result of the way of presentation. The four presenters gave more or less a short overview of what they aimed with the book or in particular with their article but no real discussion came up - unfortunately. Unfortunately, because all of them had a very different view on what "new feminism" can be or what it is not and why the necessity for change in feminism exists. And for sure a discussion about this could have shown more precisely what is meant by their concept and maybe some open questions at the end could have been answered more easily. Anyway it got clear that the motor for publishing this book is the fact, that the publishers think that it became necessary to rethink feminism in new capitalism and that the need came up to write a feminism from a different perspective than the "white, western,middle class" one. They wanted to include an understanding that there is not THE feminism but a lot of different circumstances that brought up, feminist and queer movement in the so called "1st, 2nd and 3rd world" and that until now the situation for gender and queer movements are pretty different in all the different countries represented in the book.

But what is the political part in it? On the one hand the publishing of the book itself was described as a political act, in order to be a "writing against conventions" because it is a book that nearly nobody wanted to support and that got only a very little interest also among people dealing with the topic. But on the other hand the political part can be also seen in the fact, that at least some of the authors (61 authors were involved and so it is hard to generalize) tried to "re-politicize" feminism, that during the last period got more and more into a institutional status, by making it an active process again and showing that still feminism, gender - or queer studies are in motion and different in all the parts of the world. If that is enough to be called political again or how far beyond the common use of "political" it goes can hardly be answered without reading the book, but doubtless there might be found some interesting thoughts about "being political" in queer and gender movements in the 41 texts.

How the presenters of the book managed to reach their aim to explain why and why for "new feminism" or what is the aim of the collection of articles by gender, queer and feminist theorist and activist did not turn out clear during the presentation. However one fact got obvious, that this book may not redefine the world, but it reached to collect articles on the topic that were written by authors, that still are not perceived much in scholar discussions at the topic, at least in the so called "western world" and still to get a closer look of the idea, it is still up to you to read the book.

Antje Höhne

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