Taking a Stand in a Postfeminist World
Toward an Engaged Cultural Criticism
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
We would like to thank Francis C. Lees for his generous and enthusiastic support including, but certainly not limited to, his technical assistance and photography and Alex Lees for helping us in the final stages of manuscript preparation. Colleen B. Cohen was the coauthor of the articles on which chapters 2 and 8 are based. We...
1. On Shaky Ground: Shifting Terrain and the Predicaments of Postfeminism
This book is about the contemporary postfeminist moment, and what it means to position oneself within it. By “postfeminist” we mean a context in which the feminism of the 1970s is problematized, splintered, and considered suspect, one in which it is no longer easy, fun, empowering, or even possible, to take a feminist...
Part I. Shifting Stance: Strategic (Re)Positioning
2. The Postmodernist Turn in Anthropology: Cautions from a Feminist Perspective
At this profoundly self-reflexive moment in anthropology—a moment of questioning traditional modes of representation in the discipline—practitioners seeking to write a genuinely new ethnography1 would do better to use feminist theory as a model than to draw on postmodern trends in epistemology and literary criticism...
3. The Anthropological Unconscious
We wouldn’t know the diagnosis for almost two weeks, but when my sister’s daughter was born, her brain wasn’t fully developed. Only a few hours after the three a.m. call announcing that the baby, Chloë, had been born, I was at the hospital to see her. My sister looked beautiful even after hours of labor, my brother-in-law deliriously...
Part II. Taking a Seat at the Movies: Theories of Representation and Identification
4. An Oblique Look: Theorizing the “Other” as Spectator
We open our attempt to theorize the “other” as spectator with a postmodern gesture: a rereading of the modern, specifically, the rereading of the modern image that appears on the cover of this book. It raises questions about the politics of identity, representation, and “looking” that have dominated theory in many academic...
5. Courting The Nineteenth Century: Object, Image, and Fetishistic Desire
When I bought my round oak table in the late 1970s, I was sure I was being had. The fad for clunky oak had to be just past its peak. No one would ever again be willing to shell out $325 for one of those tables that sat in every kitchen a hundred years ago. Stripped oak iceboxes could not seem like perfect liquor cabinets forever, could...
6. Self-Help Hollywood Style: Masculinity, Masochism, and Identification with the Child Within
That American culture became increasingly therapeutized in the 1990s, especially through the infiltration of self-help discourse into many areas of life, seems almost incontestable. A sampling of journalistic commentary during the 1992 presidential campaign, for example, shows just how influential the ideology of self-help, with its...
7. Piano Lessons: Jane Campion as (Counter)Ethnographer
Within postmodern anthropological theory, questions about speaking for “others” have been central. While some authors have come to them through high European theory, we stumbled upon them in the day-to-day. After collaborating in our writing, we were uncomfortable with the traditional conference format of one speaker...
Part III. On Display: Style and (Ad)dress in Consumer Culture
8. The Female Body in Postmodern Consumer Culture: Subjection and Agency at the Mall
This chapter is an attempt to construct such a “political form of postmodernism,” a struggle to find our feet in the zero gravity of the contemporary shopping mall. This mapping is crucial for an engaged cultural criticism. The mall is a principal delivery system for postmodern images in contemporary American culture (La Ferta, 1989), and...
9. Arts and Crafts Mass Marketed
One thing that we’ve shared besides collaboration in writing is a long-standing interest in William Morris wallpapers and Gustav Stickley furniture. Morris is, of course, the leading figure in the British Arts and Crafts movement, an artistic, philosophical, ethical, and socialist political movement that effaced the boundary between high art...
Part IV. Taking a Stand: Subjects and (Dis)courses in the Academy
10. Body as Text: Young Women’s Negotiations of Subjectivity
The lights come up to reveal this young woman posed for movement like a Greek statue of a young athlete on an inverted metal garbage can. Her healthy stripped body is encased in layers and layers of plastic wrap. She moves, in awkward and jerky struggle, painfully extending in time, as her voice wrenches out versions and repeated...
11. Interpreting Charges of Sexual Harassment: Competing Discourses and Claims
You are a lanky, energetic social science professor, a white male in your early fifties, a sophisticated but rebellious product of British public school education. You enjoy intellectual give and take, as well as a fast game of squash. You value good talk, are amused and pleased by challenge and originality in others, and hence have a...
12. Locked in, Locked out, or Locked up?
In 1993, we were pleased to be included in a stimulating group of feminist scholars, activists and artists invited to a symposium at the University of Arizona to consider how feminist theory and practice use metaphors of space and place. At that time and in that context, feminism seemed rich and diverse. We undertook intellectual exploration...
Page Count: 254
Publication Year: 2000
OCLC Number: 794701358
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