University College Cork, 14–15 September 2012
Deadline: 30 June 2012
Feminism and modernism have long had an uneasy relationship. The feminist position within modernism, an arguably masculinist complex of movements, is an ambiguous and problematic one which is further complicated when it comes into relationship with activism. Throughout the twentieth century, artists and writers aligned with feminism and the women’s movement have engaged with modernist tropes in a variety of ways, employing literary, filmic and artistic practices both to evaluate political positions and to prosthelytize for them. Much of the recent scholarship on these practitioners has neglected to contextualise their output as work that might operate against or within contemporaneous manifestations of feminist activism.
This conference seeks to explore how feminist activism has intersected with modernism and postmodernism in the arts, examining the tensions, connections, and contributions made to modernisms by participants in the women’s movement and by individual feminist activists. Looking at phenomena ranging from early futurist claims for the autonomy of the female practitioner to an artistic and literary engagement with the second wave of the women’s movement, and the relationship between feminism and poststructuralism, this conference seeks considerations of a variety of approaches from across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in order to interrogate activist feminism and its relationship to the modernist artworld.