Anna McNay Recomends: ‘Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories’

Amelia Jones book coverArt and culture writer Anna McNay recomends:

Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories
Edited by Amelia Jones and Erin Silver
From the series: Rethinking Art’s Histories
Manchester University Press
ISBN 978-0-7190-9642-6

In her introduction to this dense but readable volume, feminist art historian Amelia Jones – who edits the collection alongside queer theorist Erin Silver – states that we no longer know – if we ever did – what we mean when we say ‘woman’, ‘lesbian’, ‘queer’ or ‘feminist’. This, apparently, is a good thing, opening up the space for the otherwise of the book’s title – and for necessary debate around the subjects of queer theory and feminist art history – and their intersection.

The 22 essays in the collection trace the genealogy of the two lines of study, asking whether they are inherently incompatible, with the essentialising bias of feminist art history, versus queer theory’s refusal to accept identity as a static or singular aspect of subjectivity. Through a series of dialogues, from contributors of both disciplines and various generations and geographies, the volume considers what ‘queer feminism’ might mean in the making and study of the visual arts. The book is a rich resource and a must-read for anyone interested in the relationship between gender politics and visual culture.

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