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Looking Back: 'Post-Feminism', History, Narrative

20 and 21st September 2012 - Warwick

Convened by Dr Katherine Angel

The term ‘post-feminism’ has gained currency in recent years in the US and UK to diagnose a culture in which feminism, seen as having achieved its aim of equality between the sexes, is viewed as no longer relevant. Critiques of 'post-feminism' suggest that to historicise feminism is by definition an act of ‘turning one’s back’ on it; young women are required to look back at feminism as something from the past to be discarded.

This conference will explore where this diagnosis of 'post-feminism' leaves the writing of history specifically, but also writing more generally. How should historians look back, genealogically and critically, at the feminisms of the postwar period? What are the implications - methodological and political - of including second-wave feminism as a category of historical analysis in itself? And what are the narrative forms demanded by the attempt to write historically about feminist pasts - whether those of others or of ourselves?

Speakers include:

Dr Adrian Bingham (Senior Lecturer in Modern History, Sheffield University), author of Family Newspapers? Sex, Private Life, and the British Popular Press, 1918-1978, and Gender, Modernity, and the Popular Press in Inter-War Britain.

Ms Alison J Carr (Practice-led PhD student, Sheffield Hallam, Art and Design Research Centre), research on embodiment, glamour, and agency. 

Professor Kathy Davis (Senior Researcher, History and Culture, Utrecht), author of Reshaping the Female Body; Dubious Equalities and Embodied Differences, and The Making of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

Dr Jonathan Dean (Lecturer in Political Theory, Politics and International Studies, Leeds), author of Rethinking Contemporary Feminist Politics.

Dr Laura King (Postdoctoral Fellow, History, Warwick), research on fatherhood, masculinity and feminism.

Professor Barbara Marshall(Professor of Sociology at Trent University, Canada). Author of Engendering Modernity; and Configuring Gender. Current research on sexuality and age discourses in Western societies.