December 1, 2020 | Revisiting ‘Is Feminism a Bad Memory?’: On Being Afraid and Being Disturbed

November 20, 2020

Griselda Pollock, Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art, and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds, will give a Pembroke Center virtual presentation “Revisiting ‘Is Feminism a Bad Memory?’: On Being Afraid and Being Disturbed,” on Tuesday, December 1st.

 In 2016, Pollock published the essay “Is Feminism a Trauma, a Bad Memory, or a Virtual Future?” in differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. Reading the event of feminism as a trauma both to its societies and to its potential subject—feminists—the article mounted an argument against the iterated feminist memory of warring generations and succeeding waves. While displacing the familialization of feminism that acts out the daughter’s unrelieved “anxiety of influence” in a phallocentric culture structurally committed to mother-hating and mother-blaming, the article explores psychoanalytical foundations for the ethical questions of responsibility in the struggle to incite and sustain the spaces of democratic subjectivities imagined beyond the paradigms of parents, children, and envious siblings.

In her talk revisiting and elaborating on this work, Pollock will consider Donna Harraway’s endorsement of feminist blasphemy and examine the dominant theoretical and political trends within an expanding and still vital feminist project. Asserting that feminism cannot be allowed to be a memory, good or bad, dissected or regretted nostalgically, Pollock questions whether women, once called upon to play a historic role as a political force, continue to do so, and what critical voice can challenge some of the canons of contemporary thinking.

Pollock’s discussion will proceed from a video presentation that will be made available to those who register for the event. Audience members will be able to view the video in full at a time of their choosing in advance of the discussion, which will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on December 1stRegister here.