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Mobilising affect in feminist, queer and anti-racist media cultures

The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.

Open Access (free)
Essays on Modern American Literature
Author: David Herd

Modern American literature began with a statement of enthusiasm from Emerson's writing in Nature. 'Enthusiasm', in Emerson, is a knowing word. Sometimes its use is as description, invariably approving, of a historic form of religious experience. Socrates' meaning of enthusiasm, and the image of the enthusiast it throws up, is crucial to this book. The book is a portrait of the writer as an enthusiast, where the portrait, as will become clear, carries more than a hint of polemic. It is about the transmission of literature, showing various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within in their writing or in their cultural activism. Henry David Thoreau's Walden is an enthusiastic book. It is where enthusiasm works both in Immanuel Kant's sense of the unbridled self, and in William Penn's sense of the 'nearer' testament, and in Thoreau's own sense of supernatural serenity. Establishing Ezra Pound's enthusiasm is a fraught and complicated business. Marianne Moore composed poems patiently, sometimes over several years. She is a poet of things, as isolated things - jewels, curios, familiar and exotic animals, common and rare species of plant - are often the ostensible subjects of her poems. Homage to Frank O'Hara is a necessary book, because the sum of his aesthetic was to be found not just in his writing, but also in his actions to which only friends and contemporaries could testify. An enthusiastic reading of James Schuyler brings to the fore pleasure, the sheer pleasure that can come of combining, or mouthing, or transcribing.

Translatina world-making in The Salt Mines and Wildness
Laura Horak

women cultivate survival through strategies of collective care, kinship, and world-​making. Following the insights of the Combahee River Collective, which argued that, ‘If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression’ (1986), trans activists have argued that the most vulnerable trans people should be at the heart of trans politics and activism (Spade, 2015:  19). This political attention to vulnerability (e.g. to the structures that produce it, the

in The power of vulnerability
Open Access (free)
Female theatre workers and professional practice

Stage women, 1900–50 explores the many ways in which women conceptualised, constructed and participated in networks of professional practice in the theatre and performance industries between 1900 and 1950. A timely volume full of original research, the book explores women’s complex negotiations of their agency over both their labour and public representation, and their use of personal and professional networks to sustain their careers. Including a series of case studies that explore a range of well-known and lesser-known women working in theatre, film and popular performance of the period. The volume is divided into two connected parts. ‘Female theatre workers in the social and theatrical realm’ looks at the relationship between women’s work – on- and offstage – and autobiography, activism, technique, touring, education and the law. Part II, ‘Women and popular performance’, focuses on the careers of individual artists, once household names, including Lily Brayton, Ellen Terry, radio star Mabel Constanduros, and Oscar-winning film star Margaret Rutherford. Overall, the book provides new and vibrant cultural histories of women’s work in the theatre and performance industries of the period.

Open Access (free)
Theatre and the politics of engagement
Author: Simon Parry

This book is about science in theatre and performance. It explores how theatre and performance engage with emerging scientific themes from artificial intelligence to genetics and climate change. The book covers a wide range of performance forms from the spectacle of the Paralympics Opening Ceremony to Broadway musicals, from experimental contemporary performance and opera to educational theatre, Somali poetic drama and grime videos. It features work by pioneering companies including Gob Squad, Headlong Theatre and Theatre of Debate as well as offering fresh analysis of global blockbusters such as Wicked and Urinetown. The book offers detailed description and analysis of theatre and performance practices as well as broader commentary on the politics of theatre as public engagement with science. It documents important examples of collaborative practice with extended discussion of the Theatre of Debate process developed by Y Touring theatre company, exploration of bilingual theatre-making in East London and an account of how grime MCs and dermatologists ended up making a film together in Birmingham. The interdisciplinary approach draws on contemporary research in theatre and performance studies in combination with key ideas from science studies. It shows how theatre can offer important perspectives on what the philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers has called ‘cosmopolitics’. The book argues that theatre can flatten knowledge hierarchies and hold together different ways of knowing.

Anu Koivunen, Katariina Kyrölä, and Ingrid Ryberg

this vulnerability is shared, and by whom? Why is #MeToo having an impact only now, with wealthy and often white cis-​women in Hollywood at the forefront of the movement, when the issue of sexual abuse and assault has been a key struggle in feminist, women of colour, and trans activisms for such a long time? What part does social media play in the successes and failures of activist efforts such as #MeToo, and how does it relate to broader media histories of addressing and representing painful issues and marginalised people? One of the keys to the success of the

in The power of vulnerability
The Actresses’ Franchise League from 1914 to 1928
Naomi Paxton

5 ‘Very much alive and kicking’ The Actresses’ Franchise League from 1914 to 1928 Naomi Paxton During the years between the outbreak of the First World War and the passing of the Equal Franchise Bill, the Actresses’ Franchise League (AFL) continued to open up new opportunities for actresses and female theatre professionals to become involved in political and feminist activism by extending its work as an organisation across a diverse portfolio of social, political and philanthropic projects. Although they could not have known it, the commencement of the First

in Stage women, 1900–50
Open Access (free)
Enthusiasm and audit
David Herd

Afterword: enthusiasm and audit This book has been about the transmission of literature. It has shown various writers taking responsibility for that transmission, whether within their writing or in their cultural activism. The word for both kinds of action has been enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, it has been argued, is integral to what Modern American literature, in particular, knows; enthusiasm being, as each of the writers discussed here has one way or another understood it, the state of mind in which composition is possible. It is also integral to the circulation of

in Enthusiast!
Open Access (free)
Maggie B. Gale and Kate Dorney

) practitioner, than it would to another study of a female practitioner who has already been ‘researched’. Playwright Susan Glaspell and producer/director Edith Craig are perhaps two notable exceptions here. The series Women, Theatre and Performance was set up in the 2000s precisely to deal with this tension, and has the support of a publisher that is genuinely interested in both expanding and deepening histories of women in the arts. Moreover, there is now a new generation of research on women’s theatre. Naomi Paxton’s Stage Rights! The Actresses’ Franchise League, Activism

in Stage women, 1900–50
The ambivalence of queer visibility in audio- visual archives
Dagmar Brunow

notion of ‘minor cinema’ (Brunow, 2015), is used as an umbrella term for such grassroots, independent or community archives founded as a reaction to archival neglect. This form of archival activism set out to make personal memories visible and accessible within the (semi-​)public sphere. While queer minor archives and national heritage institutions are facing similar challenges in the wake of digitisation, they have different approaches to recognising queerness and navigating the ambivalence of queer visibility. First, archivists might lack an insight into LGBTQ

in The power of vulnerability