Rethinking Documentary & Experiment in Feminist Art of the Seventies 2/24; 11/10-14

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National Women's Studies Association Conference

Rethinking Documentary & Experiment in Feminist Art of the Seventies

A panel proposal for the National Women's Studies Association Conference "Difficult Dialogues"

November 10-14, part of the conference sub-theme "The Critical and the Creative."

In what E. Ann Kaplan calls "the realist debates" of seventies feminist film theory, documentaries and experimental films exist at opposite ends of a spectrum of feminist aesthetic practices. In Kaplan's rendering, realist documentaries spoke to the urgent political commitments of feminist activism, but reified reactive modes of thinking and looking. Experimental films on the other hand generated new possibilities for both cinema and consciousness, but reached limited audiences of intellectuals. This panel seeks to revive a discussion about feminist aesthetic practices of the seventies, especially film, video, and installation art. Rather than reanimate a framework that naturalizes an unproductive split between "realism" and "experiment," we seek to destabilize both terms of the dialectic and excavate diverse registers of political and aesthetic discourses. For example, what might be gained by reading experimental works for their engagement with "real" politics? How might realist works evidence underestimated investment in formal possibilities? We seek papers that re-read canonical and neglected artworks, but particularly those that address "difficult dialogues," (the NWSA conference theme) within seventies feminism. We are also seeking a non-presenting moderator.

Please send 500 word abstracts and c.v.s by February 24th to Shilyh Warren and Kimberly Lamm

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