Embodied Activisms explores how activists use their bodies to resist social norms, engage with institutions, and promote change. This book spans historical perspectives, current contexts, and the most current scholarly literature to interrogate how embodied activisms are read, performed, understood, and actualized. The studies in this volume address current, critical issues such as police accountability activism, the climate crisis, environmental concerns, and protests of Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Chapters analyze a wide range of nonviolent mobilization tactics, including silent protests, embodied witnessing, leisure spectacle demonstrations, performance art and other forms of creative practice, and rallies. Analyses engage with aspects of intersectionality in activism and critique diverse modes of embodied resistance in locations including East Central Europe, the Americas, and the Mediterranean region.
Victoria A. Newsom is professor of communication studies and affiliate faculty in social justice and diversity at Olympic College.
Lara Martin Lengel is professor in the School of Media and Communication and affiliate faculty in women's, gender, and sexuality studies at Bowling Green State University.
Table of Contents
Ouverture: Embodied Activisms
Victoria A. Newsom & Lara Martin Lengel
Section I: Theorizing Embodied Activisms
Chapter 1: Centuries of In/Visibility: Origins of Embodied Activism as Theory and Practice Victoria A. Newsom, Lara Martin Lengel, and Desiree A. Montenegro
Chapter 2: Police Accountability Activism as Feminist Ethics: Theorizing Non-Violent Embodied Witnessing Mary Angela Bock
Chapter 3: Visual Disruptions as Embodied Activism: Leisure Spectacle Demonstration Casey R. Schmitt
Chapter 4: The [De]meaning of Incorruptible Flesh: Marginalized Bodies and the Performance of Desire
Billy Huff & Margaret Cavin Hambrick
Chapter 5: Lay Down Your 'Body Burdens' and Write: (Re)Forming Environmental Science
Through Narratives of Toxicity and Healing
Section II: Witnessing, Remembering
Chapter 6: Palestinian Dedications, Commitments, and Persistence: Decolonial Memory-work During the Seventieth Anniversary of the Nabka
Sarah Cathryn Majed Dweik
Chapter 7: Embodied Witnessing and the Struggle for Memory in Budapest’s Szabadságszínpad Protests
Chapter 8: An Actor-Network Approach: The Role of Art in Public Spaces in the Gezi Protests
Section III: Silence and In/Visibility
Chapter 9: A Handmaid’s Tale of Protest: Analyzing Intersectionality in Silence-Body-Image
Chapter 10: Embodied (L)Activism: Mothering and/as Embodied Nourishing
Molly Wiant Cummins
Chapter 11: Subversive Silence: Productive Discomfort as Embodied Activism
Chapter 12: Emerging Activisms: Responding to Current and Future Crises
Desiree A. Montenegro, Victoria A. Newsom, and Lara Martin Lengel
This pioneering publication proposes a provocative, profound reconceptualization of the body’s role in activism from an instrument that ‘performs activism’ to a constitutive site of resistance and generative source of ‘embodied activism’ opposing oppression grounded in bodily differences. Using original, contemporary case studies of bodily actions (from protesting to witnessing) challenging gender, racial, and ethnic oppression, contributors explicate the tenets, explanatory power, and significance of Newsom and Lengel’s Theory of Embodied Activism. Their research reveals important contributions the theory makes to the study of activism, such as the documented transformative experience of participatory, body-based action showing the need to expand the dominant focus on the effects of activism on social change.