Public Feminism in Times of Crisis examines the public practice of feminism in the age of social media. While their concept of public feminism emerges from a moment of acute crisis (the Trump years and the Covid-19 pandemic), Leila Easa and Jennifer Stager locate its foundations in history, journeying through broad swatches of time looking for connections between the centuries through art and literature and culture. Each chapter focuses on what public feminists do in the world: Public feminists gain control over an archive that otherwise contains or excludes them; they recover their own stories and subjective experiences, sometimes for activist use; they examine images and language that construct women in patriarchal texts; they situate the individual within a collective and the collective within an individual; they confront the limitations of such situating due to the containment of patriarchy and reclaim new systems of power in response; and they resurface a deep history for the alternative strategies of memorializing they employ. In navigating these practices, the authors also attend to the material conditions of writing histories as well as those shaping and enabling public feminist acts and protests more broadly.
Leila Easa is professor in the English department at City College of San Francisco.
Jennifer Stager is assistant professor of history of art at Johns Hopkins University and author of Seeing Color in Classical Art: Theories, Practice, and Reception from Antiquity to the Present.
Chapter One: Managing the Public Body: The Archive, Trauma, and Silence
Chapter Two: Mapping Enclosure and Disclosure
Chapter Three: On the Gendered Politics of Translation
Chapter Four: The Collective Lyric I
Chapter Five: The Parabolic Curve
Chapter Six: Scaling Loss, Listing Names
About the Authors
In Public Feminism in Times of Crisis: From Sappho's Fragments to Viral Hashtags, the power of community and collaboration to amplify women's voices is on full display. Using poetic prose, Easa and Stager seamlessly traverse disciplinary boundaries to draw connections between artistic and textual examples past and present, highlighting the important role of public feminism within the context of patriarchy, while also imagining possibilities beyond.
A pleasure to read! Born of pandemic and shaped by hard histories – from Artemisia to Sappho and Maya Lin, #MeToo to Black Lives Matter, Antigone to Ferguson – the pains, joys, freedoms, and sorrows of an emergent public feminism, are explored, crafted, sculpted, weaved, translated, grieved, and danced into existence by co-authors Easa and Stager. Do yourself a favor and read this book by two knowledgeable women whose collaboration stages an antiracist and counter-misogynistic tradition out of the archives committed to their impossibility.
Public Feminism in Times of Crisis: From Sappho’s Fragments to Viral Hashtags offers an engaging and unique take on the contours, implications, and manifestations of public feminism in our current historical moment. One of the strengths of this book is how it speaks to our contemporary moment while also acknowledging the centuries-old roots of public feminism. Providing a genealogy of public feminism is especially important in light of attempts to ahistoricize resistance movements. While there have been many scholarly articles and public-facing pieces that address similar topics, this book offers a unique contribution to the conversation because it brings together under one roof different strands of the dialogue about public feminism.