Split infinities : German feminisms and the generational project

Mikus, Birgit and Spiers, Emily (2016) Split infinities : German feminisms and the generational project. Oxford German Studies, 45 (1). pp. 5-30. ISSN 0078-7191

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When, in the mid-2000s, a number of pop-feminist essayistic volumes appeared in Germany, their authors expressed the desire to reinvigorate feminism for a new generation of young women. Their texts focus in part on the continuing need to ensure equal democratic rights for young women in terms of equal pay, reproductive capacities and child care. Yet they simultaneously register their dissatisfaction with the legacy of the New Feminism and, more specifically, with the role models it produced. Although in their written interventions these new German pop-feminists often draw on the generic and rhetorical strategies of their feminist forebears, they employ the generational metaphor as a means of producing a narrative of ‘progress’ (Hemmings, 2011) which signifies a departure from previous feminist discourses and firmly ‘others’ their exponents. This type of narrative resonates troublingly with wider social and political narratives which situate feminism firmly in the past. Strikingly, German pop-feminist volumes share the deployment of this progress narrative with similar publications in Britain and the US. Yet the German volumes generally — and uniquely in relation to those three contexts — avoid textual engagement with the writing and protagonists of the first women’s movement in Germany. This section of the article examines the feminist historiographical narratives told in pop-feminist volumes across all three contexts, enquiring after the local specificities of generational thinking, its caesurae, emphases and omissions, and revealing the broader transnational commonalities — and political implications — of feminist stories.

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Journal Article
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Oxford German Studies
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Oxford German Studies on 15/04/2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00787191.2015.1128648
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? hedwig dohmintellectual historynineteenth-century feminismpop-feminismsecond-wave feminismgenerationnarrativelinguistics and languagelanguage and linguisticsliterature and literary theory ??
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26 Jul 2016 12:04
Last Modified:
16 Jun 2024 23:50