Attitudes to futurity in new German feminisms and contemporary women's fiction

Spiers, Emily (2017) Attitudes to futurity in new German feminisms and contemporary women's fiction. Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities, 22 (1). pp. 183-196. ISSN 0969-725X

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Drawing on Clare Hemmings’ work on feminist narratives, this article explores attitudes to the future in recent German-language pop-feminist volumes, including, amongst others, Meredith Haaf, Susanne Klingner and Barbara Streidl’s Wir Alpha-Mädchen: Warum Feminismus das Leben schöner macht [We Alpha-Girls: Why Feminism Makes Life More Beautiful] (2008) and the feminist memoir Neue deutsche Mädchen [New German Girls] (2008) by Jana Hensel and Elisabeth Raether. After analysing the rhetoric of linear progress deployed in these texts and the ways in which their authors consign second-wave feminism to the past in the name of a normative future, I go on to examine future-thinking in two complex first-person novels: Helene Hegemann’s Axolotl Roadkill (2010) and Antonia Baum’s Vollkommen leblos, bestenfalls tot [Completely Lifeless, Preferably Dead] (2011). I demonstrate how these novels invoke a sense of disorientation and asynchronous temporality that is productively queer. Their disruptions of time and space, of language and form, combine with decentred central protagonists to throw doubt on the figure of the coherent sovereign subject who lurks persistently behind the new German feminists’ configuration of the self-empowered “individual.” Finally, this paper contends that the queer refusal of normative futures enacted by the novels allows the opportunity to imagine alternative modes of being that are potentially politically transformative.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities on 17 March 2017, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? german feminismgerman literaturenarrativerhetoricfuturesqueer disruptionsagencysubjectivityindividualismsocial constructionphilosophyliterature and literary theorycultural studies ??
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21 Mar 2017 16:54
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 16:53