What is a Feminist Object? Feminist Material Culture and the Making of the Activist Object

Alison Bartlett, M. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Investigating the idea of feminist material culture, this paper proposes ways of considering, classifying, and making meaning of feminist objects. Material things are an important constituent of second-wave feminism that have yet to attract much attention, possibly because of the difficulties of deciding what might constitute a feminist object. We therefore draw some more specific observations from two recent projects: a collection of objects on feminist activism for a national museum, and a collection of essays focused on feminist objects. Both projects are related to Australian feminist activism from the 1970s onward and are used to identify a system of feminist objects and the nature of the feminist object as an activist object. After outlining a possible classification system, we offer another form of object analysis by adapting the idea of object biography to sketch a collective biography of feminist objects. The conclusions we draw around the nature of feminist things suggest this is a rich source of physical evidence of socially transformative ideas that offer innovative ways of attending to feminist times and social movement histories. © 2016 International Australian Studies Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-171
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Australian Studies
Volume40
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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