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Rethinking ‘Identities’

Cultural Articulations of Alterity and Resistance in the New Millennium


Edited By Lucille Cairns and Santiago Fouz-Hernandez

This volume sets out to re-imagine the theoretical and epistemological presuppositions of existing scholarship on identities. Despite a well-established body of scholarly texts that examine the concept from a wide range of perspectives, there is a surprising dearth of work on multiple, heterogeneous forms of identity. Numerous studies of ethnic, linguistic, regional and religious identities have appeared, but largely in isolation from one another.
Rethinking ‘Identities’ is a multi-authored project that is original in providing – in distributed and granular mode – a hyper-contemporary and wide-ranging applied analysis that questions notions of identity based on nation and region, language, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or even ‘the human’. The volume achieves this by mobilizing various contexts of identity (gender, ethnicity, sexuality, nation) and medium (art, cinema, literature, music, theatre, video). Emphasizing the extreme contemporary (the twenty-first century) and the challenges posed by an increasingly global society, this collection of essays builds upon existing intellectual investigations of identity with the aim of offering a fresh perspective that transcends cognitive and geographical frontiers.
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Lucille Cairns: Post-Feminist Pornographication or Pro-Sex Feminism? Queer Performativity in the Work of Two French Female Artists


← 20 | 21 → LUCILLE CAIRNS

In this essay, I examine contemporary renegotiations of feminism that constitute a challenge not only for self-defined feminists, but also for mainstream interpretive communities, and that in fact have the potential for a quasi-universal impact. I do so by focusing on the work of French female artists and performers Wendy Delorme and Émilie Jouvet. A key question provoked by their work is the extent to which their butch/fem(me) lesbian performances and textual artefacts constitute politically intelligible resistance to hegemonic norms of gender, sex and sexuality. The significance of this question extends well beyond the national boundaries of Delorme and Jouvet’s French identity. Indeed, their counter-discourses to more conventional feminisms have emerged not from any specifically French tradition, but as part of a more global movement. This globality is reflected in both of the texts selected as case-studies below. Delorme’s written text situates itself firmly in a clearly international context of discourses on feminism and sexuality, particularly queer (which is still as yet a relatively new discourse in France). Jouvet’s filmic text has a soundtrack which alternates between French and English, has a focus on performers of three different nationalities (American, French, German), and covers their tour across broad sweeps of Europe (Belgium, Denmark, France, and Germany).

Delorme has in the past both taught at the University of Paris and acted in experimental lesbian X-rated films. However, her most notable interventions in the politics of gender and sex have taken the form...

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