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Marking Feminist Times

Remembering the Longest Revolution in Australia


Margaret Henderson

With its challenge to nearly every facet of Australian society and culture, the Australian women’s movement has achieved much in a short period of time. And it has attracted controversy: fiery denunciation and equally passionate loyalty. This book explores how such a revolutionary social movement remembers its past. The women’s movement has always recognised the political importance of history, narrative, and language to changing the way we think, and hence to changing the world. How then does feminism mark its own past times, and what stories does it tell of the campaigns, struggles, defeats, victories, and activists? What is remembered and what is forgotten? How do its narratives of its recent history counter those told by the mainstream culture? By reading novels, film, television, autobiographies, newspaper and magazine articles, and academic histories Marking Feminist Times traces the making of a feminist collective memory: the reasons for its emergence, the shapes taken, and the narratives that recur. And in so doing, this book reveals a feminist collective memory haunted by the early loss of an authentically revolutionary movement.
Contents: The Making and Meaning of Feminist Cultural Memory – Feminist Histories: Some Legends of the Rise and Fall – The Road to Liberation: Autobiography Makes and Remakes the Activist Self – Imagining Activist Times in the Historical Novel – Not Always in Her Master’s Voice: Journalism – Postfeminism Emerges: Radio, Film, Television – Myth and Science, Stammers and Stutters: Men Remember the Women’s Movement – The Dilemmas of Revolutionary Time(s).