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Feminist Media Histories of Activism: Cross-Generational Conversations among Scholars and Media Makers

Sun, November 10, 8:00 to 9:45am, Hawai'i Convention Center, Mtg Rm 308 B

Session Submission Type: Non-Paper Session: Dialogue Format

Abstract

There is sparse and largely undocumented history of feminist media activism from 1980-1992, especially as threats to arts funding and the implosion in community media institutions devastate the political landscape. This roundtable proposal is an effort to begin a cross-generational and intersectional conversation about recovering this history of feminist independent media makers in the 80s and will conclude with a special issue on media activism for the journal of Feminist Media Histories in the fall of 2019. The special issue paired feminists from different generations, who produced scholarly and creative work that reflected on the themes of the issue. Our work begins with women starting their careers in the 80s, with an eye towards understanding that historical moment better and with great timeliness for our current political culture. The roundtable includes scholars, media artists and curators whose work centers on political critique and activism around issues of gender, sexuality, and race. While all panelists are currently employed at academic institutions, they understand a crucial part of their feminist media activism to take the form of their work as media artists and curators. As such, their discussion of the topic of feminist media activism will largely consider the work they have done outside of traditional academic venues: film festivals, art galleries, and community institutions. With a nod towards the pathways initiated twenty years ago by Women of Vision, a project representing the diversity and multiplicity within both feminism and independent film and video, there is much generational knowledge still left to be explored. How do we create a transformative dialogue across generations about women working in feminist media production, under similar conditions? What can be learned (and shared) from engaging cross-generationally? What history of a shared feminist media activist movement can be discerned from this shared conversation? What are the changing cultural and political conditions that require different questions and approaches? How can the experiences of earlier generations inform contemporary work and how can the new perspectives of younger activists shift the frameworks and process of older feminists? How does feminist media activism occur, continue, breath and be of use in oppressive times? We are interested in curating a transformative generational exchange between people who can shed light on this under explored history. We hope this roundtable and special issue might function as a platform for future generations to build on and a directional space to articulate what is possible with the road ahead. The roundtable discussion, which will be moderated and chaired by Alexandra Juhasz (Film Department at Brooklyn College, CUNY), will draw from the work we created for the special issue of Feminist Media Histories to reflect on the questions listed above, soliciting input and experiences from the audience.

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