What happens if, instead of saying "that's not real feminism" or "this feminism has been co-opted," we recognized that feminism has always been a capacious enough category to contain, within itself, its own enemies? Sophie Lewis joins us to speak about her forthcoming book in which she looks back on over two centuries of self-declared feminism. Covering eugenicists, civilizers, Klan preachers, Blackshirts, pioneer policewomen, neo-abolitionists, pornophobes, femonationalists, forced-birthers, nativists, occidentalists, and "adult human females," Lewis takes their claim to being feminism seriously with the aim of strengthening antifascism in the present. We have recently seen a considerable number of useful analyses of "white feminism." Nonetheless, as Greta LaFleur and Serena Bassi recently noted, “critiques of how feminism has, today and in earlier times, been invoked in service of a wide range of pernicious and anti-liberationist ends have somehow not yet spurred a careful enough reckoning with the enduringly ambivalent character of feminism.” Enemy Feminisms seeks to begin answering that need, adapting the analysis at the heart of the "socialism of fools" diagnosis (namely: truncated anticapitalist critique becomes anti-Semitic conspiracism) to theorize a "feminism of fools."
*This talk will be followed by a response from SCA's Lisa Duggan
Sophie Lewis is a writer and independent scholar living in Philadelphia. She is currently at work on a third book manuscript entitled Enemy Feminisms. Her first two books, both published by Verso Books, are Full Surrogacy Now: Feminism Against Family (2019) and Abolish the Family: A Manifesto for Care and Liberation. Sophie’s essays and articles appear in academic journals like Feminist Theory as well as literary ones like n+1, Harper’s, and the London Review of Books. Sophie has a PhD in Geography at Manchester University, as well as an MA Politics from the New School, and a BA in English literature from Oxford University, which was followed by an MSc in Environmental Policy (also at Oxford). Dr. Lewis teaches short courses on social and critical theory at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, open to all and online. She also has a visiting affiliation with the Center for Research on Feminist, Queer and Transgender Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. You can find her lectures and writings at lasophielle.org, and become a subscriber at patreon.com/reproutopia.
Lisa Duggan is a queer feminist and leftist journalist, activist, and Professor of Social & Cultural Analysis at New York University. She is the author of Sapphic Slashers: Sex, Sensationalism and American Modernity (2000), Twilight of Equality? Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics and the Attack on Democracy (2003) and Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and Neoliberal Greed (2019). She is also co-editor of Our Monica, Ourselves: The Clinton Affair and National Interest (2001) with Lauren Berlant and co-author of Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture (1995) with Nan Hunter. She writes at LisaDuggan.substack.com.
This event is organized by Nadja Millner-Larsen for XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement and co-sponsored by the Department of Media, Culture and Communication, The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality Studies, the English Department's Marxism Working Group, and the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU.