Material Feminism in the Anthropocene
Two works of contemporary feminist art epitomize the vexed relations between feminism and environmentalism that have propelled much of my research. Barbara Kruger’s black and white photo, featuring a woman lying upside down with leaves over her eyes, overlaid with the caption, “We Won’t Play Nature to Your Culture,” illustrates the postmodern feminist rejection of the dualisms that align “woman” with mute, passive, nature.1 The “we,” a collective subject, voices a political stance that distances itself from the docile, degraded image. While that feminist critique – that charismatic power of revolt – is invaluable for gender politics, environmentalists may be troubled that the ground, the leaves, and what used to be known as nature, is once again transcended by the voice and the viewer. The caption calls the collective feminist subject to leave the ground behind, hailing us in a way that makes the earth a background2or resource for the active political subject. Cuban-American...
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