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Showing posts from August, 2015

On Lynne Segal

June's reading. A fascinating, perhaps controversial, book which is going straight (no pun intended) on to the Critical Theory module I'm designing/convening next year.

1. The Problematic. Sex and feminism. Of course, as Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick points out, sexuality and gender classifications are not necessarily bound together - but in our society and culture they are. Which, for feminism, raises a particular problem around heterosexuality: put reductively, 'sleeping with the enemy'. In a more complex vein, how can we negotiate the experience of desire between men and women in a context where cultures, histories and representations of sexuality tend to be inflected by patriarchy and a series of dynamics which are tilted against women? These range from the gendering of pornography to slut-shaming, from the entwining of women's sexuality with reproduction, maternity and family to the notion that male sexuality is 'naturally' or 'essentially' active and…

Thoughts on Painting: Sistine Chapel, Constable, Colour

One of the enviable things about having the chance to attend conferences in cities like New York and Rome is, of course, the cities themselves. I managed to visit the Vatican museums, the Capitoline museums, the Neue Galerie, and revisited the Frick and the Met. (In retrospect that list looks more indulgent than it felt at the time!) Here are some thoughts.

1.  Seeing the Sistine Chapel is one of those impossible aesthetic experiences. Like Monet, the imagery is so culturally over-exposed - although, unlike Monet, the actual architectural or three-dimensional effect of the Sistine Chapel is impossible to represent in advance.

Maybe because I was heading to give a paper about mother/infant relations in my next conference, the images that really caught me were the familial scenes captured in the triangular 'spandrels' and the half-moon 'lunettes'. I've included two examples: the Ozias spandrel and the Achim lunette.

What is fascinating is the intimacy of these images…