Performing the Self: Women's Lives in Historical Perspective

1st Edition

Katie Barclay, Sarah Richardson

Routledge
Published November 20, 2014
Reference - 184 Pages
ISBN 9781138808997 - CAT# Y170849

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Summary

That the self is ‘performed’, created through action rather than having a prior existence, has been an important methodological intervention in our understanding of human experience. It has been particularly significant for studies of gender, helping to destabilise models of selfhood where women were usually defined in opposition to a male norm. In this multidisciplinary collection, scholars apply this approach to a wide array of historical sources, from literature to art to letters to museum exhibitions, which survive from the medieval to modern periods. In doing so, they explore the extent that using a model of performativity can open up our understanding of women’s lives and sense of self in the past. They highlight the way that this method provides a significant critique of power relationships within society that offers greater agency to women as historical actors and offers a challenge to traditional readings of women’s place in society. An innovative and wide-ranging compilation, this book provides a template for those wishing to apply performativity to women’s lives in historical context.

This book was originally published as a special issue of Women’s History Review.

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