Utopian Studies, Women's Studies

Partial Visions: Feminism and Utopianism in the 1970s published

Bammer cover«The new edition of Angelika Bammer’s Partial Visions is an important and innovative book. Important because it explores with great insight and originality a fundamental theme for any emancipatory theory, not just feminism: the ways in which the utopian impulse is essential for the task of understanding the world so as to transform it. Innovative, because of the way the wonderful concluding section of the book embodies a utopian vision of knowledge through collaboration and dialogue.»
(Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Research Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
«This timely reissue of Angelika Bammer’s Partial Visions is a welcome addition to recent conversations about the problem of narrating feminist histories and the challenge of keeping the possibility of feminist futures alive. Framing its incisive account of key feminist utopias of the 1970s with a thoughtful new meditation on what those visions did and did not accomplish and a vibrant roundtable discussion about whether such utopian longing is still a viable strategy for twenty-first-century feminisms, this book makes a significant new contribution to discussions about what might be possible in a radically re-imagined and renewed feminist future.»
(Jan Radway, Walter Dill Scott Professor of Communication Studies, Northwestern University)

What would a good world for women look like? How would we get there from where we are and how would we have to change ourselves in the process? This book examines a critical moment in recent American and western European history when the utopian dimension of political movements was particularly generative and feminism was at their core. The imaginative literature that emerged out of American, French, and German feminisms of the 1970s engaged the dialectic between the actual and the possible in radically new and creative ways. Ranging from conventional utopian and science fictions to avant-garde and experimental texts, they countered the idea of utopia as a pre-set goal with the idea of the utopian as a process of «dreaming forwards.»
This book explores the transformative potential of feminist visions of change, even as it sees their ideological blind spots. It does more than simply look back to the 1970s. Instead, it looks ahead, anticipating some of the shifts and changes of feminist thought in the following decades: its transnational scope, its critique of identity politics and the gendered politics of sexuality, and its embrace of affect as an analytical category. The author argues that the radical utopianism of second wave feminisms has not lost its urgency. The transformations they envisioned are still our challenge, as the vital work of social change remains undone.

Available for purchase here.

Angelika Bammer is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Humanities and Comparative Literature at Emory University. Her scholarly and creative work explores women’s writing and feminist thought, the relationships between history and memory, displacement, and cultural identity. She is completing a historical narrative stretching across four generations, Born After: A German Reckoning.

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