The idea for this seminar begins with a line from Sara Ahmed’s Living a Feminist Life (Duke University Press, 2017): “The repetition is the scene of feminist instruction.”
These words announce a beginning to a process of “generating feminist ideas” while also generating “new ideas about feminism.” For Ahmed, feminist instruction involves understanding resonance as a starting point for critical work. Repetition is not simply a compulsion, or a re-enactment of an experience of dispossession; it can be a venue through which to create new patterns for conceptual and empirical ways to transform how one exists in the world. The compulsion of feminist repetition can here be understood not simply as a desire to return to the site of trauma, or even as an insistent desire to re-enact the past, but as a conscious act of giving voice to what is often left unheard and unattended to in the world.
Using this idea, we aim to discuss the ways in which repetition serves as a site for feminist instruction across literatures and media (art, film, television, radio, etc.). As we become ever more conscious of the problems that face feminisms (as well as the problems that some feminisms may pose) throughout the world, how do representations of repetition transform into scenes of instruction, creativity, and rebellion?
Our seminar hopes to engage with the concept of repetition as a scene of feminist instruction in a way that holds feminism accountable to the implications of the coalescing of questions of race, gender, sexuality, and class. As a panel that, following Ahmed, takes up the politics of citation as a practice of listening, we look forward to a cross-disciplinary seminar and especially invite presentations that highlight perspectives in queer studies, trans studies, disability studies, critical race studies, and indigenous studies.