Co-Author: Maria Stehle, associate professor of German
Publication Date: 2016
Publisher: McGill-Queen’s University Press
Synopsis: The increased use of digital tools for political activism has triggered heated debates about the effectiveness of digital campaigns for political change and feminist causes. While technology’s immediacy and transnational reach have broadened the potential impact of activism, it has, at the same time, complicated the goals, materiality, and consumption of feminist actions.
In Awkward Politics, Carrie Smith-Prei and Maria Stehle suggest that awkwardness offers a means of engaging with twenty-first century feminist activism by accounting for the uncertainty of popfeminist moments and movements, its sometimes illegible meanings, affects, and aesthetics. By investigating transnational media ranging from popfeminist performance art, music, street activism, blogs, and hashtags to literature, film, academic theory, and protests, the authors demonstrate that viewing activist art through the lens of awkwardness can yield a nuanced critique. By developing awkwardness into a theoretical tool for intervention, a key concept of feminist politics, and a moving target, this innovative study dramatically alters the ways in which we approach activism, its forms, movements, and effects. It also suggests a broad range of applicability, from social movements to the academy.
Breaking new ground through the intersections of technology, consumerism, and the political in popfeminist work, Awkward Politics highlights the urgency of feminist politics and activism.