Summary and Info
This volume is a collection of essays by academics from both European and North American universities whose main areas of interest are situated at the intersection of memory and autobiography studies, visual culture and gender and sexuality studies. What makes this collection unique is not only its focus on the contemporary visual memoir, a very rich and provocative practice to which no publication is entirely devoted as yet, but also this particular conversation between the visual reshaping and/or negotiation of sexual identity and gender paradigms in the wake of second-generation feminism through autobiographical practices. This volume asks how the paradigms of sexuality and gender have shifted as a result of the Civil Rights movement, the AIDS crisis, the end of the Cold War, the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath, and how these profound changes have shaped the relationship of groups and individuals to private and collective trauma. The authors of these essays are also asking questions about whether the use of autobiographical elements at this point in history signifies the successful unveiling of the private within the public sphere for social and political goals or merely metonymically instantiates private experience as representative of collective events, thus simply canonizing new heroes in place of the old. Is it thus possible that the apparent growing visibility of certain marginal groups signifies, in fact, growing obscurity? Is the allegedly new borderless world of penetrable walls and extended visibility less liberated than ever? How is the increasingly frenzied documentation of private and collective suffering changing the world?