Cover for Hesford & Kozol (eds.): Haunting Violations: Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the “Real”

Haunting Violations

Feminist Criticism and the Crisis of the “Real”

Looking at autobiographical, testimonical, and ethnographic literature and film, as well as at tactics used by marginalized groups to tell their stories, this volume offers a corrective to the uncritical acceptance by feminist critics of the "real" stories told by the victimized and the oppressed.

Feminist critics place a premium on the "real" stories told by the victimized and the oppressed. Haunting Violations offers a corrective to such uncritical acceptance of the "real" in confessional, testimonial, and ethnographic narratives. Through close readings of a wide variety of texts, contributors argue that depictions of the "real" are inherently performative, crafted within the limits and in the interests of specific personal, political, or social projects. Haunting Violations explores the inseparability of discourse and politics in quasi-autobiographical works such as I, Rigoberta Menchú and When Heaven and Earth Changed Places. Contributors consider how the Sri Lankan Mother's Front movement exploits the sanctity of the maternal and how multiple political purposes on both sides bleed through government "documentary" photographs of Japanese-American concentration camp internees. This volume also investigates how South Asian feminists use the authority of their personal experience to critique the film Mississippi Masala and how realist narratives, such as Janet Campbell Hale's autobiographical Bloodlines, Margie Strosser's documentary film Rape Stories, and Shekur Kapur's film Bandit Queen, reexamine how assumptions about power and trauma are embedded in the promise of the real.

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