1st Edition

Feminism's Queer Temporalities

By Sam McBean Copyright 2016
    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Despite feminism’s uneven movements, it has been predominantly understood through metaphors of generations or waves. Feminism's Queer Temporalities builds on critiques of the limitations of this linear model to explore alternative ways of imagining feminism’s timing. It finds in feminism’s literary and cultural archive narratives of temporality that might now be diagnosed as queer, where queer designates modes of being historical that exceed the linear and the generational.

    Few theorists have looked to popular feminist figures, literature, and culture to theorize feminism’s timing. Through methodologically creative readings, McBean explores non-generational, anti-linear, and asynchronous time in the figure of Antigone, Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, the film Ladies and Gentlemen: The Fabulous Stains, Valerie Solanas and SCUM Manifesto, and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.

    The first to substantially bring together the ways in which time has come to matter in both feminist and queer disciplines, this book will appeal to students and scholars of feminist, queer and gender studies, cultural studies and literary studies.

    Introduction.  1. Dragging the Not-Yet: Archiving Antigone  2. Loss and Futurity: Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time  3. ‘I’m a Waste of Time’: Riot Grrrl and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains  4. The Feminist Manifesto: Valerie Solanas and SCUM  5. Learning to See: Alison Bechdel's Fun HomeConclusion.  Bibliography


    Sam McBean is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary American Literature at Queen Mary University of London. She has published on contemporary literature, new media, queer theory, and feminist theory in journals including Feminist Review, Camera Obscura, and the Journal of Lesbian Studies.

    "How does feminism reproduce itself? How can we think feminist history outside the limiting framework of generations and waves? Deeply engaged with recent work on the politics of time, Feminism’s Queer Temporalities turns to an archive of feminist popular culture to imagine alternative futures for the field."

    —Dr Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania, USA


    "It is quite some time since I encountered new work in literary and cultural studies that feels as eye-opening and necessary as Feminism's Queer Temporalities. McBean's groundbreaking transmedial analysis – ranging from women's lib classics to graphic novels and film – demonstrates the ways in which queer temporalities have been central to the creation and operation of post-1960s feminist aesthetics. Rather than performing a rapprochement between feminist art and queer temporality, McBean charts an aesthetic landscape in which this distinction cannot be traced with ease, and in the process stages a crucial rethinking of the relations between these disciplines."

    —Dr Jane Elliott, King’s College London, UK


    "At the center of Feminism’s Queer Temporalities is the deceptively simple but brilliant observation that feminism is a matter of timing. This is a book that lays to rest once and for all the misconception that feminist and queer theory are generational antagonists locked in a drama of disidentification and forgetting. Through richly original readings of her archive of popular feminist texts, McBean instead argues for the queerness of feminism’s preoccupation with temporality. For McBean, belonging to feminism is a matter of being with its untimeliness."

    —Dr Victoria Hesford, Stony Brook University, USA


    "Feminism's Queer Temporalities cuts through misplaced assumptions that queer critical debates have somehow replaced or updated feminist ones and offers instead a more nuanced take on the recent history of this complex dynamic. A fresh and exciting new voice in these debates, Sam McBean shows how temporality can provide an illuminating conceptual focus for cultural analysis. Challenging the generational model of feminism and the methodology of contextualisation, McBean moves us through eloquent readings of the mythical figure of Antigone in feminist theory, the SCUM manifesto and Alison Bechdel's graphic novel Fun Home. Breaking down the usual division of theories and texts, McBean's approach demonstrates just how interdisciplinary scholarship can reconfigure the temporal scales of both politics and culture. This book places feminism at the heart of the current attempt to rethink temporality across the humanities."

    —Professor Jackie Stacey, University of Manchester, UK