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To show but not tell: on themes of passivity, submission, and internalization in 1970s Nordic feminist art.

Post Doc project, Jan 2024 - Dec 2026

Department of Arts and Cultural Studies, Copenhagen University

Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University

Abstract: To show but not tell traces themes of passivity, submission, and internalization in feminist art and performance produced by artists based in the Nordic countries during the 1970s. The project puts pressure on how themes of political compliance and internalization of oppression in 1970s Danish and Swedish art, along with an analysis of the reception of these works, may provide crucial insights into the transformation of the feminist movement at the time. In line with many other social movements, feminist movements during the late 1960s and 1970s began to put increasing emphasis on the social construction of oppression (Love 2021, Rubin 2011). In the wake of growing debates on gender and sex as relational, contingent, and “performed”, many feminists, including researchers in the growing discipline of feminist art history, became largely dedicated to queries relating to social transformation and emancipation (Love 2021). To show but not tell investigates how epistemological frameworks focused on social construction and emancipation are still formative for – and limit - theories and methods in feminist art history. 

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