Wednesday, August 24, 2016

“A Path So Twisted”: Thinking Wildly With and Through Punk Feminisms

Jack Halberstam, professor of American studies and ethnicity, gender studies and comparative literature at the University of Southern California, has written five books, including Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (2012). A popular speaker, Halberstam lectures on topics such as subcultures, sex and media, and gender variance. In the 1980 queer punk film Times Square, two teenage girls, sensing a mutual instinct for rebellion, escape from a psychiatric ward in New York City, don garbage bags and become part of the discarded denizens of Times Square. Pammy and Nicky and the queer worlds they inhabit are regarded by a homophobic world as obstacles to a safe and clean city. This talk will explore with Pammy and Nicky the potential of the unsafe and unclean. Taking terminology from a Patti Smith song at the core of the film as a vocabulary for punk feminism, we’ll venture into the wild world and genders of Times Square to unlearn the lessons of compliance that are nested within discourses of improvement, recovery and health.

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