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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Michigan Womyn's Music Festival : place making and the queer persistence of feminism Rowe, Carolyn Joyce


This dissertation research is designed to advance knowledge concerning contemporary conceptions of sexual citizenship, queer history and the context and performative nature of feminism during a time of “post-feminism” (Faludi, 1991; Fraser, 2009; McRobbie, 2004). I investigate feminism as it is enacted at the Michigan Womyn‘s Music Festival (hereafter referred to as the Festival). The Festival is an event that grew out of the second wave feminist movement in the 1960s and 1970s. It has survived decades of liberation movements, identity politics and related political struggles, threats from the religious right, transsexual inclusion/exclusion debates and so on. Unlike many of the feminist events that closed their doors in the 80s and 90s (Case, 1996) over the last 35 years this festival has grown into one of the oldest and largest lesbian feminist gatherings in the world (Cvetkovich and Wahng, 2001; Morris, 1999; Ryan, 1992; Taylor and Rupp, 1993). Since the mid-1980s, discussion about the “end of feminism” and what post-feminism means has increased (Faludi, 1991; Fraser, 2009; Jones, 1994; McRobbie, 2009; Modleski, 1991). Post-feminism sometimes refers to a new kind of anti-feminist sentiment, one that differs from the backlash faced by feminists in the 1970s and 1980s. Post-feminist discourse can imply that equality has been achieved and that feminists can now focus on something else. Within the pages of this dissertation, the avenue of study I engage in investigates the convergence of second-wave feminism (Daly, 1978; Dworkin, 2002; MacKinnon, 1989; Millet, 1970) in a post-feminist time. What does it mean to engage in various feminist identity practices whose time is past? How do the lived embodiments of race, gender difference, sexual alterity, and variations of bodily capacity structure the time and timing of particular collectivities? This project’s major animating question asks, then: How does feminism persist in a time of post-feminism?

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