One of my two key areas of scholarship is the contemporary feminist movement: in 2014, I published my second monograph The Politics of the Body (Polity Press) which analysed debates and initiatives on the topics of sexual violence, sex work, gender and Islam, and reproduction. You can read extracts from the book here.
Since 2014 I have been developing this material and I am now writing my next book, entitled Personal Business: Neoliberalism and the Politics of Sexual Violence. This explores feminist movements against sexual violence within a number of conditions including the commodification of personal experience, debates about speech and safety, and the proliferation of ‘progressive’ forms of institutional governance. The book will also be framed by an analysis of the contemporary Western context of growing right-wing populism, against which feminism must position itself.
I have published two academic papers which introduce my theorisation of experience as a form of capital: the first is entitled ‘Whose Personal is More Political? Experience in Contemporary Feminist Politics’ and was published in Feminist Theory. This paper was recently shortlisted for the Feminist Theory 2016 Essay Prize. The published version is available here and the Open Access version here. The second is in the Journal of International Women’s Studies, entitled ‘Sex Wars Revisited: a rhetorical economy of sex industry opposition.’ This is an Open Access journal and the paper is available here.
I have also published several posts on this blog in the process of developing ideas for my new book: these are listed and linked below.
Sexual harassment and violence in higher education: reckoning, co-option, backlash – this is the transcript of my keynote speech at the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies conference at Loughborough University, which explores the politics of sexual violence and campaigns against it in universities, and how these are both shaped by neoliberalism
Identity, Experience, Choice and Responsibility – this is the transcript of my keynote speech at the Feminist Futures conference at Queen Mary University London, which develops a thematic analysis of how feminism and neoliberalism intersect.
Neoliberalism and the Commodification of Experience – this blog explores how experience has become commodified in a neoliberal context, and how this plays out in feminist debates in which experiential narratives are wielded in adversarial and competitive ways. It was the basis for my paper, ‘Whose Personal is More Political?’ (see above).
‘Listen to Survivors’ and the fetishisation of experience – this post develops my analysis of experience in relation to the sex industry debate in particular, arguing that survivor narratives are wielded by sex industry opponents to discredit sex workers who argue for labour rights.
‘You’re not representative’: identity politics in sex industry debates – this post is a sequel to the one above, and argues that in addition to wielding ‘survivor stories’, opponents of the sex industry tend to focus on identity rather than substance in their engagement with sex workers who fight for labour rights.
To tackle sexual harassment, we need cultural change – this post uses an intersectional perspective to raise some issues with punitive/disciplinary approaches to tackling sexual harassment in institutions.
Speaking up for what’s right – this post analyses recent debates around ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘left wing bias’ in universities, asking what these mean for those of us working on sexual harassment and violence.
On Outrage – here I explore the functions of outrage and how it differs from anger, arguing that although outrage can be cathartic it can also be temporary, and can demand punitive solutions.