Event Date: 18 January 2018
Malet Street Building
Birkbeck University of London
London WC1E 7HX
Dr Angela Dimitrakaki (Edinburgh) – Situated Struggles: Sex Workers, Art Workers and the Politics of Freedom from Work
In recent years, the term ‘worker’ has entered a range of debates and struggles for recognition, over legitimacy, and, in some ways, also concerning distribution. We encounter the ‘sex worker’ and the ‘art worker’ in forms of activism that address social urgencies, work rights, radical demands of identification, and that ultimately claim a composite terrain of struggle for subjects that often experience a precarious social existence. This paper explores a line of thinking that attempts to connect such situated struggles with the complex arguments around work, principally in left feminist theory, and the contradictions that may run through, and in, the process of aligning the specificity of demands with the horizon of exiting capitalist relations of production – which remains, for some, utopian but, for others, politically necessary.
This event is part of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities ‘Feminist Flashpoints’ series, which follows on from the International Conference ‘Feminist Emergency’ (22-24 June 2017). The paper revisits and expands on the analysis first presented at the conference.
Angela Dimitrakaki is a writer and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh where she directs the MSc in Modern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating and Criticism. Working across Marxism and feminism, she has published over 50 articles and chapters on the political articulation of art and recently coedited two special issues on social reproduction – for Third Text (2017) and Historical Materialism (2016). Her books include Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015, coedited with Kirsten Lloyd) and Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative (2013). In 2017 she was the recipient of an Academy of Athens award for her fiction writing. She is currently completing a book titled Feminism, Art, Capitalism while she also works on feminism as anti-fascism.
Introduction by Professor Esther Leslie (Birkbeck):