Special Collection – Architectural Historiography and Fourth Wave Feminism
Guest editors: Claire Jamieson, Torsten Lange, and Lucía C. Pérez-Moreno
Over the course of the last decade, there has been a resurgence in feminist thinking and activism. Utilizing new tools and strategies for communication, women from all over the world and from different social and cultural backgrounds continue to strive for equal rights in the face of discrimination, sexism, and misogyny. In 2013, Ealasaid Munro argued that these recent developments mark a ‘fourth wave’ of feminism, characterized by its commitment to a ‘diversity of purpose’ that recognises intersectionality as a key issue of our time, and questioning established sex/gender systems and gender identity as a binary category. Simultaneously, this new wave is strongly associated with digital technology as a platform for previously marginalised voices. The aim of this Special Collection is to explore the impact of fourth wave feminism on architectural historiography.
Feminist architectural historiography emerged in parallel with the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s. It was chiefly concerned with women’s contribution to the production of the built environment, seeking to uncover the biographies of the first generation of women architects during the early modernist period. In the 1990s, the focus of feminist architectural history shifted, drawing from the insights of third wave feminism and queer theory’s critique of binary and hetero-normative definitions of gender. These histories interrogated the multiple relationships between space and the construction (and reinforcement) of gendered identities. Apart from destabilizing fixed categories, these authors also worked to dismantle master narratives, giving attention to micro-histories, everyday spaces, as well as unknown and marginal figures. As a result, a growing body of work began to address, in addition to gender, other axes of oppression such as class, age, ethnicity, sexuality, and religion, among others.
The editors of this Special Collection seek to explore what distinguishes current and emerging research from the previous five decades of writing feminist architectural histories. What knowledge of fourth wave feminism are we engaging with? How have questions, approaches, theoretical and analytical frameworks, and methodologies related to feminism evolved over time? What distinctly new features and concerns can we identify today?
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