Identity Issues in German Feminist Movements and Theatre

  • Citation: Sieg, Katrin. “Identity Issues in German Feminist Movements and Theatre.” Theatre Research International 37, no. 1 (2012): 74–76.
    • Topics:
    • Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • identity
    • German feminism
    • theatre
    • race
    • gender
    • performance

Identity politics, understood as the analysis of the ways in which social roles are inscribed on the body, affects and behaviour, and in which collective experiences of oppression also produce resistant practices, informed German feminisms and performances during the 1980s and early 1990s. Since then, major feminist playwrights have shifted into literary production, or abandoned gender as their central critical concern in view of other urgent issues that arose after reunification, including historical revisionism, economic restructuring, rising racism and xenophobia, and globalization fears. Younger white artists playfully unbundled gender and sex and supported the postfeminist consensus that feminist identity politics had become obsolete. The work of Bridge Markland, which can be found on YouTube, emblematizes a burgeoning transgender and drag culture that was transnationalized through film, video, photography exhibitions and workshops. In this critical vacuum, immigrant and minority women were saddled with intensifying, ever more essentialist discourses of gender and ethnic difference, and continued to grapple with them through deconstructive and historicizing, as well as essentializing, deployments of identity.

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