Colloquium | Kathleen Rowe Karlyn

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 12:00pm

Kathleen Rowe Karlyn

Feminist Dialectics and Unrepentant Mothers, Or, What I Didn’t Say and Why

In Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers (Texas, 2011), I consider the ways contemporary attitudes toward feminism have been influenced by ambivalence toward mothers and aging women in the culture at large and in feminism itself. While I stand by my argument about the need to strengthen feminist alliances across generations, I have shifted my conclusions somewhat in part because of new insights into the private dimensions of public research. In addition, recent examples of popular culture (such as the film Snow White and the Huntsman [2012] and the HBO series Girls [2012-13]) increasingly suggest the need for feminism’s “unrepentant mothers” to both reclaim and redefine the act of mothering, and to  more actively articulate the stakes of feminism in an environment that continues to seek to dismantle it.

Kathleen Rowe Karlyn joined the University of Oregon’s Department of English in 1994 after earning her PhD in Telecommunication and Film from the UO in 1992. Best known for her work on women and comedy, she is author of the award-winning The Unruly Woman: Gender and the Genres of Laughter (University of Texas, 1995) and numerous articles on cultural studies and feminist media theory, including a widely anthologized essay on comedian Roseanne Barr first published in Screen (1990). In 2010, she was named the first director of Oregon’s new Cinema Studies program. In 2011, she published Unruly Girls, Unrepentant Mothers (University of Texas). The book, which is a companion to The Unruly Woman, explores the vexed relationship between mothers and daughters in feminist theory and popular media. She is currently researching the female auteur in recent film and television.

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