The Handmaid’s Tale: fact or fiction? A feminist new materialist approach to literature through time, affects and genealogies

This paper has as its main aim developing a feminist new materialist approach to literature and mass media in order to shed light on how feminism is represented in literature and television. Beatriz Revelles Benavente is interested in the ratings produced by the consumption of literature and television and in this seminar will use these to consider specificities in the time frame in between a novel written many years ago (1985) and its airing on TV (2017). Beatriz will use The Handmaid’s Tale in order to illustrate how nation, class and sexuality structure present-past-future of the patriarchal discourse and how feminism is able to permeate and multiplicate its dimensions in order to penetrate that system with one of its main tools: mass media. Using time (Barad, 2017), affects (Colman, 2010; Hickey-Moody, 2012) and genealogies (van der Tuin, 2015), she pursues a twofold objective. On the one hand, a monist literary object in which ontological scissions are not produced between literary and media representation, but are moments of resistance to the patriarchal order. On the other hand, it aims at drawing a feminist affective politics through theory making and analysing how such a politics are materialised in mainstream discourse.

Beatriz Revelles Benavente is a Postdoctoral scholar granted the Juan de la Cierva in University of Barcelona (Spain) scholarship. Her doctoral thesis was titled Understanding Toni Morrison’s work in the Information Society: Gender, Politics and Communication in the making. Currently, for her Postdoctoral research, she wants to develop this in the area of higher education and pedagogy by finding feminist alternative ways to teach literature and communication in the information society. She has been a visiting scholar at Rutgers, Santa Cruz (California), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Manchester (UK). Currently, she is a visiting scholar at RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre. In addition, she was a board member of Atgender: European Asociation for Gender Research, Education and Documentation from 2014 until 2017 and a core member of the management committee of the COST Action IS1307: Networking European New Materialisms: How matter comes to matter. Her most recent publication is Teaching Gender: Feminist Pedagogies and Responsibilities in Times of Political Crisis, a co-edited volume in Routledge.

Date: Monday 24 September
Time: 12:00 – 1:00pm
Venue: RMIT Council Chamber, 124 La Trobe Street, Melbourne (Building 1, Level 2, Room 17)

Register here.

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