PUNK ANTERIORS IS OUT!
by mimi thi nguyen
“PUNK ANTERIORS: GENEALOGY, THEORY, PERFORMANCE,” a special issue of Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory edited by Beth Stinson and Fiona I.B. Ngo, is out! My essay “Race, Riot Grrrl, and Revival” and my soundtrack “Making Waves: Other Punk Feminisms” are included alongside essays and commentaries by Osa Atoe (Shotgun Seamstress), Nia King (Colorlines, Ungrateful Black/White Girl), Katherine Wadkins (Wisdom Tooth, For the Birds Feminist Collective and Distro), Alice Bag (Violence Girl: East LA Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story), Mariam Bastani (Maximumrocknroll), Ceci Moss, Iraya Robles, and so many more.
“Race, Riot Grrrl, and Revival” is an essay arguably twenty years in the making, culled and cultivated from zines and columns from that span of time. Here’s the abstract:
This essay ventures a critique of the existing historiography of riot grrrl and how the movement is narrated both ‘‘then’’ and ‘‘now’’ to contain and subsume the disruptions of race. The first counter-story commences with and departs from that scene of intimacy that is the semi-secret heart of riot grrrl’s resonance, an aesthetics of access – to the means of production and creative labor, but also to more ephemeral properties of expertise and self- knowledge – through which the personal and the political are collapsed. The author argues that the resistive properties of intimacy might also replicate its intrusive ones, and conceive of change narrowly as the adjustment of the individual subject – recalibrating her capacity for love or shame, for instance – to the structural determinations that constitute the historical present. In doing so, the author shows how race confounded such intimacy in order to demarcate the boundaries of riot grrrl aesthetics as both form and critique. In a second counter-story, with riot grrrl now becoming the subject of so much retrospection, the author argues that how the critiques of women of color are narrated is important to how we remember feminisms and how we produce feminist futures. Here the author locates riot grrrl within a broader critique of the historiography of feminist movement, to question then the progressive teleologies of origin, episode, and succession that would limit the internal disturbances within feminisms to its critics, or to the past. Discussions about the contours and contents of these historiographical impulses are always political ones, insofar as they establish what forces should be considered memorable, and what crises be deemed responsible for unsettling feminist movements. These discussions are happening now, and will continue no doubt into the future, and the author offers this interruption as an alternate genealogy through which we might pursue a politics as ‘‘destroyers of the status quo.’’
Right now the issue is only accessible to those with access to university or college libraries with subscriptions to the journal, but the editors are working on a Tumblr to post the ENTIRE ISSUE for free, along with lots of good information about “punk anteriors.” Here is the original call for papers, and a brief excerpt that explains the premise of the issue:
Revisions to the phenomenon of punk have been circulating since its inception. This issue seeks to capture the performance of those revisions, conducting a genealogical mapping of the punk movement, scenes, music, ethics, and aesthetics utilizing queer and feminist punk analytics. While some valuable feminist critiques of punk have surfaced – mainly to lionize the riot grrrl movement – many uneasy questions around race, nation, and sexuality remain unarticulated in feminist and gender performance scholarship. The interdisciplinary articles in this issue will address the performances and politics of these exclusions.