Abstract

Expansion of the arts in academia has called into question concepts, norms and regulations concerning writing and publishing. Given precedents of ‘critical practices of design’ and ‘research through practice’ grappling with such questions, I take these as ways to reconsider the academic activity of making a book (‘bookmaking’) as a critical and feminist practice of design. Through feminist modalities articulated by Jane Rendell – namely, collectivity, interiority, alterity, materiality, and performativity – I describe two edited books, through which I am able to discuss critical and feminist orientations in bookmaking practice. I argue that feminist practice critiques but also projects, activates, and enacts alternative norms or ideals – here, alternatives to academic norms concerning edited books. Naming and elucidating detailed aspects of bookmaking activity, as mundane critical ‘practise’ continually deliberated and performed, it is nevertheless possible to draw relations to larger theoretical issues. For example, discussing across differently situated/conditioned bookmaking practices makes it possible to trace implications of bookmaking within larger political economies, socio-economic structures, theoretical and ideological commitments.

Keywords:

critical practices of design, feminist theory research through practice, book and bookmaking, editing

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 25th, 12:00 AM

Bookmaking as Critical and Feminist Practice of Design

Expansion of the arts in academia has called into question concepts, norms and regulations concerning writing and publishing. Given precedents of ‘critical practices of design’ and ‘research through practice’ grappling with such questions, I take these as ways to reconsider the academic activity of making a book (‘bookmaking’) as a critical and feminist practice of design. Through feminist modalities articulated by Jane Rendell – namely, collectivity, interiority, alterity, materiality, and performativity – I describe two edited books, through which I am able to discuss critical and feminist orientations in bookmaking practice. I argue that feminist practice critiques but also projects, activates, and enacts alternative norms or ideals – here, alternatives to academic norms concerning edited books. Naming and elucidating detailed aspects of bookmaking activity, as mundane critical ‘practise’ continually deliberated and performed, it is nevertheless possible to draw relations to larger theoretical issues. For example, discussing across differently situated/conditioned bookmaking practices makes it possible to trace implications of bookmaking within larger political economies, socio-economic structures, theoretical and ideological commitments.

 

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