Towards a Feminist Aesthetic of Justice: Sarah Kane's Blasted as Theorisation of the Representation of Sexual Violence in International Law

Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 36, June 2012

18 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2012

See all articles by Honni van Rijswijk

Honni van Rijswijk

University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law

Date Written: October 28, 2012

Abstract

An ongoing question in feminist studies is whether there is such a thing as a legal feminist aesthetic. Many feminists argue that an aesthetic based on prescriptive or normative theories of form, derived from feminist politics, is an ‘impossibility’. We need to analyse the context and particularity of each form, and examine its political and cultural effects. While there is no particular form that can, a priori, be designated feminist, we can talk meaningfully about practices of representation, and methodologies, as being feminist or otherwise. This essay seeks to re-animate questions concerning the relationship between feminisms and representation, asking what it might mean to talk about a legal, feminist aesthetic: what are the terms of evaluation that seem relevant in judging representation as feminist or otherwise? What are the stakes of such an enquiry? These methodological questions will be considered with respect to a specific archive — first, a legal archive comprising recent feminist engagements with international criminal and human rights law dealing with sexual violence in conflict zones; and second, a cultural text, Sarah Kane’s play Blasted (1995). This essay engages with and extends some of the feminist commentary regarding the legal interventions, explicating the benefits of a law and culture approach to ongoing questions in feminist theories and practice.

Keywords: feminist aesthetics, international law, Sarah Kane, sexual violence

Suggested Citation

van Rijswijk, Honni, Towards a Feminist Aesthetic of Justice: Sarah Kane's Blasted as Theorisation of the Representation of Sexual Violence in International Law (October 28, 2012). Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 36, June 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2167962

Honni Van Rijswijk (Contact Author)

University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Law ( email )

Sydney
Australia

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