Welcome to MAI Issue 5: 'Feminist Pedagogies'
Dearest MAI Readers,
The last decade drew to a close against a backdrop of catastrophic environmental and political disasters – and, it must be said, for many of us working in academia, the drive to complete on utterly unbearable workloads under fractious and precarious working conditions. In the face of relentless difficulty and uncertainty, it can be very hard to gather the strength and courage to keep pushing back against what often feels like an encroaching darkness. We don’t know how this affected you directly, but we felt like retiring permanently under the duvet by Christmas (did anybody else find the enforced annual round of jollification especially hard to tolerate this year?) That said, we must keep on both through individual endeavour and collective organisation. In the wake of disappointment and despair comes the determination to fill that void with action, activism, and a renewed sense of political and ethical agency.
With this issue of MAI, which centres on feminist pedagogies, we hope you will find much to lighten your spirits and inspire as we enter into this new decade. Now, perhaps more so than ever, we need to view the classroom as a space for contestation, for challenge, and for activism against both pernicious political systems of thought and the increasingly egregious neoliberalisation of higher education. Feminism as a form of ethics that demands we engage beyond hermetic boundaries of self and open ourselves up to community is a tool that we dismiss at our peril in this parlous political environment. The future is not determined: it is ours to grasp and to make. And not merely for ourselves, but for generations to come. This rallying collection of essays, toolkits, manifestos and creative work begs each and every one of us to take up the mantle and commit actively to changing the dire situation in which we find ourselves currently.
Anna Misiak and Anna Backman Rogers want to thank especially Clara Bradbury-Rance for her outstanding commitment to and hard work on this extraordinary issue. We here at MAI are absolutely thrilled to be starting 2020 with this wonderful collection of work. We wish to draw attention to the special showcase we have of student work in this issue, which offers ample evidence of why feminist pedagogy matters. We also want to thank Amber Patterson, our new editorial assistant, who has been indispensable in helping us whip this issue into shape!
Finally, we are also happy to announce that in partnership with Punctum Books, MAI will be working throughout 2020 to open up as a publishing press of experimental feminist monographs on a range of visual cultures. To borrow a phrase from Punctum’s own ‘publishing primer’, these will neither be books for ‘your grandmother’s tenure and promotion committee, which somehow, through a strange process of zombie-fication, is still operating within the ossifed crevasses of the Groves of Academe’, nor will these be books that ‘satisfy the requirements of the traditional-yet-also-neoliberalized academic press’s marketing department’. We look forward to revealing more details this year as we establish the MAI imprint.
And now: onwards…and courage, dear readers.
Anna Backman Rogers and Anna Misiak. Gothenburg, Sweden and Falmouth, UK.
Here Be Monsters: A Punctum Publishing Primer