As some of you know, I am working on a PhD thesis in the intersection between Bakthin, aesthetics, feminist theory and gender studies. February 18th and 19th 2010 I went to an exchange seminar between the gender studies’ culture research group at the University of Stavanger that I am part of, and the research group Being Together at the Centre for Gender Research at the University of Oslo. The common denominator of the seminar (apart from the subjects treated) was Wencke Mühleisen who is leader of Network of Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger, co-advisor of my PhD thesis (next to main advisor Atle Skaftun), and together with Jørgen Lorentzen project leader of the Norwegian Research Council-financed project Being Together – Remaking Public Intimacies. It was a fruitful meeting between several projects that were all tangent to one another, in one or another way.
My main contribution to the seminar was to present part of my adaptation analysis of Sara Stridsberg’s The Dream Faculty to the theatre piece Valerie Jean Solanas shall be president of America, using (not surprisingly) Bakhtin’s concept of the aesthetic object from “The Problem of Material, Content and Form in Verbal Art” (PCMF, ca. 1924) as my starting point. I got a lot of relevant comments – the most interesting, perhaps, a claim that I would have to treat point one of Bakhtin’s three stage model of analysis from PCMF – my description of the content of my contemplation directed towards the aesthetic object – as new produced empirical data on the same level as the novel text and the theatre manuscript, and not primarily as part of my analytical reflection, since it is not verifiable. I am still (and will continue to be) reflecting over that. Comments from any of you will be very welcome!
Me being quite comfortable with the label Bakhtinan feminist, I am also excited about an interest for and initiative from a group of PhD and post doc scholars (also beyond the Being Together group) at the Centre of Gender Research at the University of Oslo to start a reading group on Bakhtin. I am happy to have been invited to be part of the group and will keep you posted as the reading starts.