Taking a Hard Look
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Om Taking a Hard Look
It is the aim of this edited volume to take a hard look at gender and visual culture. Gender and visual culture traverse in quite unique and often fascinating ways. On the one hand, gender functions as an interdisciplinary approach and critical tool to analyse and investigate several subject fields. As such, gender contributes to establishing a much-needed theoretical and functional platform spanning across many fields of enquiry from where gender practices can effectively be critiqued and ideally changed. On the other hand, the growing popularity and ubiquity of visual culture in a global context create the increasing need to reflect on and interrogate this phenomenon in an academic manner. Although Visual Culture Studies is an established subject at many Northern institutions, it is fairly new and relatively under-theorised in the South. In response to the growing need to investigate issues dealing with gender and visual culture and particularly how they creatively intersect, this selection of chapters (first presented as papers at the Taking a Hard Look: Gender and Visual Culture international conference, 20-21 June 2007, Institute for Gender and Women's Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa) are collected here in the hope to make a purposeful contribution to the burgeoning discourse. However, by addressing the creative intersection between gender and visual culture this edited volume is no novelty. In fact, the topic of gender and visual culture has been addressed over the past decade in several edited volumes. It is in this proud tradition that this book aims to take its place and to create a dialogue with international theory on gender and visual culture studies from a South perspective.Key questions that are explored in the volume: What type of gendered visual culture is being presented and created in the South particularly (but not exclusively)? How is visual culture gendered? Can one refer to a move beyond gender in terms of a trans-gendered visual culture or are we still caught up in the same debilitating role models? How does one address the ever-increasing alienation between gender studies and the younger generation of students and scholars moving into higher education? What is the role of gender as interdisciplinary tool in the academic analysis of visual culture as it spans across several subjects, such as science, social work, technology, psychology, medicine, philosophy, sociology, engineering, communication, economics, religious studies, business management, anthropology, geography, historical studies, cultural and media studies, visual studies, art history and literature studies?