Rhetorical Studies has only begun to understand the materiality and
corporeality of rhetorical texts. Corporeality and the Rhetoric of
Feminist Body Art aims to draw attention to the intersection
between visual rhetoric and visual culture. In so doing, I "look"
elsewhere---beyond traditional notions of public address and the
rhetorical situation---for women's rhetorical accomplishments. The
inventional visual rhetorics of feminist body artists point to the
ways in which the space and time of the rhetorical situation
silences the voices and bodies of women as well as other
marginalized groups. The Cartesian mind/body split has historically
rendered women speechless bodies, despite their being no voice
without the body. The study of feminist body art fruitfully
interrogates the sites (or representation new and hybrid media)
where marginalized individuals articulate their bodies to counter
official discourses and center the corporeality of rhetoric.
Chapter one, "Introduction: Feminist Body Art, Space, and Time,"
lays the framework for the rhetorical criticism of feminist body
art. Exploring some of the most famous feminist body artworks and
feminist materialist theories of the body, I detail the rhetorical
form and functions of feminist body artworks and determine the five
main methodological questions researchers should ask when
critiquing feminist body art from a rhetorical perspective.
Feminist body artworks are invention-memory vehicles---they refuse
binaries, deconstruct acts of remembrance, and interrogate the
drive toward fixed identity. Feminist body artworks, as visual
rhetorics in their own right, substantiate the corporeality of
rhetoric by undoing viewer's subjectivities and complicating
theories of the gaze. Chapter two, "A Transgendered Gaze toward a
Becoming-Body," argues that Nan Goldin's performative photography
of drag queens from the 1970s and 1990s breaks down the
sex/gender/sexuality trinary. By tracing the changes in drag queen
aesthetics and the larger GLBT community's attitudes toward drag
queens, Goldin visualizes the plasticity and pliability of the
body. In so doing, she also deconstructs viewer's ability to read
sex and gender and to name diverse sexualities. Thus, viewers'
expectations about the ability to "see" sex are undone by Goldin's
tactics of representation, inviting audience members to think of
themselves as becoming-bodies, rather than seeing through a knowing
gaze. Chapter three, "A Clinical Gaze toward a Becoming-Body,"
analyses three of Goldin's serials about her friends who died from
AIDS-related illnesses. Goldin's works reconfigure the rhetorical
work of memorials to open viewers to the problematics of the act of
remembrance. In so doing, she counters official discourses about
the AIDS crisis and transports viewers directly into the AIDS
wound. Through images of objects, others, and spaces Goldin
protects her subjects from the voyeuristic and clinical gazes of
viewers. Goldin's images are haptic. They rely on viewers'
abilities to see-touch the images. Her works invite viewers into a
mode of synesthesia wherein their own personal memories work with
the artwork to make meaning. Chapter four, "A Terrorist Gaze toward
a Becoming-Body," critiques Coco Fusco's A Room of One's Own:
Gender and Power in the New America," a rhetorical text designed to
invite audience members to become the terrorist Other. In this
performance, Fusco plays a military interrogation expert who
lectures recruits/audience members about sexual interrogation
tactics. Invoking images of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, Fusco
draws out the connections between the discourses of liberal
feminism and the U.S. military's...
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