Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission – 2015

Feminism, Digital Culture and the Politics of Transmission: Theory, Practice and Cultural Heritage. Rowman Littlefield International, 2015.

Winner of the 2016 Feminist and Women’s Studies Association Book Prize

Focusing on the digital and on the project of bringing to life a specific archive, the musical legacy of the Women’s Liberation Movement, the book asks what is at stake in the creation, sharing and reproduction of archives and artefacts, and how political movements are constituted through practices of transmission. It raises provocative questions about what it means to create archives, the work involved in making dormant archives live and breathe, to care for digital archives so that they have a future, raising important points about the feminist politics of resisting a dominant ‘systemic stupidity’ in an innovation-obsessed digital culture that favours short-term accessibility over longevity. In particular, I appreciated its creative challenge to the fashionable tendency to dismiss the work of the Women’s Liberation Movement, and to refuse the current notion of such work as, as the author puts it, ‘off-limits’.

— Judge’s comment

A substantial, judicious, and highly effective mobilisation of key tenets of Stiegler’s work pertaining to memory, technology, and cultural transmission. Withers develops a cogent political reformulation of questions of memory, heritage, and archival matters of preservation and access in the digital age in this book project. Withers’s use of Stiegler is central to this, and indeed represents an important introduction to his philosophical critique of the digital mediated world to an area where his ideas have particular relevance but are under-represented.

Patrick Crogan, Associate Professor of Digital Cultures, University of the West of England

With astute theoretical insight, oral narratives, and personal accounts, Withers reminds us that feminism’s archive is a rich “heritage resource” that does more than transmit history—feminism’s archive is also the carrier of values, knowledges, cultural forms and practices that are as vital to the past as they are to the present and future. Original and meticulously researched, this book contributes to a growing dialogue on feminist archives and generational politics while also documenting British feminist history in the late twentieth to early twenty-first centuries

Kate Eichhorn, Associate Professor, The New School