Between Image and Identity

Transnational Fantasy, Symbolic Violence, and Feminist Misrecognition

By (author) Karina A. Eileraas

Publication date:

19 July 2007

Length of book:

232 pages


Lexington Books

ISBN-13: 9780739118115

What does it mean to insist on the visual as a form of psychic and political violence? And how are women specifically targeted by symbolic violence during periods of war and colonization? Between Image and Identity highlights postcolonial feminist efforts to transform violence into aesthetic and political strategies of resistance. This book explores the "autobiographical" literature, visual, and performance art of postcolonial women from Maghreb and Southeast Asia including Leila Sebbar, Assia Djebar, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Karina Eileraas critically examines how contemporary these artists actively participate in the violence of representation in order to re-imagine the relationship between image and identity. By exploring the creative potentials of fantasy, alienation, and misrecognition in their work, these artists rewrite postcolonial history and re-vision the relationships between sexual politics, symbolic violence, and national memory. Between Image and Identity is a compelling and innovative book that will appeal to those interested in postcolonial and feminist studies, autobiography, visual culture, war and trauma studies.
In this wide-ranging transnational study of the ways in which women postcolonial writers have re-staged the relationship between image and identity, Karina Eileraas trains an exquisitely honed critical gaze on the creative forms of aesthetic and political resistance put into practice by such diverse authors as Assia Djebar, Hélène Cixous, and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Although her book is informed by the ideas of an impressive array of theorists, it is Eileraas's own engaging voice that, at every turn of the page, drives home the profoundly ethical dimensions of her project.