Ibsen and Feminism 2

My post title might be a tad misleading. I’m actually using this space to draw attention to feminism more than Ibsen, specifically, to let you know about an initiative happening this year in Duke’s Women’s Studies Program: The Future of the Feminist 70s. I’ll let them explain the impetus behind their programming:

We are interested to understand how some of the major interventions of the 1970’s–for example, feminist art and film practices, marxist and radical feminism, eco-feminism, lesbian separatism, human and civil rights discourse, cold war divisions and non-aligned movements, and postcolonial internationalism—continue to have an impact on feminist thought, offer important interventions into contemporary questions, or map the futures of feminism.

I’m particularly excited about the range of short films that Duke’s Women’s Studies will be screening and discussing this fall as well as the Nasher’s amazing exhibition, “The Deconstructive Impulse: Women Artists Reconfigure the Signs of Power, 1973-1991,” which features an astonishing range of artists and work particularly germinal to the feminist art and scholarship that inflected my own undergraduate and graduate curricula. There are also a host of courses planned for spring (since bookbagging time draws nigh) that might be of interest:

WST 49S Gender and Avant Garde Poetics, taught by Assistant Professor Kimberly Lamm; WST 162S Gender and Popular Culture, taught by Victoria Hesford; and WST 195S Senior Seminar: The Future of 1970s Feminism a Local Perspective, taught by Associate Professor Kathy Rudy.

A Doll’s House was a popular piece of theater in America in the 1970s. The text articulated themes about women’s domestic life that had also struck chords with second-wave feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir (The Second Sex, 1953), Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique, 1963), and Gloria Steinem (founder & editor of Ms. Magazine, 1972).

And speaking of the 70s, do you recognize the icon playing Nora in the Doll’s House film still (1973) below?

It’s 35-year-old Jane Fonda.

For contrast, in September of 2011, Calista Flockhart, recently of ABC’s Brothers and Sisters but perhaps best known for her role as Ally McBeal a must debated feminist (or not) figure from the 1990s, starred in a “for radio” production of A Doll’s House at LA Theatre Works (now housed at UCLA’s Bridges Theatre space). There are no image of Flockhart in costume because Theatre Works doesn’t fully stage their shows. Instead they are directed for recording and later audio broadcast so in the next few months you could hear (if not see) Flockhart’s performance as Nora. The production also starred JoBeth Williams (perhaps best known as the mother in the Poltergeist film series of the 1980s) but I have not been able to uncover whether she played Mrs. Linde or Anne-Marie. Just based on the age difference, I’m guessing it was Anne-Marie.

Flockhart as Ally McBeal, Season 1 image.