A foundational work of materialist feminism, Christine Delphy's Close to Home: A Materialist Analysis of Women's Oppression is out now in a new edition as part of Verso's Feminist Classics series.
Below, we present Delphy's "Continuities and Discontinuities in Marriage and Divorce," first published in the 1976 anthology Sexual Divisions and Society: Process and Change, edited by D. Leonard Barker and S. Allen, and included in Close to Home. Translated by Diana Leonard.
Studies devoted to divorce in the past have presented it as the sum of individual divorce situations, they have not defined it (e.g. Goode 1956; Kooy 1959; Chester 1973). This is doubtless because the definition of divorce and its sociological significance are taken for granted; divorce means the breakdown and failure of marriage. These are the words used by the individuals concerned and sociologists have implicitly approached the problem from the same point of view. Even if they have apparently (but not always) refrained from direct value judgements and emotionally laden terms such as ‘failure’, they have still considered that the definition of divorce as the end of marriage, its revocation, or as the opposite of marriage, was a satisfactory one.
Kumari Jayawardena's Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, out this week in a new edition in Verso's Feminist Classics series, is a landmark survey of nineteenth and twentieth century anti-colonial women's movements in Asia and the Middle East.
Below, we present the Foreword to the new edition by Rafia Zakaria, attorney, a political philosopher and the author of “The Upstairs Wife: An Intimate History of Pakistan.”
All the books in our Feminist Classics series are 40% off until October 2nd. Click here to activate your discount.
Rani of Jhansi Women's Regiment of the Indian National Army, training, early–mid 1940s. via End of Empire.
The present de-colonial moment is not a hopeful one for feminist solidarity; the coming together of women from distant parts and portions of the world to claim in some unison the centrality of feminist identity seems an unlikely if not discarded project. The vagaries of power and privilege borne of colonialism have imposed disparate fates on the female; and as the dissection of these varied fortunes proceeds, the inequities unearthed, the injustices revealed have pushed dialogue into a realm rife with complication and recrimination. The replication of old colonial patterns in neo-imperial ventures such as the American foray into Afghanistan and Iraq, the former explicitly predicated on the ‘liberation’ of Afghan women, have further muddied the waters. US feminist groups such Feminist Majority have championed these allocations, ignoring their inherent attachment to bombings and raids. All of it recalls colonial patterns; and all of it has led to misgivings and an ever-expanding chasm between female activists, and questions about the possibility of solidarity.
Artist Zoe Beloff's A World Redrawn: Eisenstein and Brecht in Hollywood is a multimedia exploration of the projects undertaken by two Marxist writers who found themselves in Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s. Originally presented as an installation, it comprises three films — Two Marxists in Hollywood, Glass House, and Model Family; all viewable online — as well as drawings, architectural models, and archival materials.
Beloff has now published a book of the same title, which collects images and documents from the installation alongside texts by herself, scholar Hannah Frank, and Esther Leslie — author of Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant-Garde — whose essay is reproduced below.
Zoe Beloff, drawing after a still from Ha Ha Ha, a film by Dave Fleischer, 1934.
Har De Har
Laughter, in Walter Benjamin’s words, is “shattered articulation.” Laughter breaks up both words and the body. Everything is disarticulated. A person in movement might be stopped in their tracks. A person speaking has the stream of words cut off. The listener hears only a clatter of stuttering sounds. Laughter is an interruption to the ongoingness of life and meaning. The flow of walking or talking is held up, stymied, while the disruptive event occurs. The body collapses in laughter, contorts and crumples, the face distends, the eyes close, the neck flips back, the arms and legs flail. Animation is often designed to induce laughter, but it also represents it. There are countless animated GIFS that loop a character’s spasms while laughing, the arms clutching the chest, the mouth as wide as can be, the eyes crinkled shut, the explosions of noise. In some depictions, the eyebrows even leave the face and judder in a space above the head for a few moments. The body is outside itself or beside itself, beside itself with laughter.