In Considering Emma Goldman Clare Hemmings examines the significance of the anarchist activist and thinker for contemporary feminist politics. Rather than attempting to resolve the tensions and problems that Goldman's thinking about race, gender, and sexuality pose for feminist thought, Hemmings embraces them, finding them to be helpful in formulating a new queer feminist praxis. Mining three overlapping archives—Goldman's own writings, her historical and theoretical legacy, and an imaginative archive that responds creatively to gaps in those archives —Hemmings shows how serious engagement with Goldman's political ambivalences opens up larger questions surrounding feminist historiography, affect, fantasy, and knowledge production. Moreover, she explores her personal affinity for Goldman to illuminate the role that affective investment plays in shaping feminist storytelling. By considering Goldman in all her contradictions and complexity, Hemmings presents a queer feminist response to the ambivalences that also saturate contemporary queer feminist race theories.
1. Women and Revolution 37
2. Race and Internationalism 80
3. Sexual Politics and Sexual Freedom 125
4. A Longing for Letters 168
Conclusion: From Passion to Panache 217
"Considering Emma Goldman should be read by everyone with theoretical and political interests in the fate of contemporary feminism. Refusing to simplify Goldman's irascible, often negative views of women, femininity, and even feminism, Hemmings considers the difficult question of why, despite such views, Goldman has remained a figure of deep fascination to those seeking justice and equality for all. By rigorously homing in on Goldman's own forms of political ambivalence, Hemmings considers the value of ambivalence more generally to a feminist politics capable of changing and shape-shifting to better meet the exigencies of the contemporary political moment. This is a bracing, very important contribution to contemporary feminist theory."
Janice A. Radway, author of
A Feeling for Books: The Book-of-the-Month Club, Literary Taste, and Middle-Class Desire
“Continuing her interest in the construction of feminist storytelling, Clare Hemmings explores the affective relationship between a critic and her object of study, grappling with the transit between the historical archive and the critical present. By deliberating on the ways in which scholars fashion their objects of study in relation to their hopes and fears about feminism itself, Hemmings offers an ambitious and compelling work whose critical implications are far reaching.”
Robyn Wiegman, author of
"Incredibly thorough and deeply researched, Considering Emma Goldman is a valuable continuation in conversations of feminist theory, race, capitalism, sexuality, and of course Emma Goldman herself."
American Communist History
"Hemmings offers a rich, complex and searching new engagement with Goldman’s life and politics. . . . By considering Goldman, Hemmings shines a light on a life lived with panache to urge continuing, unbound and imperfect engagement with the dilemmas that feminists too often struggle to resolve."
London School of Economics Review of Books
"Clare Hemmings has written a rich and thoughtful book from which we can learn a great deal."
Kathy F. Ferguson
Theory and Event
"Considering Emma Goldman is a must-read, invariably insightful, sometimes painful, always provocative and, in my humble opinion, uncomfortably spot-on."
European Journal of Women's Studies
"Clare Hemmings is an extremely astute reader and user of both the subjective and the critical archive on Emma Goldman. She is as well-versed in the literature as one could possibly hope. She is a passionate and determined author. Too, she is convincing that we should turn to rather than away from uncomfortable passages in those whose work we study, as these are potentially among the more fruitful, revealing moments."
Hypatia Reviews Online