PhD Projects

Giannina Herion


SEX AFTER DEATH. Facing sexual trauma between sexes in the mirror of contemporary art and discourse

In the doctoral project the connections between sexual violence, trauma and gender relations are examined on the basis of selected contemporary artistic works.

Since antiquity, different narratives about sexual violence can be found through the history of images and art, which reflect the respective discourses of their time. Only with the emergence of feminist positions in the 1970s did the male-dominated perspective on sexual violence change. In their goal of raising public awareness, the works of feminist artists can be classified as forerunners of the #metoo movement. In the public debate, the discussion about the abuse of power by men against women dominates. However, the causes of sexual violence seem to be deeply anchored in social structures that can affect all genders - in particular children. In trauma research, structures of violence are viewed as part of a partially transgenerational cycle, which can continue in self-harm or damage to others without coming to terms with it. The possibility of (re-) traumatisation appears to be another essential factor in the discussion of intimate violence.

In contrast to the previous discourses, the research project aims to capture contemporary artistic positions that bring to light various constellations of actors and contexts of meaning of sexual violence and trauma. Artists who try to decipher the complexity of the structures of violence and break up dualistic gender roles. To this end, contemporary artistic positions are to be related to historical works in order to investigate which innovations, breaks and gaps the current discourse on sexual violence and trauma has and which different resistance strategies artists and activists develop to decipher the polymorphic structures of violence.

Second supervision: Prof. Dr. Angela Koch, Kunstuniversität Linz

Time to decide

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