Certain works of art raise difficult questions regarding what we mean when we say ‘woman’ or ‘man’. This course examines the relationship between gender and labour. Over four weeks several conceptual pairings relating to gender and labour are explored including: work/anti-work, identity politics/universal address, body/reason and craft/industrial production. Using works from the permanent collection, the course revisits questions raised by feminist work in the 1970s relating to the wages for housework campaign, Italian autonomist discussions of the refusal of work, debates around identity politics from the 80s and 90s, sociological studies of the global transformation of labour and older philosophical ideas about the role of reason in relation to the body.
Theorists and philosophers discussed include Silvia Federici, Selma James, Franco ‘Bifo’ Beradi, Plato, Descartes and Alain Badiou. Artists from Tate’s collection include Margaret Harrison, Rosemarie Trockel, Annette Messager and Tracey Emin.
Course leader Nina Power is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Roehampton and also teaches Critical Writing in Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. She is the author of One-Dimensional Woman (2009, Zero Books).