Against Our Will: Sexual Trauma in American Art Since 1970

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Product Details

Penn State University Press
Publish Date
7.4 X 10.3 X 1.3 inches | 2.75 pounds

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About the Author

Vivien Green Fryd is Professor of Art History at Vanderbilt University and the author of Art and Empire: The Politics of Ethnicity in the United States Capitol, 1815-1860 and Art and the Crisis of Marriage: Edward Hopper and Georgia O'Keeffe.


"In art communities that rarely discuss sexual trauma, even as it occurs within the communities, and in a cultural climate in which the #MeToo movement remains necessary, Fryd's book provides survivors of sexual trauma and their allies with deserved acknowledgement and sometimes cathartic release."

--Jennifer Remenchik, Hyperallergic

"Highly recommended for academic libraries serving art history, women's and gender studies, pan-African studies, or other units with an interest in intersectional feminism, racial justice, social justice, or art."

--Alex O'Keefe, ARLIS/NA Reviews

"Pairing trauma theory with detailed analysis of American art focused on sexual violence, Fryd's study is a timely and compelling contribution to ongoing conversations about the intersections of images and actions, art as social and political catalyst, and the impact of feminist thought in contemporary American culture."

--Erika Doss, author of American Art of the 20th-21st Centuries

"Reading [this book] now is simultaneously illuminating and painful, an acute reminder of how far we've come in the decades since, yet also of how mired in the same problems we remain. What stands out is the fearlessness of the early female performance artists and the extent to which their work shaped how we think about art today."

--Jillian Steinhauer, The New Republic

"Eminently worthy of serious reading by art historians, sexual trauma therapists, and anyone interested in the history of women's struggle to combat rape culture. The depth of research and validity of arguments regarding works developed in the 1970s and by black artists are formidable, as is the thesis that repetition is a strategy of artists working with the subject of rape. For the first author to explore the uncharted territory of art on rape, where all research is new, Fryd's accomplishment is laudable."

--Monika Fabijanska, Woman's Art Journal

"Fryd urges us to take seriously the impact of all forms of sexual violence on our society, while encouraging us to consider how art might serve as a source for constructive public dialogue and even a catalyst for change."

--Lesley Shipley, Panorama

"By naming her book after Susan Brownmiller's history of rape from 1975, Fryd pays homage to this groundbreaking work and echoes the now widely accepted idea that rape is a crime about power."

--Rachel Middleman, Burlington Magazine