To let you understand: Franki Raffles, photography and feminist solidarity

Catherine Elizabeth Spencer*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This essay examines how images by the feminist documentary photographer Franki Raffles illuminate the possibilities for – and challenges involved in – the instigation of feminist solidary between different geographic sites. Drawing on Chandra Talpade Mohanty's distinction between ‘solidarity’ and ‘sisterhood’, whereby the former signals a process of active struggle that recognizes, rather than erases, differential experience, it argues that Raffles sought to examine how gender and labour coalesced across a number of sites – specifically, Scotland, the Soviet Union (Russia, Georgia and Ukraine) Israel and Palestine – while remaining attentive to specific socio-political and cultural contexts. It situates Raffles's work in relation to the seismic geopolitical shifts that began in 1989, particularly the collapse of the Soviet Union and the acceleration of globalization. Raffles's work underscores the importance of feminist methodologies for analysing the relationship between the constructs ‘British art’ and ‘the global’, through her photographic examination of how globalizing processes led to gendered divisions and inequalities of labour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-649
Number of pages26
JournalArt History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2022


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