The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2016 was post-truth: 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief'. Together with ‘fake news’, post-truth has become a watchword for the swiftly moving media hyperbole characteristic of the new nationalisms and their reactionary rhetoric of intolerance and exclusion. This paper argues that while the politics of transnational feminisms are strongly opposed to the ideological positions held by the Alt-Right and contemporary proponents of populist nationalism, a feminist riposte to post-truth cannot reinstate simplistic appeals to ‘objective facts’ against ‘emotion and personal belief’. Exploring some connections between transnational feminist political advocacy and contemporary art, this paper will argue for the significance of compelling fictions in creating dialogic ecologies of knowledge capable of challenging post-truth through their combination of affect, imagination and collective responsibility.
Marsha Meskimmon is Professor of Art History and Theory at Loughborough University (UK). Meskimmon’s research focuses on transnational contemporary art, with a particular emphasis on women’s practice, feminist corporeal-materialisms, and the politics of dwelling in a global world. Her publications include: The Art of Reflection: Women Artists' Self-Portraiture in the Twentieth Century (1996), We Weren't Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism (1999), Women Making Art: History, Subjectivity, Aesthetics (2003) and Contemporary Art and the Cosmopolitan Imagination (2010), Women, the Arts and Globalisation: Eccentric Experience (co-edited with Dorothy Rowe, 2013), Drawing Difference: Connections between Gender and Drawing (co-authored with Phil Sawdon, 2016) and Home/Land: Women, Citizenship, Photographies (co-edited with Marion Arnold, 2016). With Amelia Jones, she edits the series Rethinking Art’s Histories for Manchester University Press. She is currently writing a trilogy, Transnational Feminisms and the Arts for Routledge.