"Why n.paradoxa? n. = abbreviation for noun, para = beyond, doxa - accepted opinion. The name, n.paradoxa, is a play on Donna Haraway's discussion of a parasite which lives in the gut of a termite in South Australia called mixotricha paradoxa. This parasite has paradoxical and unexpected habits of survival and reproduction. As a paradigm for feminist research it seemed apt for three reasons: 1) it survives by attracting others to live on it; 2) it reproduces by division and 3) its discovery reveals the value in seemingly obscure forms of research and the time and effort needed for interesting discoveries."
“n.paradoxa seeks to explore the paradoxes of critical writing on women’s artwork on the cusp of the 21st century in relation to the body of feminist critical theory which has proliferated since the 1970s. n.paradoxa offers a forum for international exchange and dialogue about contemporary women’s art practice embracing both new technologies and traditional media. n.paradoxa offers new paradigms for reading the feminine as feminist and to link Cyborgs, cyberrgirls and ‘Bad girls;’ new genre public art, ‘artworld’ feminists and feminist activist art in a critique of the changing definitions of what constitutes feminist art practice today. Most of all, n.paradoxa aims to encourage research and debate on women’s art practice from a feminist perspective.”
Selected Subject Headings
- Art history - methodology
- Family in art
- Feminism and art
- Feminist art criticism
- Feminist ethics
- Feminist jurisprudence
- Gender identity in art
- Goddesses in art
- Home in art
- Lesbian artists
- Psychoanalysis and feminism
- Sex-oriented businesses
- Revolution in art
- Tarahumara indians
- Women and space (architecture)
Beginning as an online journal in 1996, n.paradoxa, the printed journal, was founded in 1998 by art historian Katy Deepwell and published by KT Press; according to its website, the press is “a not-for-profit publishing company whose aim is to promote understanding of women artists and their work.”
Its emergence by the mid to late 1990s situates this remarkable publication in a particular socio-historical crossroad: two decades plus from the second wave of feminism and its critical aftermaths, the initial years of Blair’s neoliberal labour policies, the media reign of the so-called Young British Art, the incipient popularization of the Internet and its related infoeuphoria and the fast-approaching Millennium end. Amidst this uncritical mix, Deepwell valiantly created a critical forum in which all of the above could be evaluated from a feminist point of view, and importantly, via women artists and their work.
Of course, there were historical antecedents to this kind of publishing venture; we are thinking of American feminist art journals like Heresies and Chrysalis, differences and its philosophical project, but also of the British film journal Screen and the theoretical m/f; what is important though about n.paradoxa is its embrace of paradoxes, of life’s complexities, an encompassing world view that the mentioned antecedents lacked as all espoused more rigid ideological stances, be that 1970s combative feminism, Marxian criticism or psychoanalysis. Furthermore, Deepwell states in her first printed editorial that “recognition of the differences between political positions within feminism is becoming important and defining these differences matters,”and we interpret this as a generous editorial statement that is reflected on the journal’s contents.
Each volume has a thematic umbrella and includes a variegated mix of interviews, in-depth articles about the work of artists, analysis of specific local or national scenes, exhibition reviews, and a populated book reviews section, albeit these tend to be brief and informative rather than analytical; space is allotted too to younger artists, generously providing them artists’ pages in which to either create specific projects for the journal or to present their work.
Urban Fictions, Desire and the Gaze, Domestic Politics, Dreams of the Future, Women & New Media, Curatorial Strategies or Citizenship, are some of the titles of the volumes, giving us an indication of the range and breath of interests embraced by the journal; as a result, n.paradoxa provides a context in which one can thematically situate the work produced by women all around the world, as what is also important to highlight is the journal’s internationalist curiosity, perhaps steeming from Deepwell’s stated embrace of socialist feminism.
Inevitably, with such a broad conceptual range one is bound to agree or disagree about the quality of the art work presented, or espouse or reject the perspectives and thoughts read in its pages but no doubt, n.paradoxa is a welcome respite to the dearth of serious responses and inequality in attention that women artists’ work, thoughts and productions continue to be the subject of.
n.paradoxa is then an essential stop for anyone willing to have a more rounded view of our cultural field, a homogametic view if you will, but the fact is, and we agree with Deepwell here, despite the tremendous impact that feminist scholarship and feminism have had on every academic discipline as well as in life, “things are slow to change.” To this, we would add that it is invaluable that n.paradoxa documents and prompts these steady and crucial changes.
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From n.paradoxa's frontispiece, which appears in each volume.
”Editorial,” n.paradoxa, no. 1 (January 1998): 5. As Katy Deepwell is n.paradoxa's editor, we assume that the unsigned editorial was written by her.
The original online publication (Vol. 1-21, 1996-2010) can be accessed online here. Please note that the contents of the online publication differ from the printed one, which is the journal indexed in ccindex's database
ccindex database includes the complete indexed contents of m/f: a feminist journal (London, 1978-1986); ccindex is also planning to index both Chrysalis (Los Angeles, 1977-1981) and has started the indexing of Heresies (New York, 1977-1993). An online archive of Heresies can be found here.Ibid.We quote Deepwell: "n.paradoxa, as a not-for-profit magazine, is itself a product of the contradictions of a commitment to socialist feminism and feminist art practices in a patriarchal capitalist world marketplace," ibid.