Article | Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007 | Spectacular Queens and the Morals of Excessive Femininity: A Feminist Approach to Public History

Spectacular Queens and the Morals of Excessive Femininity: A Feminist Approach to Public History
Cecilia Åsberg: Gender Studies, Utrecht University, Holland / Link√∂ping University, Sweden Link√∂ping University, Sweden Link√∂ping University, Holland/Sweden
Full text (pdf)
Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007
Article no.:
No. of pages:
Publication type:
Abstract and Fulltext
Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings
ISSN (print):
ISSN (online):
Linköping University Electronic Press; Linköpings universitet

Export in BibTex, RIS or text

Popular history is the stuff of connection; belonging and citizenship. It offers us imagined community (Anderson 1983); and more precisely; a shared historical imaginary (Dawson 1994; Elsaesser 2000). Through new and old media; imagined communities stretch beyond national borders and provide us with both opportunities for understanding ourselves; for mirroring and critical reflection; as well as for creative interventions. As expressed in for instance film; books; journals and websites; popular history seems increasingly popular in the North European context. In this paper I will tentatively approach a select range of popular versions of historical queens; like Queen Christina of Sweden and Marie Antoinette of France. Both are in the historical imaginary connected with excessive life styles; with arbitrary and wasteful ways that came to abrupt ends (abdication and decapitation). But their distinct and well-known personas have also provided a source of pleasure as they have echoed powerfully throughout contemporary popular culture as well as within a feminist imaginary of alternatives. In magnified proportions these queens; in two different ways of doing their gender; open up a space for consumerist; ruthless; exaggerated and anything but natural versions of femininity. In this paper I will explore the appeal of such performances today in relation to issues of cultural citizenship and subject positioning; history in public and the morals of excessive femininity.

Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Cecilia Åsberg
Spectacular Queens and the Morals of Excessive Femininity: A Feminist Approach to Public History

“Antoinette and other things”, Pajama Empress; blogg at (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Aronsson, Peter (editor): Makten over minnet. Historiekultur i förändring. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2000.

Bal, Mieke, Crewe, Jonathan & Spitzer, Leo (editors): Acts of Memory. Cultural Recall in the Present. Hannover, London: Dartmouth College, 1999.

Berlant, Lauren: The Queen of America Goes to Washington City: Essays on Sex and Citizenship. Durham: Duke University Press, 1997.

Black, Jeremy: Using History, London: Hodder Arnold, 2005.

Bloom, Lisa (editor): With Other Eyes. Looking at Race and Gender in Visual Culture University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, London, 1999.

Borgstr√∂m, Eva: ”Manlighetsmotivet i drottning Kristinas sj√§lvbiografi”, in Makal√∂sa kvinnor. K√∂ns√∂verskridare i myt och verklighet (ed. Eva Borgstr√∂m), Alfabeta, 2002.

Boym, Svetlana: The Future of Nostalgia, New York: Basic Books, 2001.

Buckley, Veronica: Kristina. Sveriges Drottning [Original title Christina - Queen of Sweden], Uddevalla: Albert Bonnier, 2004.

Burke, Peter: Eye witnessing. The Use of Images as Historical Evidence London: Reaction Books, 2001.

Burke, Peter: What is cultural history? Cambridge: Polity Press, 2004.

Butler, Judith: Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Coppola, Sofia: Marie Antoinette, Film DVD, 118 min, Pathé Distribution, 2006.

Dawson, Graham: Soldier heroes. British Adventure, Empire and the Imagining of Masculinities, Routledge: London & New York, 1994.

Doane, Mary Ann: Femmes Fatales: Feminism, Film Theory, Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge, 1991.

Englund, Peter: Silvermasken ‚Äď En kort biografi over Drottning Kristina. Uddevalla: Albert Bonnier, 2006.

Franklin, Sarah, Lury, Celia & Stacey, Jackie: Global Nature, Global Culture Sage: London, 2000.

Frasier, Antonia: Marie-Antoinette, Stockholm: Forum 2001. [English title: Marie Antoinette ‚Äď The Journey].

“Frossa och frottera” All tom n√∂jesliv i Uppsala, article by Paola Langdal, at,1786,MC=15-cat=248-AV_ID=575616,00.html (last accessed 2007-09-24)

Gregory, Philippa: I drottningens n√§rhet [English title: The Queen’s Fool] Viborg: Damm, 2006.

Gregory, Philippa: Jungfruns √§lskare [English title: The Virgin’s Lover] Viborg: Damm, 2007.

Hamann, Brigitte: The Reluctant Empress: A Biography of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, Knopf, 1986.

Haraway, Donna: Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Re-Invention of Nature, New York: Routledge, 1991.

“Hela topplistan ‚Äď Sveriges regenter”, website by “btt” at Passagen: (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Jones, Amelia (editor): The Feminism and Visual Culture Reader, New York: Routledge, 2003.

“Kostymdrama f√∂r 2000-talets publik“, film review by Alexander Dunefors at Moviezine; (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Lindquist, Herman: Historien om alla Sveriges Drottningar. Från myt och helgon till drottning i tiden. Stockholm: Norstedts, 2006.

“Marie Antoinette. The Movie ‚Äď The Official Site” at (last accessed 2007-09-24).

“Marie Antoinette-Material Girl” at You Tube, by director “mpavsweet” at (last accessed 2007-09-23).

McClintock, Anne: Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, New York: Routledge, 1995.

McRobbie, Angela: In the Culture Society: Art, Fashion and Popular Music, Routledge, London, 1999.

Mamoulian, Rouben: Queen Christina, Film DVD, 97 min, 1933.

Mulvey, Laura.1999. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”. In Visual Culture: the Reader, edited by J. Evans and S. Hall. London: Sage Publications. [Orginally published 1975].

“Paris Hilton and Marie Antoinette”, Mick La Salle’s blogg at (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Radway, Janice: Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature. London: Verso, 1987.

Riviere, Joan: “Womanliness as Masquerade”, in Formations of Fantasy edited by Victor Burgin, James Donald and Cora Kaplan. London and New York: Methuen, 1986, pp. 35-44. [Orginally published 1929].

“Sissi - Elisabeth of Wittelsbach (1837 - 1898)” (anonymous) at the website Austrian Culture Personalities, (last accessed 2007-09-20).

“Sissi ‚Äď Forever My Love” at VideoMediaOnline (anonymous): (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Smelik, Anneke: “Feminist Film Theory” in Pam Cook and Mieke Bernink, (eds), The Cinema Book, second edition. London: British Film Institute, 1999, pp 353-365. See also: (last accessed 2007-09-24).

Springer, Kimberly: “Unexpected: Women, Sources, and Histories” in Journal of Women’s History, 16.4 (2004), pp. 28-33.

Stacey, Jackie: Star Gazing ‚Äď Hollywood Cinema and Female Spectatorship, London: Routledge, 1994.

Stacey, Jackie: “Masculinity, Masquerade, and Genetic Impersonation: Gattaca’s Queer Visions”, in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol 30, 2005, pp. 1851-1877.

Michael Warner: Publics and Counterpublics. New York, London: Zone Books, 2002

√Ösberg, Cecilia & Axelsson, Bodil: ”Digital performances of Gendered Pasts”, in Cyberfeminism in a Nordic Light: Digital Media and Gender in a Nordic Context. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press, eds. Malin Svenningsson Elm & Jenny Sund√©n, 2007.

Åsberg, Cecilia: Genetiska föreställningar. Mellan genus och gener i populär/vetenskapens visuella kulturer. Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, 2005.

Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Cecilia Åsberg
Spectacular Queens and the Morals of Excessive Femininity: A Feminist Approach to Public History
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
No citations available at the moment