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The Pursuit of Pleasure
The Pursuit of Pleasure (London: Athlone Press, Rutgers, Continuum, 2001) focuses on rambling, an eighteenth and early nineteenth century form of urban exploration represented in texts such as Pierce Egan’s Life in London (1820-1). The author takes the figures and spaces of the ramble - specifically the rambler and the cyprian (precursors to the Parisian flâneur and prostitute) and the clubs, sporting venues, operas, assembly rooms, streets, arcades of London’s St. James’s - as a starting point for considering the gendering of public space. Drawing on critical theory, geography and philosophy, the Pursuit of Pleasure extends and critiques the discipline of architectural history from a feminist perspective. The gendering of space is considered to be a complex and shifting series of gendered moves and looks between men and women, constructed and represented through spatial and social relations of consumption, display and exchange. The research demonstrates an original use of archival material and its interpretation in relation to the theories of French philosopher Luce Irigaray. It maintains a rigour in its application of Irigaray’s theoretical ideas concerning the gendering of commodity exchange to a number of different architectural spaces, arguing that these can be understood as gendered through the social mechanisms of moving and looking – consumption, display and exchange, and exploring this particularly through architectural layout and detail. The research has been the topic of over 40 invited talks and papers (of those 8 were international), 17 book chapters, 6 refereed articles, and 3 keynote contributions, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, and German. The book has been reviewed by academic journals such as The London Journal,Cultural Geography,Historical Geography, and Critical Enquirer.
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