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POSTCARD FROM THE EDGE: Thoughts on the ‘Feminist Theory: An International Debate’ Conference held at Glasgow University, Scotland, 12–15 July 1991

WithSusannah Radstone For if Ariadne has fled from the labyrinth of old, the only guiding

At the ‘Feminist Theory’ conference I met a woman who had arrived in Britain with an Australian touring circus, and she told me a little of her story. She said that she’d abandoned the world of the academy some years ago for a life of physical adventure, but now, considering a return to more intellectual pursuits, here she was at Glasgow, taking a look around. Locked into conference mode, I faltered-what to talk about, if not our institutions and the ups and downs of academic life? ‘So, do you walk the tightrope, or ride the trapeze?’ I hazarded, eventually. ‘No, never, because it hurts!’, was her emphatic and down-to-earth response. Memories are notoriously slippery; partial, fractured, idiosyncratic and screening, perhaps, as much as they reveal, but as I think back over Glasgow, it’s this fragment of a conversation-this glimpse of the circus with its pains and its pleasures, that I recall.