Stacey C. Moran
Examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework with an interdisciplinary perspective. Offered: AWSp.
CHID 480 New Material Feminisms Course Description In the last few decades, feminist theory has been dominated by social construction models that have offered new insights into oppression. Thanks to poststructuralist analyses of discursive modes of power, feminism has been able to think the ways gender marks the body, and how these markings intersect with other markings, such as race, class, and sexuality. Deconstruction has helped to expose the oppressive logic of dichotomies that dominates western thought, institutions, and practices. And postmodern analyses have helped to ‘queer’ and contest the essence or location of stable categories such as ‘woman,’ ‘masculine,’ and ‘feminine.’
In her critique of heternormativity, Judith Butler argues in "Bodies That Matter" (1993) that not only gender but also the very materiality of sex is constituted through citational practices, and thus might be held up as exemplary of the postmodern feminist retreat from the material. So although social construction models have engendered practical and theoretical insights, they also imply limitations, namely, the bracketing or erasure of the material. Feminism’s retreat from the material has impeded its ability to engage productively with science, medicine, environmentalism, and other disciplines in anything other than a critical manner (cf. Material Feminisms, Stacy Alaimo and Susan J. Hekman). In order to prevent esoteric, isolated or separatist thinking in feminism, it is essential that feminist theory adapt itself to provide innovative, interdisciplinary work. A new materialist turn is underway in feminist theory, opening up new vistas of ontology, epistemology, ethics, and politics. This course examines the new materialist turn in feminist theory.
Possible course readings: Karen Barad, Elizabeth Grosz, Evelyn Fox Keller, Claire Colebrook, Donna Haraway, Vicki Kirby, Elizabeth Wilson, Moira Gatens, Genevieve Lloyd
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