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Summary If metaphysics is the study of what there is and what it is like— of what exists and the nature of that which exists (actually or potentially), then feminist metaphysics is metaphysics that pays particular attention to potential gender biases in our metaphysical methods, concepts, and theories. Along with other branches of feminist inquiry, it is a central tenet of feminist metaphysics that knowledge, including metaphysical knowledge, is socially situated, and thus that we need to attend to the social environment in which our theorizing takes place and the potential impact it has on our theorizing and theories. Of special importance to feminist metaphysics is the inquiry into feminist tools and methods, such as the concepts of gender, sex, gendering, social construction, objectivity, and bias.
Key works Important 20th century works include De Beauvoir 1952, Frye 1983, Spelman 1988, Butler 1990, Butler 1993, and the edited collection Meyers 1997. Recent works include Alcoff 2006, Witt 2011, Haslanger 2012, and the edited volume Witt 2011.
Introductions The encyclopædia article Haslanger & Sveinsdóttir 2008;2011 provides an introduction and an overview.
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  1. Stephanie Adair (2011). Unity and Difference: A Critical Appraisal of Polarizing Gender Identities. Hypatia 27 (3):847 - 863.
    In The Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel draws out the interdependency of unity and difference. In order to have a unity, there must be differences that compose it, as a unity unifies different elements. At the same time, in unifying these elements, they must not cease to be different from one another, as that would reduce the unity to a simple singularity.In this paper, I take up this interdependency of unity and difference, applying it to gender identities. I follow the psychoanalytically (...)
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  2. Alison Adam (2002). Gender/Body/Machine. Ratio 15 (4):354–375.
    This article considers the question of embodiment in relation to gender and whether there are models of artificial intelligence (AI) which can enrol a concept of gender in their design. A central concern for feminist epistemology is the role of the body in the making of knowledge. I consider how this may inform a critique of the AI project and the related area of artificial life (A-Life), the latter area being of most interest in this paper. I explore briefly the (...)
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  3. Sara Ahmed (1996). Beyond Humanism and Postmodernism: Theorizing a Feminist Practice. Hypatia 11 (2):71 - 93.
    The model of feminism as humanist in practice and postmodern in theory is inadequate. Feminist practice and theory directly inform each other to displace both humanist and postmodern conceptions of the subject. An examination of feminism's use of rights discourse suggests that feminist practice questions the humanist conception of the subject as a self-identity. Likewise, feminist theory undermines the postmodern emphasis on the constitutive instability and indeterminacy of the subject.
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  4. Alia Al-Saji (2010). Bodies and Sensings: On the Uses of Husserlian Phenomenology for Feminist Theory. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 43 (1):13-37.
    What does Husserlian phenomenology have to offer feminist theory? More specifically, can we find resources within Husserl’s account of the living body ( Leib ) for the critical feminist project of rethinking embodiment beyond the dichotomies not only of mind/body but also of subject/object and activity/passivity? This essay begins by explicating the reasons for feminist hesitation with respect to Husserlian phenomenology. I then explore the resources that Husserl’s phenomenology of touch and his account of sensings hold for feminist theory. My (...)
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  5. Alia Al-Saji (2005). Review of Iris Marion Young, On Female Body Experience: &Quot;throwing Like a Girl" and Other Essays. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2005 (10).
  6. L. Alcoff (1988). Cultural Feminism Versus Post-Structuralism: The Identity Crisis in Feminist Theory. Signs 13 (3):405--436.
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  7. Linda Alcoff (2008). Gender and Reproduction. Asian Journal of Women's Studies 14 (4):7-27.
    This paper provides a materialist approach to defining gender identity.
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  8. Linda Alcoff (2008). &Quot;dreaming of Iris&Quot;. Philosophy Today 52 (Supplement):4-9.
    This paper provides a memoir and overview of Iris Young's philosophy and a discussion of her account of gender identity.
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  9. Linda Alcoff (2000). Philosophy Matters. [REVIEW] SIGNS 25 (3):841-882.
    This paper provides an overview of feminist philosophy published in the 1990's, covering work in epistemology, the history of philosophy, social philosophy, and metaphysics.
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  10. Linda Martin Alcoff, Who's Afraid of Identity Politics?
    This volume is an act of talking back, of talking heresy. To reclaim the term “realism,” to maintain the epistemic significance of identity, to defend any version of identity politics today is to swim upstream of strong academic currents in feminist theory, literary theory, and cultural studies. It is to risk, even to invite, a dismissal as naive, uninformed, theoretically unsophisticated. And it is a risk taken here by people already at risk in the academy, already assumed more often than (...)
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  11. Linda Martín Alcoff (2006). Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. OUP USA.
    In the heated debates over identity politics, few theorists have looked carefully at the conceptualizations of identity assumed by all sides. Visible Identities fills this gap. Drawing on both philosophical sources as well as theories and empirical studies in the social sciences, Martín Alcoff makes a strong case that identities are not like special interests, nor are they doomed to oppositional politics, nor do they inevitably lead to conformism, essentialism, or reductive approaches to judging others. Identities are historical formations and (...)
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  12. Linda Martin Alcoff (2005). The Metaphysics of Gender and Sexual Difference. In Barbara S. Andrew, Jean Clare Keller & Lisa H. Schwartzman (eds.), Feminist Interventions in Ethics and Politics: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    “It is certainly true, as nominalists have been concerned to acknowledge, that judgements about kinds are determined in part by human interests, projects, and practices. But the possibility that human interests, projects, and practices sometimes develop as they do because the real (physical or social) world is as it is suggests that this sort of dependence is not by itself an argument against essentialism.”.
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  13. Linda Martin Alcoff (2005). The Metaphysics of Gender and Sexual Difference. In Barbara S. Andrew, Jean Clare Keller & Lisa H. Schwartzman (eds.), Feminist Interventions in Ethics and Politics: Feminist Ethics and Social Theory. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    “It is certainly true, as nominalists have been concerned to acknowledge, that judgements about kinds are determined in part by human interests, projects, and practices. But the possibility that human interests, projects, and practices sometimes develop as they do because the real (physical or social) world is as it is suggests that this sort of dependence is not by itself an argument against essentialism.”.
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  14. Amy Allen (2005). “Dependency, Subordination, and Recognition: On Judith Butler's Theory of Subjection”. [REVIEW] Continental Philosophy Review 38 (3-4):199-222.
    Judith Butler's recent work expands the Foucaultian notion of subjection to encompass an analysis of the ways in which subordinated individuals becomes passionately attached to, and thus come to be psychically invested in, their own subordination. I argue that Butler's psychoanalytically grounded account of subjection offers a compelling diagnosis of how and why an attachment to oppressive norms – of femininity, for example – can persist in the face of rational critique of those norms. However, I also argue that her (...)
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  15. Amy Allen (1998). Power Trouble: Performativity as Critical Theory. Constellations 5 (4):456-471.
    Although Judith Butler’s theory of the performativity of gender has been highly influential in feminist theory, queer theory, cultural studies, and some areas of philosophy, it has yet to receive its due from critical social theorists.1 This oversight is especially problematic given the crucial insights into the study of power – a central concept for critical social theory – that can be gleaned from Butler’s work. Her analysis is somewhat unique among discussions of power in its attempt to theorize simultaneously (...)
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  16. Elizabeth Anderson (1995). Knowledge, Human Interests, and Objectivity in Feminist Epistemology. Philosophical Topics 23 (2):27-58.
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  17. Sharon Anderson-Gold (2000). Ambivalence and Identity in Black Culture. Social Philosophy Today 16:11-24.
    For decades American sociologists maintained that due to the elimination of their ancestral heritage under slavery, African-American shad no ethnic culture. Social segregation was due to poverty rather than racial prejudice. Social theorist Robert Blauner contests this view. The theory that black culture is only a lower class life-style is flawed because it ignores the culture-producing effects of racism which is the basis for a distinctive African-American culture. Following Blauner, this paper argues that racism is a more complex phenomenon than (...)
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  18. Barbara Andrew (1994). The Psychology of Tyranny: Wollstonecraft and Woolf on the Gendered Dimension of War. Hypatia 9 (2):85 - 101.
    Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf criticize the social construction of the soldier and argue that gender hierarchy relies on particular constructions of masculinity and femininity. Both contend that private tyrannies lead to public ones, and that men's domination in families provides a model for public domination. This reveals the social and psychological conditions which replicate domination, violence, and war. I examine how gender constructs promote and participate in the psychological conditions necessary for war.
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  19. Louise M. Antony & Charlotte Witt (eds.) (2002). A Mind of One's Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity. Westview Press.
    A book of tremendous influence when it first appeared, A Mind of One's Own reminded readers that the tradition of Western philosophy-- in particular, the ideals of reason and objectivity-- has come down to us from white males, nearly all of whom are demonstrably sexist, even misogynist. In this second edition, the original authors continue to ask, What are the implications of this fact for contemporary feminists working within this tradition? The second edition pursues this question about the value of (...)
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  20. Siobhan Austen & Therese Jefferson (2006). Comparing Responses to Critical Realism. Journal of Economic Methodology 13 (2):257-282.
    This article is a study of the response of two heterodox schools of economic thought to ?new? philosophical ideas. Specifically, it considers the response within Post Keynesian and feminist economics to Tony Lawson's recent call for economists to pay greater attention to ontology and for economists to adopt research methods consistent with critical realism. Lawson's arguments were formally introduced to these schools over the space of a few years and continue to generate considerable discussion within their ranks. The focus of (...)
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  21. Theodore Bach (2012). Gender Is a Natural Kind with a Historical Essence. Ethics 122 (2):231-272.
    Traditional debate on the metaphysics of gender has been a contrast of essentialist and social-constructionist positions. The standard reaction to this opposition is that neither position alone has the theoretical resources required to satisfy an equitable politics. This has caused a number of theorists to suggest ways in which gender is unified on the basis of social rather than biological characteristics but is “real” or “objective” nonetheless – a position I term social objectivism. This essay begins by making explicit the (...)
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  22. Ana Mariella Bacigalupo (2003). Rethinking Identity and Feminism: Contributions of Mapuche Women and Machi From Southern Chile. Hypatia 18 (2):32 - 57.
    I analyze how machi discourse and practice of gender and identity contribute to feminist debates about gendered indigenous Others, and the effects that Western notions of Self and Other and feminist rhetoric have on Mapuche women and machi: people who heal with herbal remedies and the help of spirits. Machi juggling of different worlds offers a particular understanding of the way identity and gender are constituted and of the relationship between Self and Other, theory and practice, subject and object, feminism (...)
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  23. Ana Mariella Bacigalupo (2003). Rethinking Identity and Feminism: Contributions of Mapuche Women And. Hypatia 18 (2).
    : I analyze how machi discourse and practice of gender and identity contribute to feminist debates about gendered indigenous Others, and the effects that Western notions of Self and Other and feminist rhetoric have on Mapuche women and machi: people who heal with herbal remedies and the help of spirits. Machi juggling of different worlds offers a particular understanding of the way identity and gender are constituted and of the relationship between Self and Other, theory and practice, subject and object, (...)
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  24. Alison Bailey (1999). Despising an Identity They Taught Me to Claim. In Chris J. Cuomo & Kim Q. Hall (eds.), WHITENESS: FEMINIST PHILOSOPHICAL NARRATIVES.
    This essay is a personal philosophical reflection on particular dilemma privilege-cognizant white feminists face in thinking through how to use privilege in liberatory ways. Privilege takes on a new dimension for whites who resist common defensive or guilt-ridden responses to privilege and struggle to understand the connections between ill-gotten advantages and the genuine injustices that deny humanity to peoples of color. The temptation to despise whiteness and its accompanying privilege is a common response to white privilege awareness and it is (...)
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  25. Alison Bailey (1998). Locating Traitorous Identities: Toward a Theory of White Character Formation. Hypatia 13 (3).
    This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions and (...)
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  26. Alison Bailey (1998). Privilege: Expanding on Marilyn Frye's Oppression. Journal of Social Philosophy 29 (3):104-119.
    This essay serves as both a response and embellishment of Marilyn Frye's now classic essay "Oppression." It is meant to pick up where this essay left off and to make connections between oppression, as Frye defines it, and the privileges that result from institutional structures. This essay tries to clarify one meaning of privilege that is lost in philosophical discussions of injustice. I develop a distinction between unearned privileges and earned advantages. Clarifying the meaning of privilege as unearned structural advantage (...)
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  27. Alison Bailey & Jacquelyn N. Zita (2007). The Reproduction of Whiteness: Race and the Regulation of the Gendered Body. Hypatia 22 (2).
    Historically critical reflection on whiteness in the United States has been a long-standing practice in slave folklore and in Mexican resistance to colonialism, Asian American struggles against exploitation and containment, and Native American stories of contact with European colonizers. Drawing from this legacy and from the disturbing silence on "whiteness" in postsecondary institutions, critical whiteness scholarship has emerged in the past two decades in U.S. academies in a variety of disciplines. A small number of philosophers, critical race theorists, postcolonial theorists, (...)
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  28. Lynne Rudder Baker, Persons: Natural, yet Ontologically Unique.
    The question—Are Persons More than Social Objects?—is an important one, and my answer is somewhat complicated. What I shall talk about here is the way in which persons are natural objects, but I do not want to deny that we are also social objects. I believe that to be a person in the way that I shall describe—as a natural object—is a necessary condition for various enterprises that may be thought of as the social construction of persons. For example, one (...)
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  29. Amrita Banerjee (2008). Follett's Pragmatist Ontology of Relations: Potentials for a Feminist Perspective on Violence. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 22 (1):pp. 3-11.
  30. Karen Barad (1996). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Realism and Social Constructivism Without Contradiction. In. In Lynn Hankinson Nelson & Jack Nelson (eds.), Feminism, Science, and the Philosophy of Science. 161--194.
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  31. Victoria Barker (1997). Definition and the Question of "Woman". Hypatia 12 (2):185 - 215.
    Within recent feminist philosophy, controversy has developed over the desirability, and indeed, the possibility of defining the central terms of its analysis-"woman," "femininity," etc. The controversy results largely from the undertheorization of the notion of definition; feminists have uncritically adopted an Aristotelian treatment of definition as entailing metaphysical, rather than merely linguistic, commitments. A "discursive" approach to definition, by contrast, allows us to define our terms, while avoiding the dangers of essentialism and universalism.
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  32. Christine Battersby (1998). The Phenomenal Woman: Feminist Metaphysics and the Patterns of Identity. Routledge.
    Christine Battersby rethinks questions of embodiment, essence, sameness and difference, self and "other", patriarchy and power. Using analyses of Kant, Adorno, Irigaray, Butler, Kierkegaard and Deleuze, she challenges those who argue that a feminist metaphysics is a a contradiction in terms. This book explores place for a metaphysics of fluidity in the current debates concerning postmodernism, feminism and identity politics.
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  33. N. Bauer (2011). Beauvoir on the Allure of Self-Objectification. In Charlotte Witt (ed.), Feminist Metaphysics. Springer Verlag. 117--129.
  34. Beate Beckmann-Zöller (2008). Edith Stein's Theory of the Person in Her Münster Years (1932–1933). American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82 (1):47-70.
    The new critical edition of Stein’s lectures on philosophical and theological anthropology makes it possible to research further her theory of the person as developed during her middle period in Munster, that is, between 1932 and 1933. Her project revolves around the anthropological foundations of a Catholicpedagogy. Th is phase of her work is marked by various debates. On one hand, she attempts to bring the intellectual legacy of Husserl and phenomenology intodialogue with Thomas Aquinas and other Scholastic thinkers. On (...)
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  35. Seyla Benhabib (1992). Situating the Self: Gender, Community, and Postmodernism in Contemporary Ethics. Routledge.
    Situating the Self is a decisive intervention into debates concerning modernity, postmodernity, ehtics, and the self. It will be of interest to all concerned with critical theory or contemporary ethics.
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  36. Jessica Benjamin (1997). Shadow of the Other: Intersubjectivity and Gender in Psychoanalysis. Routledge.
    Shadow of the Other is a discussion of how the individual has two sorts of relationships with an "other"--other individuals. The first regards the other as a s work apart is her brilliant utilization of a systematic dialectical approach to her subject, always maintaining the delicate balance between opposing tensions: masculinity and femininity, subjectivity and objectivity, passivity and activity, love and aggression, fantasy and reality, modernism and postmodernism, the intrapsychic and the intersubjective. Benjamin s work apart is her brilliant utilization (...)
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  37. Lisa A. Bergin (2009). Latina Feminist Metaphysics and Genetically Engineered Foods. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 22 (3):257--271.
    In this paper I critique two popular, non-scientific attitudes toward genetically engineered foods. In doing so, I will be employing the concepts of ambiguity, purity/impurity, control/resistance, and unity/diversity as developed by Latina feminist metaphysicians. I begin by casting a critical eye toward a specific anti-biotech account of transgenic food crops, an account that I will argue relies on an anti-feminist metaphysics. I then cast that same critical eye toward a specific pro-biotech account, arguing that it also relies on such an (...)
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  38. Emanuela Bianchi (2012). The Interruptive Feminine: Aleatory Time and Feminist Politics. In Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni & Fanny Söderbäck (eds.), Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice. Palgrave Macmillan.
  39. Emanuela Bianchi (2006). Receptacle/Chōra: Figuring the Errant Feminine in Plato's Timaeus. Hypatia 21 (4):124-146.
    This essay undertakes a reexamination of the notion of the receptacle/chōra in Plato's Timaeus, asking what its value may be to feminists seeking to understand the topology of the feminine in Western philosophy. As the source of cosmic motion as well as a restless figurality, labile and polyvocal, the receptacle/chōra offers a fecund zone of destabilization that allows for an immanent critique of ancient metaphysics. Engaging with Derridean, Irigarayan, and Kristevan analyses, Bianchi explores whether receptacle/chōra can exceed its reduction to (...)
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  40. Emanuela Bianchi (ed.) (1999). Is Feminist Philosophy Philosophy? Northwestern University Press.
    Drawing attention to the vexed relationship between feminist theory and philosophy, Is Feminist Philosophy Philosophy? demonstrates the spectrum of significant work being done at this contested boundary. The volume offers clear statements by seventeen distinguished scholars as well as a full range of philosophical approaches; it also presents feminist philosophers in conversation both as feminists and as philosophers, making the book accessible to a wide audience. -/- Table of Contents -/- Opening plenary: Drucilla Cornell, Jacques Derrida, and Teresa Brennan — (...)
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  41. Carol Bigwood (1993). Earth Muse: Feminism, Nature, and Art. Temple University Press.
  42. Carol Bigwood (1991). Renaturalizing the Body (With the Help of Merleau-Ponty). Hypatia 6 (3):54 - 73.
    Some poststructuralist feminist theorists hold that the body is merely the product of cultural determinants and that gender is a free-floating artifice. I discuss how this "denaturalization" of gender and the body entrenches us yet deeper in the nature/culture dichotomy. The body, I maintain, needs to be "renaturalized" so that its earthy significance is recognized. Through a feminist reappropriation of Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of the body, I develop a noncausal linkage between gender and the body. I present the body as an (...)
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  43. S. Bilge (2010). Recent Feminist Outlooks on Intersectionality. Diogenes 57 (1):58-72.
    With its recognition of the combined effects of the social categories of race, class and gender intersectionality has risen to the rank of feminism’s most important contribution to date. Though the first intersectional research (American and British) gave visibility to the social locus of women who self-identified as "black" or "of colour", current research goes beyond the confines of the English-speaking world and aims increasingly to develop an intersectional instrument to deal with discrimination. This project gives rise to two kinds (...)
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  44. Lynda I. A. Birke (2000). Feminism and the Biological Body. Rutgers University Press.
  45. Susan Bordo (1992). "Maleness" Revisited. Hypatia 7 (3):197 - 207.
    My response to the preceding commentaries draws on recent events such as the Thomas/Hill hearings to illustrate some of my central arguments in "Feminist Skepticism and the 'Maleness' of Philosophy." I also attempt to clarify frequently misunderstood aspects of my use of gender as an analytical category, and discuss why, in my opinion, we should continue to care about the "maleness" of philosophy.
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  46. Susan Bordo (1988). Feminist Skepticism and the "Maleness" of Philosophy. Journal of Philosophy 85 (11):619-629.
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  47. Janet Borgerson (2005). Judith Butler: On Organizing Subjectivities. Sociological Review 53:63-79.
    In this essay, I evoke and explore Butler's potential contribution, providing a broad framework for her work, and, at the same time, focusing on specific concepts from her writings - performativity, iteration, and foreclosure - that have profound implications for researchers. Furthermore, pointing out philosophers working in the phenomenological tradition in which Butler trained, including influential precursors, colleagues, and contemporaries, establishes how issues raised in various fields can be recognized and comprehended in relation to Butler's work more generally. Butler's work (...)
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  48. Rosi Braidotti (2011). Nomadic Theory: The Portable Rosi Braidotti. Columbia University Press.
    Transposing differences -- Meta(l)morphoses: women, aliens, and machines -- Animals and other anomalies -- The cosmic buzz of insects -- Matter-realist feminism -- Intensive genre and the demise of gender -- Postsecular paradoxes -- Against methodological nationalism -- Nomadic European citizenship -- Powers of affirmation -- Sustainable ethics and the body in pain -- Forensic futures -- A secular prayer.
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  49. Rosi Braidotti (2011). Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. Columbia University Press.
    Introduction -- By way of nomadism -- Context and generations -- Sexual difference theory -- On the female feminist subject : from "she-self" to "she-other" -- Sexual difference as a nomadic political project -- Organs without bodies -- Images without imagination -- Mothers, monsters, and machines -- Discontinuous becomings : Deleuze and the becoming-woman of philosophy -- Envy and ingratitude: men in feminism -- Conclusion. Geometries of passion : a conversation.
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  50. Sarah-Vaughn Brakman & Sally J. Scholz (2006). Adoption, ART, and a Re-Conception of the Maternal Body: Toward Embodied Maternity. Hypatia 21 (1):54-73.
    : We criticize a view of maternity that equates the natural with the genetic and biological and show how such a practice overdetermines the maternal body and the maternal experience for women who are mothers through adoption and ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies). As an alternative, we propose a new framework designed to rethink maternal bodies through the lens of feminist embodiment. Feminist embodied maternity, as we call it, stresses the particularity of experience through subjective embodiment. A feminist embodied maternity emphasizes (...)
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