This new collection of essays by leading feminist critics highlights the fresh perspectives that feminism can offer to the discussion of past philosophers. Rather than defining itself through opposition to a "male" philosophical tradition, feminist philosophy emerges not only as an exciting new contribution to the history of philosophy, but also as a source of cultural self-understanding in the present.
This paper examines recent feminist work on Spinoza and identifies the elements of Spinoza’s philosophy that have been seen as promising for feminist naturalism. I argue that the elements of Spinoza’s work that feminist theorists have found so promising are precisely those concepts he derives from Hobbes. I argue that the misunderstanding of Hobbes as architect of the egoist model of human nature has effaced his contribution to Spinoza’s more praised conception of the human individual. Despite misconceptions, (...) I argue that the model of human nature, the view on human emotions and the conception of individual power that Hobbes created and Spinoza developed is an uncommonly useful one for feminist political theory. Through reexamining Hobbes’ model of human nature and the emotions I will argue that Hobbes’ theory of the internal weighing of emotions provides an important mechanism for understanding how the individuals’ affects can be reformed. I will show how we can use this naturalistic model of the human individual to answer contemporary theoretical and practical questions of how to empower women and how to effectively identify, challenge and change social categories, norms and institutions which are disempowering. In particular, I will argue that feminist projects of empowerment need a way to measure empowerment and a way to understand how to understand the power of harmful norms and customs. Understanding the way certain norms and practices disempower women while forming their affects and self‐conceptions provides the first step to reform of these practices. Spinoza and Hobbes provide us with a further tool to reform, and that is their understanding of the role of emotions in human action and power, and the need to reform and reorganize the emotions of individuals in order to escape harmful patterns of behavior. (shrink)
Feminist work in the history of philosophy has come of age as an innovative field in the history of philosophy. This volume marks that accomplishment with original essays by leading feminist scholars who ask basic questions: What is distinctive of feminist work in the history of philosophy? Is there a method that is distinctive of feminist historical work? How can women philosophers be meaningfully included in the history of the discipline? Who counts (...) as a philosopher? This collection is a unique collaboration among philosophers from North America and the Nordic Countries, including papers written from both analytic and continental philosophical perspectives and discussing both ancient and modern philosophers. Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy will be of interest to historians of philosophy, feminist theorists, women's studies faculty and students, and humanists interested in canon formation and transformation. (shrink)
Feministtheory is a central strand of cultural studies. This book explores the history of feminist cultural studies from the early work of Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Virginia Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, through the 1970s Women's Liberation Movement. It also provides a comprehensive introduction to the contemporary key approaches, theories and debates of feministtheory within cultural studies, offering a major re-mapping of the field. It will be an essential text for students taking (...) courses within both cultural studies and women's studies departments. (shrink)
Feminist Political Theory provides both a wide-ranging history of western feminist thought and a lucid analysis of contemporary debates. It offers an accessible and thought-provoking account of complex theories, which it relates to 'real-life' issues such as sexual violence, political representation and the family. This timely new edition has been thoroughly updated to incorporate the most recent developments in feminism and feminist scholarship throughout, in particular taking into account the impact of black and postmodern (...) class='Hi'>feminist thought on feminist political theory. (shrink)
This book is a study of post World War II feministtheory from the viewpoint of intellectual history. The key theme is that the social construction of gender has its origins in the feminist theorists of this period. This paradigm is a key foundational element to both second and third wave feminist thought. It will focus on the five key scholars of the period: Komarovsky, de Beauvoir, Mead, Klein and Herschberger. This has been a somewhat (...) overlooked period in the development of feministtheory and philosophy and Tarrant makes a compelling case for it (the fifties) being the turning point in the study of gender. (shrink)
A highly original work in history and theory, this survey considers major themes including identity, class and sexual difference, weaves them into debates on the nature and point of history, and arrives at new ways of doing history that – very unusually – consider non-Western history and feminist approaches. Using wide range of historical and cultural contexts, the study draws extensively on feminist scholarship, both feministhistory and postcolonial feminism.
So what is feminism anyway? Why are all the experts so reluctant to give us a clear definition? Is it possible to make sense of the complex and often contradictory debates? In this concise and accessible introduction to feministtheory, Chris Beasley provides clear explanations of the many types of feminism. She outlines the development of liberal, radical and Marxist//socialist feminism, and reviews the more contemporary influences of psychoanalysis, postmodernism, theories of the body, queer theory, and attends (...) to the ongoing significance of race and ethnicity. Given the diversity of feminist ideas, Chris Beasley a number of ways of looking at feministtheory and offer an open-ended approach which allows for variety and change. What is Feminism? is a clear and up-to-date guide to Western feministtheory for students, their teachers, researchers and anyone else who wants to understand and engage in current feminist debates. `Over the last three decades feminist theories and methodologies have become an increasingly complex as well as somewhat fraught terrain where ideas and egos alternately clash productively and destructively. This is an up-to-date and intelligent introduction to a field which remains a vital component of contemporary sociopolitical issues and debates' - Sneja Gunew, Professor of English and Women’s Studies, University of British Columbia. (shrink)
What makes feministtheoryfeminist? How did so many different feminisms come to exist? In Fundamental Feminism, Judith Grant addresses these questions by offering a critical exploration of the evolution of feministtheory and the state of feminist thinking today. Grant provides a lively assessment of the major problems of contemporary feminist thought and identifies a set of common assumptions that link the wide variety of feminist theories in existence. Fundamental Feminism calls (...) for nothing less than a substantial revision of the core concepts responsible for shaping feministtheory as we now know it. Grant identifies and critiques three core concepts of feministtheory--"woman," "experience," and "personal politics"--from their origins in pamphlets and writings from the early women's liberation movement to their current construction in feminist thought. She then connects a number of major debates in feminism today to the longstanding influence of these core assumptions. These debates include the hegemony of the white female perspective, the tension between anti-pornography and pro-sex feminists, and the discussions surrounding the challenges presented by postmodernism. Grant gives readers valuable insight into the dilemma facing feministtheory today. Fundamental Feminism is a thorough and provocative analysis that will be essential reading for anyone interested in the future of feministtheory and the power of feminist politics. (shrink)
Contemporary feministtheory is at an impasse: the project of reformulating concepts of self and social identity is thwarted by an association between identity and oppression and victimhood. In Sacrificial Logics, Allison Weir proposes a way out of this impasse through a concept of identity which depends on accepting difference. Weir argues that the equation of identity with repression and domination links "relational" feminists like Nancy Chodorow, who equate self-identity with the repression of connection to others, and poststructuralist (...) feminists like Judith Butler, who view any identity as a repression of nonidentity and difference. Through readings of Chodorow, Butler, Jessica Benjamin, Luce Irigaray, Jacqueline Rose and Julia Kristeva, Weir analyzes the relation of theories of self-identity to theories of women's identity, social identity, the identity of meaning in language and feminist solidarity. Drawing particularly on the work of Julia Kristeva, she argues for a reformulation of self-identity as a capacity to participate in a social world, and sketches a model of a self-identity which depends on a capacity to accept nonidentity, difference and connections to others. (shrink)
Power is clearly a crucial concept for feministtheory. Insofar as feminists are interested in analyzing power, it is because they have an interest in understanding, critiquing, and ultimately challenging the multiple array of unjust power relations affecting women in contemporary Western societies, including sexism, racism, heterosexism, and class oppression.In The Power of FeministTheory, Amy Allen diagnoses the inadequacies of previous feminist conceptions of power, and draws on the work of a diverse group of (...) theorists of power, including Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Hannah Arendt, in order to construct a new feminist conception of power. The conception of power developed in this book enables readers to theorize domination, resistance, and solidarity, and, perhaps more importantly, to do so in a way that illuminates the interrelatedness of these three modalities of power. (shrink)
Reading feministtheory as a complex imaginative achievement, Feminist Imagination considers feminist commitment through the interrogation of its philosophical, political and affective connections with the past, and especially with the `race' trials of the twentieth century. The book looks at: the 'directionlessness' of contemporary feminist thought; the question of essentialism and embodiment; the racial tensions in the work of Simone de Beauvoir; the totalitarian character in Hannah Arendt; the 'mimetic Jew' and the concept of mimesis (...) in the work of Judith Butler. Vikki Bell provides a compelling rethinking of feministtheory as bound up with attempts to understand oppression outside a focus on 'women'. She affirms feminism as a site and mode of making these connections. What emerges is a profound work brimming with insight that will be required reading for anyone who is seriously interested in feministtheory and, more generally, contemporary social theory. (shrink)
This authoritative and lively exploration of the theories of contemporary feminism covers all the major variants of feminist political thought from the "traditional" schools of the women's movement-particularly radical, liberal, and socialist-to today's postmodern texts. FeministTheory Today examines the epistemological challenge from critical legal theory and postmodernist thought; the divergences within, as well as between, feminist schools; and the protests from women marginalized by the feminist movement, including those who are lesbian and those (...) who are black. It also interrogates the dialectic equality and difference and reconceptualizes this pervasive tenet of feminist thought. Author Judith Evans documents the changes in socialist feminism from its revolutionary origins to its current focus on modifying liberal democratic forms. Students and teachers of women's studies, sociology, and political theory will find this an authoritative and lively exploration of the theories of contemporary feminism. It is also essential reading for anyone seeking to understand why the women's movement is as it is today. (shrink)
This volume collects many of the major essays of feministtheory of the past forty years. The essays included here are those which have made key contributions to feministtheory during this period and which have generated extensive discussion. The volume organizes these essays historically, so as to provide a sense of the major turning points in feministtheory. Beginning with those essays which have provoked widespread discussion in the early days of the second (...) wave, the volume then presents essays which have been central to major discussions since that time. The essays present the complex relationship between feminism and Marxism, the second wave's "gynocentric turn," the theoretical elaboration of differences among women, and the essentialist debate, as these have occupied the attention of feminist theorists. Through this collection, the reader is able to gain a sense of the diverse directions feministtheory has taken over the past forty years, where feministtheory stands at the moment, and the questions which are just now beginning to emerge. (shrink)
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.
From the historical roots of second-wave feminism to current debates about feministtheory and politics. This introduction to Anglo-American feminist thought provides a critical and panoramic survey of dominant trends in feminism since 1968. Feminism is too often considered a monolithic movement, consisting of an enormous range of women and ideologies, with both similar and different perspectives and approaches. The book is divided into two parts, the first of which takes a close look at the most influential (...) strands of feminism: liberal feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, radical feminism, lesbian feminism, and black feminism. In later chapters, Whelehan ties these complexities of, and conflicts within, feminism. The role and relationship of men to feminism, and feminism's often thorny relationship to postmodernism, are also the subject of chapter length treatment. Concluding with a provocative discussion of the much-heralded advent of post-feminism and the rise of the new feminist superstars such as Camille Paglia, Naomi Wolf, Susan Faludi, and Katie Roiphe, Modern Feminist thought is an ideal text for students and a book no feminist teacher or activist should be without. (shrink)
Fox-Genovese, Kaminer, and Riley all write the history of feminism as a history of conflict between feminists who desire to deny difference in favor of equality and those who desire to celebrate difference. And they all ask what this contradiction lying at the heart of feministtheory implies for the practice of feminist politics. These works reveal the need for feminists who engage this debate to be self-conscious in their formulations.
In Political Theory and Feminist Social Criticism, Brooke Ackerly demonstrates the shortcomings of contemporary deliberative democratic theory, relativism and essentialism for guiding the practice of social criticism in the real, imperfect world. Drawing theoretical implications from the activism of Third World feminists who help bring to public audiences the voices of women silenced by coercion, Brooke Ackerly provides a practicable model of social criticism. She argues that feminist critics have managed to achieve in practice what other (...) theorists do only incompletely in theory. Complemented by Third World feminist social criticism, deliberative democratic theory becomes critical theory - actionable, coherent, and self-reflective. While a complement to democratic theory, Third World feminist social criticism also addresses the problem in feministtheory associated with attempts to deal with identity politics. Third World feminist social criticism thus takes feministtheory beyond the critical impasse of the tension between anti-relativist and anti-essentialist feministtheory. (shrink)
In the past decade the central principles of western feministtheory have been dramatically challenged. many feminists have endorsed post-structuralism's rejection of essentialist theoretical categories, and have added a powerful gender dimension to contemporary critiques of modernity. Earlier 'women' have been radically undermined, and newer concerns with 'difference', 'identity', and 'power' have emerged. Destabilizing Theory explores these developments in a set of specially commissioned essays by feminist theorists. Does this change amount to a real shift within (...)feministtheory, or will feminism's links with an emancipatory modernism reinstate an older political agenda? Can we transcend the common counterposition of equality and difference, or is feminism condemned to argue within the terms of this binary opposition? (shrink)
Once seen as synonymous with "anti-feminism" postfeminism is now understood as the theoretical meeting ground between feminism and anti-foundationalist movements such as postmodernism, post-structuralism and post-colonialsm. In this clear exposition of some of the major debates, theorists and practitioners, Ann Brooks shows how feminism is being redefined for the twenty first century. Individual chapters look at postfeminism in relation to feminist epistemology, Foucault, psychoanalytic theory and semiology, postmodernism and postcolonialism, cultural politics, popular culture, film and media, and sexuality (...) and identity. For all students looking for guidance through the sometimes murky waters of contemporary feministtheory, this book will provide a reassuring first port of call. (shrink)
Feminist scholars have been remaking the landscape in political theory, and in this important book some of the most important feminist political theorists provide reconstructions of those concepts most central to the tradition of political philosophy. The goal is nothing less than the construction of a blueprint for a positive feministtheory.Many of these papers are completely new; others are extensions of important earlier work; two are reprints of classic papers. The result is a progress (...) report on the continuing feminist project to re-envision traditional political theory. As such, it constitutes essential reading not only for feminist thinkers but also for traditional philosophers and political theorists, who will need to come to terms with these contemporary critiques and re-readings. (shrink)
This book evaluates the major debates around which the discipline of international relations has developed in the light of contemporary feminist theories. The three debates (realist versus idealist, scientific versus traditional, modernist versus postmodernist) have been subject to feminist theorising since the earliest days of known feminist activities, with the current emphasis on feminist, empiricist standpoint and postmodernist ways of knowing. Christine Sylvester shows how feminist theorising could have affected our understanding of international relations had (...) it been included in the three debates. She elaborates a feminist method of empathetically cooperative conversation which challenges the identity politics of IR, and illustrates that method with reference to the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp and the efforts of Zimbabwean women to negotiate international funding for their local producer cooperatives. (shrink)
This glossary is both an introduction to the key words of feminist critical theories and a guide to their origins. Acknowledging the variety of contemporary feminist theories, the glossary includes entries on black, post-colonial, Italian, and French feminisms, and draws on a wide range of fields including semiotics, psychoanalysis, structuralism, poststructuralism, and deconstruction.
Yielding Gender explores and reconsiders the tensions that deconstruction poses for feminist philosophy. Emphasizing the important role of deconstruction in revealing the ambiguity and unstable nature of gender, Penelope Deutscher asks the crucial question: does the very instability of gender mean that we can no longer talk of a man or a woman of reason in the history of philosophy? Using the work of Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray, Deutscher explores this question by examining the issue (...) of gender as "trouble", deconstruction and feminist criticism of the history of philosophy. She then considers and challenges feminist interpretations of some key figures in the history of philosophy. Deutscher sketches how Rousseau, St. Augustine and Simone de Beauvoir have described gender and argues that their readings of gender are in fact empowered by gender's own contradiction and instability rather than limited by it. (shrink)
In the mid-1970s and early 1980s, several feminist theorists began developing alternatives to the traditional methods of scientific research. The result was a new theory, now recognized as Standpoint Theory, which caused heated debate and radically altered the way research is conducted. The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader is the first anthology to collect the most important essays on the subject as well as more recent works that bring the topic up-to-date. Leading feminist scholar and (...) one of the founders of Standpoint Theory, Sandra Harding brings together the a prestigious list of scholars--Dorothy Smith, Donna Haraway, Patricia Hill Collins, Nancy Hartsock and Hilary Rose--to not only showcase the most influential essays on the topic but to also highlight subsequent developments of these approaches from a wide variety of disciplines and intellectual and political positions. The Reader will be essential reading for feminist scholars. (shrink)
This article aims to contribute to the question of how to conceptualise the relationship between theory and practice in feminist scholarship in law. It looks in detail at the implications of different issues raised in a recent debate between Anne Bottomley and Ngaire Naffine on the existence of a “legal feminist orthodoxy”. I critique the dominance of ethics over politics and join Bottomley in her attack upon “the ethics of respect for the other”, albeit from a different (...) position. I then look at the ways in which the problem of “essentialism” is being rethought from a feminist perspective. (shrink)
Differences That Matter challenges existing ways of theorising the relationship between feminism and postmodernism which ask 'is or should feminism be modern or postmodern?' Sara Ahmed suggests that postmodernism has been allowed to dictate feminist debates and calls instead for feminist theorists to speak (back) to postmodernism, rather than simply speak on (their relationship to) it. Such a 'speaking back' involves a refusal to position postmodernism as a generalisable condition of the world and requires closer readings of what (...) postmodernism is actually 'doing' in a variety of disciplinary contexts. Sara Ahmed hence examines constructions of postmodernism in relation to rights, ethics, subjectivity, authorship, meta-fiction and film. (shrink)
As has been noted by Alvin Goldman, there are some very interesting similarities between his Veritistic Social Epistemology (VSE) and Sandra Harding's Feminist Standpoint Theory (FST). In the present paper, it is argued that these similarities are so significant as to motivate an incorporation of FST into VSE, considering that (i) a substantial common ground can be found; (ii) the claims that go beyond this common ground are logically compatible; and (iii) the generality of VSE not only does (...) justice to the inclusive ambition of FST, but even solves a well-discussed problem for the latter. (shrink)
This dissertation is an analysis of the development of dialectic and argumentation theory in post-classical Islamic intellectual history. The central concerns of the thesis are; treatises on the theoretical understanding of the concept of dialectic and argumentation theory, and how, in practice, the concept of dialectic, as expressed in the Greek classical tradition, was received and used by five communities in the Islamic intellectual camp. It shows how dialectic as an argumentative discourse diffused into five communities (theologicians, (...) poets, grammarians, philosophers and jurists) and how these local dialectics that the individual communities developed fused into a single system to form a general argumentation theory (adab al-bahth) applicable to all fields. I evaluate a treatise by Shams al-Din Samarqandi (d.702/1302), the founder of this general theory, and the treatises that were written after him as a result of his work. I concentrate specifically on work by 'Ad}ud al-Din al-Iji (d.756/1355), Sayyid Sharif al-Jurjani (d.816/1413), Taşköprüzâde (d.968/1561), Saçaklızâde (d.1150/1737) and Gelenbevî (d.1205/1791) and analyze how each writer (from Samarqandi to Gelenbevî) altered the shape of argumentative discourse and how later intellectuals in the post-classical Islamic world responded to that discourse bequeathed by their predecessors. What is striking about the period that this dissertation investigates (from 1300-1800) is the persistence of what could be called the linguistic turn in argumentation theory. After a centuries-long run, the jadal-based dialectic of the classical period was displaced by a new argumentation theory, which was dominantly linguistic in character. This linguistic turn in argumentation dates from the final quarter of the fourteenth century in Iji's impressively prescient work on 'ilm al-wad'. This idea, which finally surfaced in the post-classical period, that argumentation is about definition and that, therefore, defining is the business of language—even perhaps, that language is the only available medium for understanding and being understood—affected the way that argumentation theory was processed throughout most of the period in question.The argumentative discourse that started with Ibn al-Rawandi in the third/ninth century left a permanent imprint on Islamic intellectual history, which was then full of concepts, terminology and objectives from this discourse up until the late nineteenth century. From this perspective, Islamic intellectual history can be read as the tension between two languages: the "language of dialectic" (jadal) and the "language of demonstration" (burhan), each of which refer not only to a significant feature of that history, but also to a feature that could dramatically alter the interpretation of that history. (shrink)
This paper aims to evaluate thechallenges posed to traditional ethical theoryby the ethics of feminism, multiculturalism,and environmentalism. I argue that JamesSterba, in his Three Challenges to Ethics,provides a distorted assessment by trying toassimilate feminism, multiculturalism, andenvironmentalism into traditional utilitarian,virtue, and Kantian/Rawlsian ethics – which hethus seeks to rescue from their alleged``biases.'''' In the cases of feminism andmulticulturalism, I provide an alternativeaccount on which these new critical discourseschallenge the whole paradigm or conception ofethical inquiry embodied in the tradition.They embrace different questions, (...) goals, toolsof analysis, and wider audiences, typicallyignored or marginalized by traditionalethicists.I illustrate my argument through briefinterpretations of writers such as Susan Okin,Catharine Mackinnon, Sandra Bartky, JohnStoltenberg, Richard Wasserstrom, AnthonyAppiah, Charles Mills, Will Kymlicka, CharlesTaylor, and Martha Nussbaum. In many of thesecases, I suggest that they provide us with newways of being ethicists.In the case of environmentalism, I defend amore conservative and negative assessment.Sterba embraces authors such as Peter Singer,Tom Regan, and Paul Taylor in order to advancean environmentalist ethic of ``speciesequality/impartiality'''' and ``biocentricpluralism.'''' Here I argue that the traditionalKantian/Rawlsian ethics – which Sterba hopesto accommodate – actually provides compellingmoral reasons for rejecting his principles of``species impartiality'''' and biocentricpluralism. Moreover, Rawlsian ethics canprovide a more coherent, consistent, andplausible account of environmental issues thanSterba''s brand of environmental ethics. Iargue that in practice, his ethics concedeswhat it denies in theory – namely, the specialvalue which inheres in human beings.As such, environmental ethics, unlike feminismand multiculturalism, poses very little in theway of a credible challenge or alternative totraditional ethics. (shrink)
Jean van Heijenoort was best known for his editorial work in the history of mathematical logic. I survey his contributions to model-theoretic proof theory, and in particular to the falsifiability tree method. This work of van Heijenoort’s is not widely known, and much of it remains unpublished. A complete list of van Heijenoort’s unpublished writings on tableaux methods and related work in proof theory is appended.
The purpose of this article is to develop a model of life historytheory that incorporates environmental influences, contextual influences, and heritable variation. I argue that physically or psychologically stressful environments delay maturation and the onset of reproductive competence. The social context is also important, and here I concentrate on the opportunity for upward social mobility as a contextual influence that results in delaying reproduction and lowering fertility in the interest of increasing investment in children. I also review (...) evidence that variation in life history strategies is influenced by genetic variation as well. Finally, I show that cultural shifts in the social control of sexual behavior have had differential effects on individuals predisposed to high- versus low-investment reproductive strategies. (shrink)
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 (...) reason and objectivity in new directions using the fresh perspectives and diverse viewpoints of the new generation of feminist philosophers. A Mind of One's Own is essential reading and an essential reference for philosophers and for all scholars and students concerned about the nature of knowledge and our pursuit of it. (shrink)
This set reprints a wide range of key articles exploring the role of feminists in the development of post-Enlightenment thought. Including groundbreaking work from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, with pieces by Sandra Harding, Julia Kristeva, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Elizabeth Spelman, and other internationally-esteemed scholars, the collection features an original introduction and comprehensive index, making this an invaluable resource for women's studies students in a wide range of subject areas. For a full listing of contents, visit www.routledge-ny.com and type the (...) isbn into the search engine. (shrink)
This important text introduces students to both feminism and other social and political theories via an examination of the inter-relationship between different feminist positions and key contemporary debates. The book takes each debate in turn, outlines the main themes, discusses different feminist responses and evaluates the implications for real-life political and social issues. This user-friendly structure effectively redraws the map of contemporary feminist thought, offering a fresh and succinct summary of an extensive range of material and graphically (...) demonstrating the ongoing relevance and value of a feminist perspective. (shrink)