Hypatia 29 (2):269-286 (2014)

Jennifer McWeeny
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Because of risks of essentialism and homogenization, feminist theorists frequently avoid making precise ontological claims, especially in regard to specifying bodily connections and differences among women. However well-intentioned, this trend may actually run counter to the spirit of intersectionality by shifting feminists' attention away from embodiment, fostering oppressor-centric theories, and obscuring privilege within feminism. What feminism needs is not to turn from ontological specificity altogether, but to engage a new kind of ontological project that can account for the material complexity of social space in the twenty-first century. Taking inspiration from the phenomenological concept of flesh as well as ecofeminism and María Lugones's theory of the colonial/modern gender system, this essay argues that our own flesh is related to that of others through lines of intercorporeal relations that collectively form topographies of flesh. When we attend to those material relationships present in a particular locality at a point in time, we are able to recognize topographical aggregates of beings that can serve as a basis for this new feminist ontology. An example from Toni Morrison's Beloved involving a human woman and a nonhuman one is used as a paradigm for thinking ontological connection and difference at the same time
Keywords ontology  feminism  phenomenology  ecofeminism  body
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12087
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References found in this work BETA

The Visible and the Invisible.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1968 - Northwestern University Press.
Phenomenology of Perception.Mary Warnock - 1964 - Philosophical Quarterly 14 (57):372-375.
The Visible and the Invisible.B. Falk - 1970 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (80):278-279.
Toward a Decolonial Feminism.Marìa Lugones - 2010 - Hypatia 25 (4):742-759.

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The Political Economy of Meat.Markus Lundström - 2019 - Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 32 (1):95-104.

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