The Role of Darwin in Elizabeth Grosz's Deleuzian Feminist Theory: Sexual Difference, Ontology, and Intervention

Hypatia 32 (2):279-295 (2017)

Abstract
In this article on Elizabeth Grosz's philosophy and its implications for discussions about feminist theory, I first suggest that Charles Darwin plays a particular role in Grosz's recent ontological thought. This role is to provide help in joining together two incompatible sources in her work: Gilles Deleuze's monistic ontology of a constant flow of new differentiations, on the one hand, and Luce Irigaray's thought of sexual difference as the primary ontological difference, on the other. I argue that Grosz's intellectual project has developed into a grand general theory of change in which both Darwin and Irigaray are turned into ontologists in a Deleuzian vein. I then point out that Grosz's ontology also includes a political aspect, which manifests in the fact that Grosz redescribes Darwin through interpreting him primarily as a theorist of “event” and the unexpected. However, through an analysis of the discussion on Grosz between Luciana Parisi and Jami Weinstein, I speculate whether Grosz's ambition to provide a total and complete explanation of change encourages the tone of feminist discussion toward one of explanation rather than intervention.
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DOI 10.1111/hypa.12316
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