The analogy between biological and cultural evolution is not perfect. Yet, as Mesoudi et al. show, many of the vaunted differences between cultural and genetic evolution (for example, an absence of discrete particles of cultural inheritance, and the blurred distinction between cultural replicators and cultural phenotypes) are, on closer inspection, either illusory or peripheral to the validity of the analogy. But what about horizontal transmission? We strongly agree with the authors that the potential for horizontal transmission of cultural traits does (...) not invalidate an evolutionary approach to culture. We suggest, however, that it does require a different evolutionary treatment. (Published Online November 9 2006). (shrink)
Inspired by Judith Butler's conceptualization of drag as ‘gender parody’, I develop the conceptual frame of ‘textual drag’ in order to define and examine the relationship between parody, satire and gender. I test this frame by reading two seminal feminist works, Virginia Woolf's Orlando and Monique Wittig's Le Corps lesbien. Both texts lend themselves particularly persuasively to analysis with this frame, as they each use parodic strategies to facilitate proto-queer satirical critiques of reductive gender norms. Orlando deploys an exaggerated (...) nineteenth-century biographical style, which foregrounds the protagonist's gender fluidity and her developing critique of the norms and systems that surround her, while Le Corps lesbien rewrites canonical romance narratives from a lesbian perspective, challenging the heterosexism inherent in these narratives and providing new modes of thinking about gender, desire and sexual interaction. (shrink)
Recent iterations of feminist theory and activism, especially intersectional, ‘third-wave’ feminism, have cast much second-wave feminism as politically unacceptable in failing to centre the experiences of less privileged subjects than the often white, often middle-class names with which the second wave is usually associated. While bearing those critiques in mind, this article argues that some second-wave writers, exemplified by Shulamith Firestone and Monique Wittig, may still offer valuable feminist perspectives if viewed through the anti-normative lens of queer theory. Queer (...) resists the reification of identity categories. It focuses on resistance to hegemonic norms, rather than on group identity. By viewing Wittig's and Firestone's critique of the institutions of the family, reproduction, maternity, and work as proto-queer — and specifically proto-antisocial queer — it argues for a feminism that refuses to shore up identity, that rejects groupthink, and that articulates meaningfully the crucial place of... (shrink)
The central claim of Monique Roelofs’s wide-ranging examination of the aesthetic is that it “hold[s] out the promise of a shared culture... people and objects [connected] in flourishing collective and material bonds”. Roelofs acknowledges Kant’s and Hume’s commitment to shared human faculties that allow judgements of taste “to attain intersubjective validity”; but her argument quickly develops from this “promise” to one with social and political consequences—of a harmonious and egalitarian society—and to radically different theoretical formulations and conclusions. Roelofs then (...) also starts from a now familiar “everyday aesthetics” position—although it is not explicitly... (shrink)
Monique Roelofs’s The Cultural Promise of the Aesthetic is groundbreaking in its nuanced account of the potential and limitations of the aesthetic for creating a more just, humane world. Particularly timely are Roelofs’s analyses of the ways in which racial and gender stereotypes are reinforced and the operations of what she calls “racialized aesthetic nationalism,” the tendencies of aesthetic values to shore up schisms along racial, ethnic, and national lines. I raise questions, however, about the appropriateness of aesthetic criticism (...) that stresses sins of omission, the desirability of insisting that the broad nexus of social relations always be kept in view, and the danger that foregrounding minority group membership and gender will reduce individuals in marked categories to mere exemplifications of such status. (shrink)
Although Judith Butler's theorization of violence has begun to receive growing scholarly attention, the feminist theoretical background of her notion of violence remains unexplored. In order to fill this lacuna, this article explicates the feminist genealogy of Butler's notion of violence. I argue that Butler's theorization of violence can be traced back to Gender Trouble, to her discussion of Monique Wittig's argument that the binary categorization of sex can be conceived as a form of discursive violence. I contend, first, (...) that Butler starts to develop her notion of “gender violence” on the basis of her reading of Wittig, and second, that Butler's more recent writings on military violence and the ethics of nonviolence build on her early interpretation of Wittig. On the basis of my reading, I suggest, in contrast to recent criticism, that Butler's later critique of violence is not at odds with but rather expands upon her prior work on violence. (shrink)
Ross examines the relation between thought and madness within the practical and theoretical wings of Kant's critical philosophy. She argues that the notion of critique is formulated as a guard against the tendency of thought to madness. She locates the significance of David'Ménard's essay on Kant's pre-critical works in the idea that Kant's own tendency to madness functions in these early works as a motivational principle for the mature, critical system.
Exploitation is a concept that escapes easy definition. As Ruth Sample writes in her contribution to Exploitation: From Practice to Theory, "There seems to be no clear, publicly recognized principle, that allows us to determine which interactions are exploitative and which are not". As someone who researches in the field of human trafficking, this is a problem I recognize. Exploitation is at the nub of the international definition of human trafficking. The United Nation's anti-trafficking Palermo Protocol outlines trafficking as the (...) deceptive or coercive movement of people for "the purpose of exploitation" in realms including "the prostitution of others, servitude, labour or... (shrink)
: Ross examines the relation between thought and madness within the practical and theoretical wings of Kant's critical philosophy. She argues that the notion of critique is formulated as a guard against the tendency of thought to madness. She locates the significance of David-Ménard's essay on Kant's pre-critical works in the idea that Kant's own tendency to madness functions in these early works as a motivational principle for the mature, critical system.
Cet bref ouvrage propose une typologie des tendances de la théologie féministe en relation avec la notion d'expérience des femmes. Il peut inciter son lectorat à approfondir l'une ou l'autre des dix tendances répertoriées, et la pensée de l'une ou l'autre des représentantes de ces tendances. Mais il est difficile de comprendre la décision de s'en tenir aux "aspects positifs", dans le mesure où le féminisme est difficilement concevable sans sa dimension critique. Et, au lieu de répartir les tendances en (...) trois secteurs qui ne s'excluent pas mutuellement (rapport à la tradition, sujets traités, moyens utilisés), il serait plus éclairant d'interroger chaque tendance par rapport à ces trois vecteurs. (shrink)