Debora L. Spar writes: In 2005, I was teaching a first-year class at Harvard Business School. As usual, slightly under a third of my students were women. As always, I was the only female professor.
So one evening, my female students asked me and one of my female colleagues to join them for cocktails. They ordered a lovely spread of hors d’oeuvres and white wine. They presented each of us with an elegant lavender plant. And then, like women meeting for cocktails often do, they—well, we, actually—proceeded to complain. About how tough it was to be so constantly in the minority. About how the guys sucked up all the air around the school. About the folks in career services who told them never to wear anything but a good black pantsuit to an interview.
Over the course of the conversation, though, things began to turn. The women stopped talking about their present lives and started to focus on their futures, futures that had little to do with conferences or pantsuits and everything to do with babies, and families, and men. Most of the women were frankly intending to work “for a year or two” and then move into motherhood. These were some of the smartest and most determined young women in the country. They had Ivy League degrees, for the most part, and were in the midst of paying more than $100,000 for an M.B.A. And yet they were already deeply concerned about how they would juggle their lives, and surprisingly pessimistic about their chances of doing so.
Continue text at The Chronicle of Higher Education
Pornography’s inscriptions in representation have troubled feminist writers, who since the 1970s have been critically addressing issues related to the presentation of the female body. Porn, it was contended, is for the most part a heterosexist genre, and its market circulation serves male libidinal pleasure, fixing the position of pleasure for both wo/men and abiding by patriarchal, gendered and sexually imposed norms. Later, the term was reclaimed under a critical re-perception of porn, cast as a gaze upon different others. This time race, religion, class came to the forefront. From Rosi Braidotti (m.s.) who addresses issues of racism in islamophobic representations such as the documentary ‘Fitna’, to the many commentators who related pornography to acts of torture, most notably in Abu-Ghraib (McClintock 2009) – pornography becomes a ‘concept metaphor’ that haunts autonomy (the laws of the self) through an heteronomous (laws of the other) affect (cf. Nancy 2007). Similarly, in debates over forced sex-work, the voyeuristic humanitarian gaze produces its Others either by sexualizing the other’s body, or by desexualizing the human in it.
On the other hand, many newly emerging artworks, documentaries, and porn productions, attempt to exscribe from porn its initial, normatively repressed qualities, and re-inscribe a feminist or queer perception of enjoyment and pleasure through feminine jouissance and the possibilities to push the limits of representation. In such tactics (de Certeau 1984), porn does not only become a concept-metaphor but, rather, it is being worked through a radical metonymic approach which seeks to transgress norms, explore desires and open up to affects. Tactics thus become tactile.
Continue Reading at Re-Public HERE
Johanna Sjöstedt introduces her conversation with Nancy Bauer by explaining why Bauer is interested both in exploring the potential of a genuinely philosophical feminism and paving the way for a feminist critique of the philosophical tradition.
At the heart of the thought of American philosopher Nancy Bauer is the troubled relationship between philosophy and feminism. Put differently, Bauer is interested in exploring the possibilities for a genuinely philosophical feminism, while at the same time aiming at paving the way for a feminist critique of the philosophical tradition that is transformative, rather than dismissive, of the intellectual discipline as such. Instead of simply arguing in favour of feminist philosophy, where the issue of the value of feminism for philosophy and vice versa is settled in advance, Bauer works on the borders of feminism and philosophy, where difficulties in bringing the two enterprises together abound, but great intellectual rewards await in the case of success. In Bauer’s work, this ambition manifests itself in a way of doing philosophy that ties the abstractions of philosophy to concerns of everyday life, where French writer, philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir serves as a great source of inspiration. Writing about the philosophy of Beauvoir and its connections to the thought of Descartes, Hegel, and Sartre, Bauer received her PhD in philosophy from Harvard University in 1997.
Excerpt from a text by Johanna Sjöstedt at Eurozine. Continue THERE.
Ann Cahill is a funky feminist po-mo philosophical fabadabadoo who steps up to the groove to think about intersubjectivity in all its guises.She defends big words, considers the astoundingly deep inability of US culture to understand the emotions of miscarriage, finds continental philosophy condusive, considers Foucault’s wrong about rape, settles more in Irigaray’s camp than Butlers’, (but doesn’t want to stereotype them), insists on the embodiment of humans, finds there’s still a lot to do about sexism in philosophy even though it’s getting better, has things to say about beautification and self defence and has thoughts about ways of overcoming objectification through a carnal ethics. All in all this makes her a feminosophical blast.
3:AM: What made you become a philosopher?
Ann Cahill: I was fortunate enough to discover philosophy in high school, which is fairly unusual in the US (I went to a small, private high school). I can still remember that shocking feeling of recognition, as if I had suddenly stumbled into a conversation where everyone was talking about the stuff I cared about in a language that I understood. It was only a semester-long course, but I left it knowing that I would major in philosophy in college. My undergraduate studies gave me the confidence that I had some capacity for it, but it wasn’t until spring of my senior year that I decided to pursue my doctorate. I think the prospect of graduating from college made me realise that I should always, always, always be in school! My primary motivation for pursuing graduate studies in philosophy was that I loved the discipline and wanted to learn more; I wasn’t thinking too much about career possibilities (probably a good thing, as the job market was dismal then and only got worse). But as my graduate studies continued, and I discovered how much I really enjoyed teaching as well as writing philosophy, I identified more and more as a philosopher and started to hope that I might be able to find a way to make my living doing this work. I’ve been crazily lucky in being able to do just that.
The latest issue of Dissent looks at The New Feminsim:
Introduction: The New Feminism by Sarah Leonard
Trickle-Down Feminism by Sarah Jaffe
Caring on Stolen Time: A Nursing Home Diary by JOMO
Opportunity Costs: The True Price of Internships by Madeleine Schwartz
Girl Geeks and Boy Kings by Melissa Gira Grant
Feminism and Me by Michael Walzer
Roe v. Wade and Beyond: Forty Years of Legal Abortion in the United States by Carole Joffe
The Personal Is Political: That’s the Challenge: Roe v. Wade and a Black Nationalist Womanist Writer by Akiba Solomon
Anne Jaap Jacobson is the neurofeminist philosofunskster whose mind is setting fire to the boys’ club and putting the academy straight whilst doing edgy work in the philosophy of mind. Nuns have called her a ‘wicked girl’ but she’s one of the crazy-gang of experimental philosophers looking at bigotry, bias, cognitive neuroscience, naturalism, worrying about traditional philosophical approaches and wondering how to do things better. She’s considered Hume from a feminist perspective, brings a cross-disciplinary jive to the philosophical party and doesn’t think looking is like being given pictures. Her mind is a hive of ideas even though she worries that women are having to face too much resignation, bitterness, disillusionment and discouragement in philosophy and everywhere. Which makes her a seminal figure, and bodaciously groovy.
Read the interview HERE
This book is the first monograph on the theme of “new materialism,” an emerging trend in 21st century thought that has already left its mark in such fields as philosophy, cultural theory, feminism, science studies, and the arts. The first part of the book contains elaborate interviews with some of the most prominent new materialist scholars of today: Rosi Braidotti, Manuel DeLanda, Karen Barad, and Quentin Meillassoux. The second part situates the new materialist tradition in contemporary thought by singling out its transversal methodology, its position on sexual differing, and by developing the ethical and political consequences of new materialism.
“In New Materialism four prominent theorists who have grappled throughout their careers with crucial issues of materiality, embodiment and subjectivity present their latest thinking in lively and engaging dialogues. In their follow-up analysis Dolphijn and Van der Tuin expertly contextualize the discussions in relation to the current debates around speculative realism and process thought. New Materialism’s contribution to the discussion will be highly appreciated by all those concerned with the current renewal of interest in realist perspectives respecting the autonomy of the nonhuman.”
–Brian Massumi, Université de Montréal
Text via Open Humanities Press
A utopia without pregnancy or childbearing? That was the dream of the controversial Dialectic of Sex author, who was found dead on Tuesday at 67.
It’s hard to imagine that Shulamith Firestone and Helen Gurley Brown thought very highly of each other. Gurley Brown wore immaculate make-up and had a driver. There were needlepoint pillows in her office. She had sex. She told other women that they should have sex, too.
Firestone, on the other hand, did not have sex. In fact, she was a political celibate. She encouraged other women to become celibate. Some of them did. She wore owl glasses; she looked like the 70s radical she was.
Firestone, whose death was reported yesterday, will not receive a fraction of the encomia Gurley Brown did after her death earlier this month. Why? Both women were feminist pioneers. Both wrote canonical feminist texts that became bestsellers when they were published about a half century ago. Both shaped absolutely the ways we think about gender, education, and the family today. Both put sex at the center of their analyses.
Excerpt of an article written by Emily Chertoff, at The Atlantic. Continue HERE
Yekaterina Samutsevich, defendant in the criminal case against the feminist punk group Pussy Riot:
“In the closing statement, the defendant is expected to repent, express regret for their deeds or enumerate attenuating circumstances. In my case, as in the case of my colleagues in the group, this is completely unnecessary. Instead, I want to voice my thoughts about the reasons behind what has happened to us.
That Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of the authorities was clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin’s former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyayev took over as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be openly used as a flashy backdrop for the politics of the security forces, which are the main source of power [in Russia].
Why did Putin feel the need to exploit the Orthodox religion and its aesthetic? After all, he could have employed his own, far more secular tools of power—for example, the state-controlled corporations, or his menacing police system, or his obedient judiciary system. It may be that the harsh, failed policies of Putin’s government, the incident with the submarine Kursk, bombings of civilians in broad daylight, and other unpleasant moments in his political career forced him to ponder the fact that it was high time to resign; that otherwise, the citizens of Russia would help him do this. Apparently, it was then that he felt the need for more persuasive, transcendental guarantees of his long tenure at the pinnacle of power. It was then that it became necessary to make use of the aesthetic of the Orthodox religion, which is historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia, where power came not from earthly manifestations such as democratic elections and civil society, but from God Himself.”
It’s time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power: the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for all women, here’s what has to change.
Eighteen months into my job as the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department, a foreign-policy dream job that traces its origins back to George Kennan, I found myself in New York, at the United Nations’ annual assemblage of every foreign minister and head of state in the world. On a Wednesday evening, President and Mrs. Obama hosted a glamorous reception at the American Museum of Natural History. I sipped champagne, greeted foreign dignitaries, and mingled. But I could not stop thinking about my 14-year-old son, who had started eighth grade three weeks earlier and was already resuming what had become his pattern of skipping homework, disrupting classes, failing math, and tuning out any adult who tried to reach him. Over the summer, we had barely spoken to each other—or, more accurately, he had barely spoken to me. And the previous spring I had received several urgent phone calls—invariably on the day of an important meeting—that required me to take the first train from Washington, D.C., where I worked, back to Princeton, New Jersey, where he lived. My husband, who has always done everything possible to support my career, took care of him and his 12-year-old brother during the week; outside of those midweek emergencies, I came home only on weekends.
Excerpt from an article written by Anne-Marie Slaughter, The Atlantic. Continue HERE
High-profile exhibitions on surrealism and abstract expressionism rarely resurrect debates about the validity of Freudian psychoanalytic theory or Clement Greenberg’s rejection of representation. So it might be germane to ask why the current resurgence of institutional, critical and media attention on feminist art has sparked impassioned discussions about the relevance of feminism in today’s allegedly “post-feminist” art world?
The answer is not only because women of all generations remain conflicted about feminism, but because art is arguably the most appropriate medium to represent feminism’s complex history, meaning and purpose. As the best of the recent feminist art survey shows demonstrate, “feminism” is far from a fixed term. Putting aside feminist theory’s distracting obsession with semantics, the term still encompasses too many and too varied ideological factions, political agendas, identities and histories to fit any single definition that is not troublingly essentialist, reductivist or vague.
One proof of gender equality might be that the feminist movement’s history has played out like other revolutions by splintering into a host of militant and mutually antagonistic subgroups. Yet in spite of divisiveness within the active feminism movement, the revolution’s salient principle – that women are intelligent, capable people – has saturated our culture at large to the point of being taken for granted.
Written by Ana Finel Honigman at The Guardian. Continue HERE
Image above: Art work by the Guerilla Girls. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi