Always trouble

This article investigates how the concept of gender might be located within a broader history of the medicalisation and policing of a binary concept of sexual difference and of reproductive knowledge and control. It begins by tracing the origins of gender as a clinical and behavioural category, which was first introduced to medicalise intersex and […]

Human rights in a wrong world

Ratna Kapur, Gender, Alterity and Human Rights: Freedom in a Fishbowl (Cheltenham and Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018). 307pp., £90.00 hb., £19.95 pb., 978 1 78811 252 9 hb., 978 1 83910 447 3 pb. Over the past few decades, various critical scholars have emphasised the limitations of human rights. Such scholars have, for […]

Calls, Invitations, Summons

Da’wa, Saba Mahmood tells us, is ‘a Quranic concept associated primarily with God’s call to the prophets and to humanity to believe in the “true religion”, Islam’. It ‘literally means “call, invitation, appeal, or summons”’. 1 Whilst cognisant of the uncompromising specificity of the demand it places on those to whom the call is addressed, […]

Smart writing

Sarah Kember, iMedia: The Gendering of Objects, Environments and Smart Materials (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). vi+122pp., £45.00 hb., 978 1 13737 484 4 Sarah Kember’s new book positions itself in a field of theory dominated by an often masculinist discourse that privileges conceptualisations of its research objects as things or environments in-themselves, instead of as […]

The gender apparatus

The gender apparatus Torture and national manhood in the US ‘war on terror’ Bonnie mann Feminist protest against US torture practices, including outcries over the use of sex, sexuality and sexual identity in the torture of prisoners at US detention sites from Guantánamo to Abu Ghraib, have understandably tended to focus on what the abuse […]

‘Woman’ as theatre

COMMENTARY ‘Woman’ as theatre United Nations Conference on Women, Beijing 1995 Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak T he United Nations is based on the unacknowledged assumption that ‘the rest of the world’ is unable to govern itself. In fact, of course, no state is able to govern itself, in different ways. And, in the current conjuncture, the […]

Drucilla Cornell

INTERVIEW Drucilla Cornell Feminism, deconstruction and the law RP: Perhaps you could begin by saying something about the Critical Legal Studies movement in the USA. What is its relationship to feminism? And where do you see your own work as fitting in? Cornell: Regrettably there’s very little organized presence of either Critical Legal Studies or […]

Judith Butler

Gender as Performance An Interview with Judith Butler ludithButlerteaches in the Rhetoric Department at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first book, Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France ( J987) traced the dialectic ofpro- and anti-Hegelian currents in French theory across the writings ofa wide range ofthinkers. She is best known, however, for […]

Fleshy Memory

Fleshy Memory Kelly Oliver Freud conceived of the ego as energetically self-contained, though formed in relations with the maternal and paternal figures of the Oedipal situation. In his Hegelian reading of Freud, Lacan emphasises the relationships that give rise to (and undermine) a sense of ego identity with his famous account of the infant’s self-recognition […]

Replies to Richard Rorty’s ‘Feminism and Pragmatism’

REPLIES TO RICHARD RORTY’S ‘FEMINISM AND PRAGMATISM’ I How Did the Dinosaurs Die Out? How Did the Poets Survive? Catherine Wilson In ‘Feminism and Pragmatism’ (Radical Philosophy 59, pp. 3-14), Richard Rorty offers feminists an arrangement of convenience. In exchange for their support of his philosophical programme, which involves the rejection of a representationalist account […]

Do We Need a Sex/Gender Distinction?

Do We Need a Sex/Gender Distinction? Val Plumwood We live an embodied life; we live with those genital and reproductive organs and capacities, those hormones and chromosomes, that locate us physiologically as male or female …. We cannot know what children would make of their bodies in a nongender or non sexually organized world, what […]

‘Pure Lust’

‘Pure Lust’ The Elemental Feminist Philosophy of Mary Daly Jean Grimshaw … Pure Lust names the high humor, hope and cosmic accord/harmony of those women who choose to escape, to follow our heart’s deepest desire and bound out of the State of Bondage, Wanderlusting and Wonderlusting with the elements, connecting with auras of animals and […]

Luce Irigaray and the Female Imaginary

Luce Irigaray and the Female Imaginary: Speaking as a Woman Margaret Whitford Although Luce Irigaray’s name is beginning to become more familiar in England, her work has not, for the most part, been translated, so that non-French-speaking readers have had to confine themselves to the odd bits and pieces – the translation of an interview […]

Masculinity in Philosophy

Masculinity in Philosophy Russell Keat 1. Feminism and philosophy One important concern of contemporary feminism has been to identify and challenge (what might roughly be called) the ‘sexism’ of various academic disciplines; and this kind of critical work is now increasingly evident in the case of philosophy. For example Susan Okin, in Women in Western […]

Birth, love, politics

Properly speaking, the individual and the community should be considered as opposites. The first term refers to something indivisible that stands by itself, while the second term, as can be seen from its root (cum), expresses the very essence of relation. Corresponding to the concept of the individual there should be that of a collectivity […]

Globalization is ordinary

The institutionalization and codification of Cultural Studies continue apace. This is evident, for example, in the recurring debates and anxieties about disciplinary boundaries, artistic and ethical values, and the de-radicalization of Cultural Studies itself. Meanwhile, an apparently endless stream of publications – readers, textbooks and collections of (more or less) concrete analyses – feeds the […]

Cinquantenaire du Deuxième Sexe, Paris, 19–23 January 1999

n celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of The Second Sex, feminists from all continents gathered in Paris in January to hear a selection of historical, political and philosophical papers and testimonials to the continuing influence and I News Cinquantenaire du Deuxième Sexe, Paris, 19–23 January 1999relevance of Simone de Beauvoirʼs magnum opus. […]

Contingent ontologies

Contingent ontologies Sex, gender and ‘woman’ in Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler Stella sandford a concerted critique of the sex/gender distinction has not mitigated this sense of historical importance, or even historical necessity. But developments in feminist theory – in particular the claims being made on behalf of various feminisms of difference – and […]

Self help

What, then, should the new relationship between society and individual consist of? First, it involves a new concept of citizenship, in which rights and responsibilities go together.… As is so clear the more you examine the rise in crime and social disorder in Britain, the problem has been that the Left has tended to undervalue […]