Universität Wien FIND

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180081 SE Materialism and Feminisms - History and Presence (2019S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 18 - Philosophie
Prüfungsimmanente Lehrveranstaltung

Reading classical texts of feminist philosophy of difference the course will highlight the basic concept of difference within Women's and Gender Studies and introduce into the relevant positions. In a close-reading essays from the Italian Women Philosophers Group Diotima, from Luisa Muraro, Adriana Cavarero, Luce Irigaray, Geneviève Fraisse, Hélène Cixous, Gayatri Spivak, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Audre Lorde, Rosi Braidotti and Sara Ahmed are discussed. The course will focus on the complexity and diversity of feminist philosophy of difference and contribute to a deeper understanding of difference in the particular philosophical and political contexts.


Hinweis: Ihr Anmeldezeitpunkt innerhalb der Frist hat keine Auswirkungen auf die Platzvergabe (kein "first come, first serve").


max. 30 Teilnehmer*innen
Sprache: Englisch


Termine (iCal) - nächster Termin ist mit N markiert

Donnerstag 14.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 21.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 28.03. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 04.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 11.04. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 02.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 09.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 16.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 23.05. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 06.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 13.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien
Donnerstag 27.06. 18:30 - 20:00 Hörsaal 3C, NIG Universitätsstraße 7/Stg. II/3. Stock, 1010 Wien


Ziele, Inhalte und Methode der Lehrveranstaltung

This seminar tries to shed light on the genealogy of feminist theory on materiality and will delineate meta-theoretical continuities and ruptures in the ontologies and epistemologies of a materialist problematic in feminism. It will do so by historically reconstructing four distinct theoretical steps in the development of materialist feminism. Before starting with the feminist readings, a short introduction into the Marxian philosophical vocabulary will be giving as many discussed texts implicitly or explicitly build on Marxian upshots.
The first block will treat the Anglophone Marxist-Materialist Feminist tradition, which evolved in the 1970s in critical discourse with androcentric worker’s-movement-Marxism. Issues like reproductive work, the oppressive character and functionality of the family and its relation to the state or the nature of patriarchy (as opposed to capitalism) were crucial for the debates. Authors like Rosemary Hennessy most succinctly express the implied understanding of materiality. She argues that it is the search for a foundation of subjective experiences, ideologies and discourses in social structures and subsequently, totalities, that matters for materialism.
While being feminist, Marxist feminism was always also Marxist. It is namely French Materalist Feminism that questioned the implicit universalism of the siding with Marxism. Theorists around the French journal Nouvelles questions feminists, which had affinities with Simone de Beauvoir and was most famous for works of Christine Delphy or Monique Wittig produced a materialist feminism that was much closer to Radical Feminism than Marxism. It applied Marxism’s critique of class and regimes of production on family structures, thereby arguing that it is patriarchy that needs to be overcome in the first place. Interestingly, it also produced a kind of materialism that was starkly anti-essentialist and is thereby of interest for its understanding of gender as social construction.
The third strand originated in the German debate and owes much to the heritage of the Frankfurt School tradition. Its materialism is dialectical, yet significantly expands the theme of original Marxist feminism by highlighting questions of philosophy of science, nature-relations and the critique of enlightenment and its ideal modern subject-character. Its dialectical character leads famous exponents like Regina Becker-Schmidt and Gudrun-Axeli Knapp to inquire after the character of totality – what defines the historical character of materiality as social relation? A possible answer is sought in the critique of instrumental reason, technology and nature.
These topics are also of eminent importance for the latest materialism, although it deals with them from a wholly different perspective. This most recent materialism with the self-given name ‘New Materialism(s)’ is somewhat at odds with the prior ones in as much it has little to do with questions of the Marxist tradition. It is indebted to those post-structuralist and constructionist positions that it claims to succeed and heavily draws on Gilles Deleuze’s and Henri Bergson’s philosophies. Donna Haraway, who is often understood as its first proponent, was more ambiguous in her alignment than much of recent scholarship is – it is focused on natural science, science and technology studies and questions of ontology and thereby not explicitly ‘political’ in the prior materialist sense. It will be critically scrutinized if and how New Materialism relates to ‘old’ materialisms and what that means for feminist philosophy.

Art der Leistungskontrolle und erlaubte Hilfsmittel

Resume of each obligatory text
• Preparation of presentations in groups
• Participation in Class
• Seminar Paper

Mindestanforderungen und Beurteilungsmaßstab


Attendance, more than half of the resumes, presentation, seminar paper


• Arruza, Cinzia. 2013. Dangerous. Liaisons. The marriage and divorces of Marxism and Feminism. Pontypool: Merlin Press.
• Barad, K. 2003. Posthumanist Performativity. Toward An Understanding Of How Matter Comes To Matter. Signs. Journal Of Women In Culture And Society 28, No 3: 801-31.
• Becker-Schmidt, Regina. 1989. "Identitätslogik und Gewalt - Zum Verhältnis von Kritischer Theorie und Feminismus." beiträge zur feministischen theorie und praxis no. 24:51-64.
• Becker-Schmidt, Regina. 2003a. "Erkenntniskritik, Wissenschaftskritik, Gesellschaftskritik. Positionen von Donna Haraway und Theodor W. Adorno kontrovers diskutiert." IWM Working Paper no. 1:1-26.
• Becker-Schmidt, Regina. 2003b. Zur doppelten Vergesellschaftung von Frauen. Soziologische Grundlegungen, empirische Rekonstruktion. gender politik online. Gender in den Sozialwissenschaften: 1-18, http://www.fu-berlin.de/sites/gpo/soz_eth/Geschlecht_als_Kategorie/Die_doppelte_Vergesellschaftung_von_Frauen/becker_schmidt_ohne.pdf.
• Beer, Ursula. 1989. "Objektivität und Parteilichkeit - ein Widerspruch in feministischer Forschung. Zur Erkenntnisproblematik von Gesellschaftsstruktur " In Klasse. Geschlecht. Feministische Gesellschaftsanalyse und Wissenschaftskritik, 162-213. Bielefeld: AJZ.
• Bergson, Henri. 2002. "Philosophical Intuition." In Key Writings, 233-48. New York: Continuum.
• Braidotti, Rosi. 2011. Nomadic Theory. The Portable Rosi Braidotti. New York: Columbiar University Press.
• Coole, Diana, and Samantha Frost, eds. 2010. New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics. Durham: Duke University Press Books.
• Dalla Costa, Mariarosa, and Selma James. 1997. "Women and the Subversion of the Community." In Materialist Feminism. A Reader in Class, Difference and Women's Lives, edited by Rosemary Hennessy and Chrys Ingraham, 40-54. New York/London: Routledge.
• De Landa, Manuel. 2006. A New Philosophy of Society. Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity. London/New York: Continuum.
• Deleuze, Gilles. 1995. Difference and Repetition. New York: Columbia University Press.
• Delphy, Christine. 1984. Close to Home. A materialist analysis of women's oppression. London: Hutchinson.
• Delphy, Christine. 2000. "The Invention of French Fminism: An Essential move." Yale Frech Studies no. 97:166-197.
• Dolphijn, Rick, and Iris van der Tuin. 2012. "Introduction. A "New Tradition" in Thought." In New Materialism. Interviews & Cartographies, 85-93. Ann Harbor: Open Humanities Press.
• Eisenstein, Zillah. 1979. Capitalist patriarchy and the case for socialist feminism New York: Monthly Review Press.
• Federici, Silvia 2004. Caliban and the Witch. Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. London: Turnaround Publisher Services.
• Fraser, Nancy. 2013. "Feminism, Capitalism, and the Cunning of History." In Fortunes of Feminism. From State-Managed Capitalism to Neoliberal Crisis, edited by Nancy Fraser, 209-227. London/New York: Verso.
• Gardiner, Jean. 1975. "Women's Domestic Labour." New Left Review no. 89:47-58.
• Grosz, Elizabeth. 2005. Time Travel. Feminism, Nature, Power. Crows Nest: Allen&Unwin.
• Haraway, Donna. 1988. "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective." Feminist Studies no. 14 (3):575-599.
• Haraway, Donna. 1991. "A Cyborg Manifesto. Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century." In Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, edited by Donna Haraway, 149-181. New York: Routledge.
• Hartmann, Heidi. 1981. "The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism. Towards a more progressive Union " In Women and Revolution, edited by Lydia Sargent. Boston: South End.
• Hennessy, Rosemary. 1993a. Materialist feminism and the politics of discourse. New York: Routledge.
• Hennessy, Rosemary. 1993b. "Women's Lives / Feminist Knowledge: Feminist Standpoint as Ideology Critique." Hypatia no. 8 (1):14-34.
more tba in course

Zuordnung im Vorlesungsverzeichnis

Letzte Änderung: Mo 07.09.2020 15:36