The seminar 2018

Introduction to the presentations of the participants in the 2018 seminar

The 2018 seminar took place at the University of Warwick thanks to the mediation of Stephen Seely, a participant in one of my past seminars, and the hospitality of the Institute of Advanced Studies and the Department of Sociology. The group of participants – in Master or PhD – was limited to 9 due to the number of rooms available. These nine researchers dwelled each in a different country – America, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Germany, Porto Rico, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine – and belonged also to different cultures. This has created a really interesting cultural context, by itself already a teaching, thanks to a mutual respect and listening.

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The researchers in philosophy were, this year, the most numerous, which has ensured a rigorous level in the discussions. Their work focused on logic, the constant concern about nature in my own work, the thought of Merleau-Ponty, and the elaboration of a new politics in the feminine. Some participants were also researchers in literature, and even in linguistics. One was an engineer  who takes interest in ecovillages, and the last talked about the mother-daughter relationship in a context of domestic violence.

All the researchers had sent previously their dossiers for applying to the seminar, and I had commented on them before the seminar, in particular to improve the presentation of each during the seminar. A half-day of the 11-16 June week has been devoted to each of the participants: with their presentations of the part of their Master or PhD which most related to my own work; with questions asked by all participants to her/him; and same or other questions also put by all to me.

The level of the seminar has been really good with regard to the intellectual work but also the way of being in relation to/with one another.

I, myself, gave a public talk –  How to Give birth to a New Human Being – that the participants in the seminar could attend. The public was large and the debate after the talk has been clever, friendly, and could not end…

Paige Adams (Iowa State University, USA)

The theoretical work produced by the renowned scholar Luce Irigaray is extensive and challenging to understand especially for those without any background in philosophy, psychoanalysis and linguistics. Despite this barrier I will do my best to illustrate the relevance and use of some of her theories to investigate the motivations behind the development of and continued residence in ecovillages, a type of intentional community. Read more…

Astrid Lorena Ochoa Campo (University of Virginia, USA)

The work of Luce Irigaray has been fundamental for my dissertation, in which I study representations of mother-daughter relationships in novels and memoirs by Colombian and Colombian American women writers. My presentation for the seminar was an analysis of a memoir by Daisy Hernández (1975), an American writer and journalist of Colombian and Cuban descent, in light of Irigaray’s conception of self-affection as necessary for women’s individuation – particularly to overcome immediacy in relationship with their mother and reach their own identity as sexuate subjects. Read more…

Belinda  Eslick (University of Queensland, Australia)

My thesis explores how we might conceptualize politics in a more poetic way with the aim of imagining a more feminine politics—one that could acknowledge women’s political action as different, rather than other, to masculinist institutional political action. I suggest that to propose a politics that is truly different from the phallocentric, culturally entrenched political systems and institutions, we need to begin to think very differently about what it means to be political, to create political change, and also about what constitutes political space. Read more…

Alexandra Gabbard (Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil)

The main focus of my dissertation is on the development and composition of sister characters in a selected corpus of contemporary novels, in particular The Blind Assassin (2001), by Margaret Atwood, The Other Boleyn Girl (2003), by Philippa Gregory, and Dust (2007), by Elizabeth Bear. I claim that the sisters form a special sort of double, configured through gendered identities, transgressive acts of resistance and complex connections to mother figures. Read more…

Leyla Sophie Gleissner (Freie University of Berlin, Germany)

The purpose of my research is to develop a useful phenomenological glossary to examine a specific mode of traumatic experience: situations of violence in which one out of two subjects attempts to appropriate the other’s body, expanding into the other, the latter thus being treated as a bodily-object rather than as a singular embodied subject. In my paper for the Irigaray seminar, I show how Luce Irigaray’s philosophy of difference carries out the task of thinking subjectivity as constitutively embodied – and therefore open to others –without risking a violent appropriation of one of the two bodies involved in a shared experience. Read more…

Hector Ramos (DePaul University, USA)

My project for the Irigaray Seminar intended to interrogate and explore the continuity within Irigaray’s oeuvre of an attention to nature. Many commentators claim that Irigaray’s “critical” early period is neither primarily preoccupied with nor does it draw material for its thought from an engagement with nature. Others, who might disagree with the strong distinction between the critical and later constructive periods in Irigaray’s thought made by some commentators, would still direct readers of her work to the later constructive works – as exemplified by 1987’s Sexes et parentés and much more recent works like To Be Born and Through Vegetal Being – to truly see Irigaray’s thinking about nature in its mature expression. Read more…

Lily Ruban (Paris 8-Vincennes, France)

In my master thesis I will close-read two novels by the British experimentalist writer Anna Kavan (1901-1967) “A Scarcity of Love” and “Mercury”. I will apply Luce Irigaray’s precise linguistic methodology and analytic technique in order to interpret Kavan’s writing as an inherently sexuated textual material. I will also speak about a necessary sex parity in the literary canon and the suitable inclusion in it of feminine writers such as Anna Kavan, whose writing manifests a marked imprint of feminine subjectivity. According to Irigaray, the so-called universal subject adopted by the social sciences is neither universal nor in the neuter, as they had affirmed, but is masculine and has achieved its domination through the suppression and denial of a feminine subjectivity. Read more…

Wachana Sermsathanasawat (Thammasat University, Thailand)

My journey has started with my own and my mother experiences of living through, learning from and surviving domestic violence in my family over a 23 years period. As the eldest daughter, who not only has a close relationship with my mother but was also a witness to the domestic violence, I absorbed all the emotions she was undergoing. Read more…

Nathalie  Tornéus-Ek (Uppsala University, Sweden)

In analytic philosophy, not to know something, to remain without knowledge about something, is often seen as a mere negation of possible knowledge due to insufficient epistemological   competence. This not-knowing is generally considered an undesirable condition that ought to be overcome, often by more exact measuring or more penetrating methods applied to the object of study. However, this project aims at investigating the notion of not-knowing from a positive and constructive point of view, in accordance with the philosophy of Luce Irigaray about our being unable to fully know and to fully grasp the other as differently sexuated. I argue that our being unable to know this other in an exhaustive way opens up to an epistemology of a positive not-knowing – a not-knowing that is neither default nor needs to be overcome, but is an existential condition of our being in the world. Read more…

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