GSWS 491 Notes Essay

Submitted By paranoidcritter
Words: 1534
Pages: 7

What is queer theory?
Focuses on gender sexuality
Nonconforming, restrictive to non-gender binaries

What does contemporary mean in this context?
Last thirty years

Griselda Pollock, “The politics of theory…” (1996)
What is feminist theory? – What is feminism?
Feminism is a “set of positions, not an essence; a critical practice not a doxa” (5)
Interventions – a discipline or that which breaks down disciplinary divisions?
Can there be a feminist art history… or any other discipline, or is feminism what moves across all disciplines, critiquing all?
Feminism’s association to political movements of the 60’s Challenge culture and Culture
Culture is ordinary and a “territory of social meanings and identities” (5)
Ideology and resistance
Theory gains “new prominence” in the humanities, also feminism – but not uniformly
Importance of structuralism and post-structuralism to rise of theory
Loosely, a theoretical frame of trying to find the deep structures of society (within a language, etc.)
“feminism demands that certain issues remain in view, and it functions as a resistance to any tendency to stabilize knowledge or theory around fictions of the generically human or the monolithically universal or any other androcentric, racist, sexist, or ageist myth of imperial western culture and its (often not so) radical discourses (5) the paradox. “seeming to speak in the name of women, feminist analysis perpetually deconstructs the very term around which it is politically organized.” (5)
“the ways in which the question of sex/gender has been posed were shaped by the prevailing political/philosophical discourses available to women at different historical moments.”
18th century – enlightenment discourse on natural rights mid-19th century – bourgeois notions of property rights what ideological frameworks inform feminism today?
‘personal is political’ (new slogan?) first wave “did not really alter the deep structures of sexual divisions in society… (6)
‘the body’ is key
“the body is a construction, a representation, a place where the marking of sexual difference is written, and it is because the body is a sign that it has been so invested in feminist politics as a site of resistance man/woman, public/private the private is “not immune from the play of power.” (7)
60s politics of identity discourse of liberation – individual “seeking liberation from outside social constraints, and an inside, a self suppressed and oppressed by the social outside.”
Post- structuralism and critical theory – “imbrication of the self and the social” (7)
All art is political, even those that say they aren’t political

What does discipline mean in the context of Foucault?
Institutional measures in discipline
Institution is population, education, medicine
Calls the younger girl “alert”
Which means she was sexually more developed
Feminist critique
He leaves gender alone and is androcentric

Eve Sedgwick, Axiomatic (introduction to Epistemology of the Closet, 1990)
Modes of knowledge must incorporate critical analysis of homo/heterosexual definition
“…Western culture has placed what it calls sexuality in a more and more distinctively privileged relation to our most prized constructs of individual identity, truth, knowledge…” (322)
Aims to look at contradictions – not between pro/anti homosexual – but contradictions in all understandings of homo/heterosexual definitions – not just an issue of importance to the homosexual minority
“there is not one but many silences, and they are an integral part of the strategies that underlie and permeate discourses” (Foucault 1980a: 27) closetedness – The speech act of silence
“not a particular silence, but a silence that accrues… in relation to the discourse that surrounds and differentially constitutes it” (322)
Axiom 1: People are different from each other
Theory with the promise of looking at difference tends to focus on “a few crucial axes of difference, perhaps necessarily at the expense of more