Cornelia Goethe Centrum

Contemporary Approaches to Feminist Philosophy – Philosophy Lecture Series 2019

This lecture series will bring important discussions from recent feminist philosophy to Frankfurt. The lecture series is open to everyone who is interested. Registration is not necessary.


29. April 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.
„What is Gender Essentialism?“
Charlotte Witt (University of New Hampshire)
Gender essentialism is a controversial topic in feminist theory. But what is meant by gender essentialism? I begin by distinguishing two types of essentialism: kind essentialism and uniessentialism. The two essentialisms address different questions rather than supplying different answers to the same question. Kind essentialism addresses the issue of the classification of individuals into kinds. For example, the classification of persons into gender kinds (women, men, genderqueer). Uniessentialism addresses an entirely different issue, which is the metaphysical question of what grounds the unity of individuals with parts. I think that our gender is the principle of unity of our social agency and I explain why this idea is important for feminist theorizing today.

13. Mai 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.
„Decolonizing Gender“
Patricia Purtschert (Universität Bern)
What does it mean to decolonize gender? How can we reconstruct one of the central terms of feminist theory, namely gender, if we take thoroughly into account its imperial genealogies? What happens to the ways in which we understand the connections between gender, sex, power, materiality, the social, and ontology, if the insight that current and hegemonic understandings of gender are colonial and thus need to be decolonized is turned into an irreducible starting point for feminist theory? The lecture will address these questions and sketch possible answers.

27. Mai 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.
„Doing Epistemology as a Feminist“
Helen Longino (Stanford University)
Feminists have made a number of interventions in the sciences and in conceptions of knowledge animating those interventions. This talk explores some central points of contention among conceptions of knowledge available for feminist purposes and explores how developments in feminist thinking about gender can illuminate the epistemological issues.

17. Juni 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.
„Imagining Otherwise: Gender Violence and Resistant Imaginations“
José Medina (Northwestern University)
This talk will explore how gender violence intersects with racist and transphobic violence and how those intersections are erased or distorted in public discourse. I will examine the communicative dysfunctions that exist around the phenomenon of gender violence and how sexist, transphobic, and racist imaginaries make women of color especially vulnerable to violence and distort their experiences as victims of violence. I will discuss how we can exercise the imagination in resistant ways and how we can resist those communicative dysfunctions and oppressive imaginaries by imagining otherwise. I will discuss some specific cases of gender violence and the ways in which they were distorted in the media coverage, showing how critically engaged publics can resist those distortions.

24. Juni 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.

„Transnational and Decolonial Feminisms and the Normativity Question“
Serene J. Khader (CUNY Graduate Center & Brooklyn College)
In the lecture, I argue that it is possible to develop a genuinely normative anti-imperialist feminist position. Developing such a position depends on a) recovering the core moral commitment of feminism and b) reconceiving the role of moral ideals in transnational feminist praxis. Feminism’s core normative commitment is, in my view, to opposing sexist oppression. Returning to this commitment, rather than treating the prevalence of Western cultural forms as indicative of feminist progress, reveals that the controversial forms of many values that have been accused of being vehicles of imperialism, such as individualism and autonomy, are not required for feminism. The role of moral ideals in transnational feminist praxis is what I call, borrowing a term from Amartya Sen, a “justice-enhancing” one. Rather than looking to them to prescribe a single vision of gender-just social relations, we should look to feminist ideals to help us overcome existing forms of gender injustice.

1. Juli 2019, 17 Uhr c.t.
„Why Bend Critical Theory Towards Feminism in the 21st Century?“
Estelle Ferrarese (Université de Picardie Jules Verne)
On the one hand, the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School is suspect for its feminism, often developed reluctantly, or misguidedly. On the other hand, it is surrounded by more clear-cut feminist theories that seek to appropriate the syntagm Critical Theory, yet take no interest in its philosophers, except for minor themes. I would like to demonstrate how it is possible to infringe on the reception of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School, by subjecting it to a usage that is as scrupulous in its form as it is unfaithful in its destination. Several distinct thematics or theoretical gestures might be presented that a feminism of our time can appropriate: a conception of nature, in which nature – human, feminine and biological – may be given its rightful place: i.e. one that is unable to be located and superfluous; a theory of the capitalist form of life, one that offers a fertile view of the hinge between production and reproduction; lastly, a philosophy that is at once moral and social, wherein the question of the moral justness of an act can be extricated from that of its origin, or rather, from the purity of this origin.

Location & Time

Campus Westend
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 2
Room 1.801
5 pm

Organization: Dr. Kristina Lepold (research assistant at the Institute for Philosophy of the Goethe University) and Dr. Marina Martinez Mateo (research assistant at the Institute for Philosophy of the Goethe University, Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders”)

Institute for Philosophy of the Goethe-University in cooperation with the Cluster of Excellence “Normative Orders” and the Cornelia Goethe Center for Women’s and Gender Studies