‘The Subject’ and the Politics of Philosophy in Feminist Theory

Talk, December 1st, 2006, University of Hamburg

The theme of “the subject” has kept its central place in feminist theory for a while, and it shows no signs of disappearing. In multiple meanings, contexts and contents the term “subject” has appeared, disappeared, and reappeared in the exchange of texts. This paper explores these multiple meanings through an analysis of the politics of philosophy at play in Adriana Cavarero’s recent book, For More than One Voice, which is contrasted to the politics played by Judith Butler in her work on the subject. I suggest that tricky politics are performed by these two contemporary thinkers. I would observe that, paradoxically, Butler, who incessantly talks of “the subject”, plays the politics of erasing the notion of “the human subject” in philosophy, whereas Cavarero, who fervently denounces the notion, is taking part in the politics of the return of the Subject to philosophy.

Tuija Pulkkinen is Philosopher and Professor of Women’s Studies at the
University Jyväskylä, Finnland.
The talk is orgaized in co-operation with AG Queer Studies and part of the public lecture series “Jenseits der Geschlechtergrenzen”.
Friday, December 1, 2006, 7pm, Von-Melle-Park 6, lecture hall F, University of Hamburg