Reading feminist theory as a complex imaginative achievement, Feminist Imagination considers feminist commitment through the interrogation of its philosophical, political and affective connections with the past, and especially with the ‘race’ trials of the twentieth century. The book looks at: the ‘directionlessness’ of contemporary feminist thought; the question of essentialism and embodiment; the racial tensions in the work of Simone de Beauvoir; the totalitarian character in Hannah Arendt; the ‘mimetic Jew’ and the concept of mimesis in the work of Judith Butler.

Vikki Bell provides a compelling rethinking of feminist theory as bound up with attempts to understand oppression outside a focus on ‘women’. She affirms feminism as a site and mode of making these connections.

Appearance: Thinking Difference in the Political Realm with Hannah Arendt

Appearance: Thinking difference in the political realm with Hannah Arendt

[T]he only polity that truly advances the freedom and plurality human beings are capable of experiencing, not to mention the conditions of existence they value and defend, is the polity that exhibits widespread participation in the public realm … politics unfolds as the communicative interaction of diverse equals acting together as citizens. (Arendt, quoted in Dietz, 1994: 247–8)

Hannah Arendt's relationship to feminist theory is one that has recently received much belated attention, focussing mainly on her declared non-allegiance to a politics which displayed facets of the forms of collective demand that she rallied against from her often controversial perspectives. One of her objections concerned the place ...

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