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.

Mimesis as Cultural Survival: Judith Butler and Anti-Semitism

Mimesis as cultural survival: Judith Butler and anti-semitism

Wittig understands gender as the workings of ‘sex’, where ‘sex’ is an obligatory injunction for the body to become a cultural sign, to materialise itself in obedience to a historically delimited possibility, and to do this, not once or twice, but as a sustained and repeated corporeal project. The notion of a ‘project’, however, suggests the originating force of a radical will, and because gender is a project that has cultural survival as its end, the term strategy better suggests the situation of duress under which gender performance always and variously occurs. (Judith Butler, 1990: 139)

Why is it that, as we exit the twentieth century, we ‘feminist scholars’ are engaged ...

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